A Guide to Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, and Depression -part-2
Stress Increases Toxins
Stress also has significant effects on toxicity. The intestinal barrier function is a substantial defense against an immense load of disease-causing microorganisms from ingested food, resident bacteria, invading viruses and other insults. Psychological stress has been demonstrated to disrupt intestinal permeability. Acute stressful events closely associated with inflammation of the colon; cells of the mucous membranes of the colon have been shown to produce elevated levels of inflammatory substances such as prostaglandin 2 and cyclooxygenase 2. This situation not only increases bacterial adherence to the intestinal lining but also reduces the secretion of important immune system compounds such as immunoglobulin A. This may lead to a condition called leaky gut, whereby improperly digested food particles and other matter leaks into circulation leading to immune activation with subsequent enhanced stress response. Certain foods, in particular, seem to provoke this response, including wheat, dairy, and yeasts. Symptoms of leaky gut include low appetite, bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain and cramping, irregular bowel movements, as well as sinus, headaches and skin rashes.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, there is an abundance of treatment options for stress, anxiety, and depression. If the symptoms are severe or have been persisting for a considerable length of time, it may be useful to combine several approaches as outlined below:
Herbal medicines may be very beneficial for the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression. Many clinical trials have found herbs such as St Johns Wort to be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Other herbs which are useful for alleviating symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, include Oats, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Zizyphus, Passionflower, Verbena, and Chamomile. Another class of herbs which assists our bodies to cope with stress are the adaptogens. These include the ginsengs, such as Panax or Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, American Ginseng, and Indian Ginseng also known as Ashwagandha or Withania. Other important adaptogens include Rhodiola, Schisandra, Codonopsis and Gotu Kola. Since herbs are powerful medicines, it is best to consult a professional naturopath or herbalist who can prescribe an individual prescription containing a combination of herbs specific for your needs.
Nutritional supplements may also be of benefit in times of increased stress since increased physical, emotional and mental demands increase our demand for certain vitamins and minerals, most notably:
• Magnesium required for muscle relaxation, energy production, hormone production, and healthy heart function. Magnesium deficiency is a widespread occurrence. Symptoms of deficiency include muscle cramps, headaches, neck and shoulder tension, premenstrual tension, period pain, and low energy. Dietary sources of magnesium covering: nuts and green leafy vegetables;
• B vitamins required for healthy nervous system function, hormone and neurotransmitter, production and energy production. As B vitamins are water soluble, they easily removed from the diet. Consuming excessive amounts of diuretics such as tea, coffee and cola drinks as well as certain medications will promote their removal from the body. Good dietary sources include: whole grains, such as oats and brewers yeast;
• Vitamin C is vital for many functions in the body, including immune system function and adrenal gland function. It is also an important antioxidant and required for collagen production;
• Essential fatty acids such as fish oil and evening primrose oil. These are essential for healthy brain function and are often deficient in the diet. Good sources include oily fish such as salmon, ocean trout, snapper, wild barramundi, and thick sea cod. Evening Primrose Oil took as a supplement. When buying oil supplements ensure you purchase ones with added antioxidants such as vitamin E as all oil supplements are prone to oxidation. Also, since many fish contaminated with mercury and pesticides, ensure you buy fish supplements which have been tested and purified.