Whether it is an overbearing boss, your kids, spouse, neighbor, money, etc., stress is all around us. A significant percentage of the patients that I see in my office have manifestations of disease that in many cases are precipitated by stress.
In Breaking News researchers in two different studies reported that individuals subjected to increased stress, especially on the job, had an increased likelihood of developing colds and the flu. Other studies in the medical literature have suggested excessive stress can lower immune function and could theoretically lead to more serious conditions, including the possibility of cancer. Please understand, however, that the linkage between stress and cancer is still inconclusive.
Handling stress can be difficult because, at times, the stress is overwhelming. A sound approach to stress management should start with regular exercise (rigorous if possible, providing there is no medical contradiction) and getting a good night of sleep.
- Quiet time alone, even for only 15 or 20 minutes, can be very beneficial.
- Learning the art of meditation or prayer can be comforting.
- Avoiding foods with high sugar content (which causes a release of insulin and adrenalin) is also extremely important.
- Confronting the problem that is causing the stress can sometimes alleviate it.
We can sometimes exaggerate a problem in our minds, and later find out that the situation was not nearly as disastrous as we had imagined. So, perhaps it is better to clear the air and get the things out in the open instead of imagining all sorts of things that may not really exist.
- Finally, although many people do not realize the importance of proper nutritional supplementation, this should not be overlooked.
Many nutrients, such as antioxidants (grape seed, green tea, red wine and many others), B-complex vitamins, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and even vitamin C, can provide great protection to the body from stress, improve energy and enhance immune function. Unfortunately the average multi-vitamin is lacking in quality and quantity of these important nutrients.
It’s best to get a multivitamin supplement as your core antioxidant, vitamin, mineral and herbal nutritional to cover the bases.
For those of you that need additional immune support and/or stress-reducing nutrients, I would recommend a mushroom extract supplement containing cordyceps mushroom (many studies note immune system benefits for these nutrients).
If you are over the age of 40, then supplement with a pharmaceutical-grade dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) would be a great addition. Numerous studies have now indicated the safety and benefits of DHEA.
It has been shown that after age 30, DHEA levels plunge and low levels relate to low levels of other important hormones in the body.
A lack of these hormones can make a person more susceptible to stress and burnout while causing muscle wasting, fatigue and poor immune function. Years ago, some were concerned with the fact that DHEA raises the levels of certain hormones, potentially raising certain cancer risks. More recent studies have suggested the opposite.
DHEA may actually have a beneficial effect in regard to cancer risk. This is most likely related to the immune system enhancing effects of DHEA.
References & Further Reading: