Stress is likely the most dangerous toxin that your body faces on a daily basis. Below are 10 reasons why.
Stress changes gene expression. The chemicals produced by the body when it is under stress can either turn on or off genes that change how much fat you store, how well your immune system works, how fast you age, and whether or not you will develop cancer.
Early life events determine your set point for stress. Early childhood events set your corticotropin-releasing hormone at high or low. This hormone turns on your adrenals, and therefore your response to stress.
Stress causes brain damage. High levels of stress hormones damage critical parts of the brain such as the hippocampus.
Stress shuts down the immune system and increases inflammation. Stress can slow down healing and increase your susceptibility to infections. It can also activate latent infections such as cold sores.
Chronic stress damages the energy powerhouses of your body, your mitochondria.
Stress reduces your ability to metabolize and detoxify. Stress can increase your toxic load by increasing your cravings for high fat, high sugar foods. Enzymes that break down fats and detoxify prescription drugs are also negatively impacted by stress. A proper diet will help.
Your cardiovascular system responds to stress, increasing cardiac output if you have run away from a tiger. Chronic stress has been shown to increase the thickness of the artery walls, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress messes with your sex hormones. Chronic stress increases the production of cortisol; if your body is in a “fight or flight” state, it is not concerned about having sex and/or reproducing. Therefore, fewer sex hormones are produced.
Stress is bad for your bones and muscles. Higher stress levels are associated with lower bone density.
The gut and stress are intimately intertwined. Stress slows the transit in the gut leading to constipation and the re-circulation of hormones like estrogen through your liver. It increases the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. And it loosens up the tight junctions in the gut causing something called leaky gut. This then leads to increased inflammation, food sensitivities, and even autoimmune disease.