Within our every day lives we create a routine, or schedule rotating around work or education, social obligations, and basic needs such as food, and shelter. Although we create this monotonous routine we can forget that life is unpredictable and uncontrollable at times. Therefore when an unexpected occurrence pursues we don't know how to approach the stress in a healthy manner.
The stress progression is determined by how we adapt and respond to the daily stress we experience. Adrenal health is vital to the management of stress, and studies show that the leading reasons for 95% of doctor visits are issues such as fatigue, pain, and decreased energy which may be affected by stress. Dr. Ed Wilson, a biologist of Harvard University, stated that we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and God like technology, yet we don't know how to manage our stress.
There are three phases to adrenal stress; alarm phase, resistance phase, and exhaustion. The alarm phase is managed within the sympathetic nervous system of the body. Within this stage the bodies response to stress is to fight or flight: the body increases adrenaline and cortisol which in turn increases heart rate, blood pressure, and decreases the every day functions of the body like digestion and hormone regulation. The second phase to stress is the resistance phase which is managed within the parasympathetic nervous system. In this phase the adrenaline decreases while the cortisol levels remain elevated, and with cortisol levels still increased the body is not properly managing every day functions. The last stage of stress is exhaustion where the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis work synergistically or interacting with one another to compensate for increased stress. Cortisol issues and poor stress management can therefore lead to poorly functioning body systems including: gastrointestinal, neurological, musculoskeletal, endocrine, respiratory, and immune. Stress overwhelms the bodies homeostasis, or regulation, and unmanaged stress can lead to permanent deregulation.
Managing and reducing stress is a varying process for every person, but with prolonged increased stress levels we increase cellular aging, and shorten telomere lengths. Telomeres are vital for mitosis, or cellular reproduction, within our body. Telomeres shorten during cell reproduction and eventually become so short that the cell dies. Lifestyle changes like adopting a plant-based diet, moderate exercise and stress reduction techniques can help to increase and retain telomere length.
To help manage stress and slow down cellular aging, there are preventative measures we can take. Along with changing our diets, exercising, and finding ways to reduce our stress we can consume adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic herbs have a balancing modulatory effect which helps organisms ability to respond appropriately to stress. Herbs which help regulate the three phases of stress, and prevent deregulation of our hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal system. Telomere's also need vitamin C for repair: vitamin C protects the cells mitochondria, and contain oxidative resistant forms.
With proper adrenal health our stress can be managed which helps prevent deregulation of the bodies major systems and the destruction of telomeres. By helping our telomere's lengthen we in turn help ourselves to aging gracefully into the future. Although our lives may be chaotic and unpredictable no matter how much we try to manage, we can properly deal with the cards we're dealt by using tools we're given, and understanding our bodies.