Stress is a normal part of life that most of us experience in one way or another. The right amount of stress can be a positive force, helping us give the best of ourselves and also help us stay alert and energetic. However, when we are stressed for a long time, this can have an impact on our physical and mental health.
The influence of stress on your body
It's no surprise that we have a harder time falling asleep when we worry and worry. But when we are stressed, our body also produces hormones such as cortisol — the colloquial stress hormone — and adrenaline. These hormones can also make it difficult to fall asleep and sleep well. A lack of quality sleep, in turn, makes it more difficult to deal with stress. This can potentially lead to other health problems such as fatigue, irritability and concentration problems.
Unfortunately, long-term exposure to elevated cortisol levels can also cause hair loss. Your nails may also become brittle, break more easily or even develop horizontal ridges. This is because stress and excess cortisol cause our body to produce less collagen, which gives our hair and nails strength. Unfortunately, stress also has an influence on your skin. Stress hormones can lead to increased oil production, which can lead to breakouts, or skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
When your cortisol level rises due to tension or stress, this can make you more likely to turn to unhealthy food. Increased cortisol levels can cause higher insulin levels, which causes your blood sugar to drop and you will crave more "comfort food". Stress hormones can affect the balance of bacteria in our intestines, which can lead to ailments such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea and an increase in stomach acid.
What can you do about this?
Unfortunately, tackling the cause of stress is easier said than done. There are many things happening in your private, social and professional life that you do not always have influence on. It is therefore important to limit the impact of stress on your body and mind as much as possible and to tackle the remaining symptoms in a targeted manner.
Did you know that through sport and exercise your body produces substances that naturally protect your body against stress? You can also limit the effect of stress on your body by using herbs/ingredients such as ashwagandha, lemon balm and magnesium. When the effects of stress take over, Valerian can help you sleep better, ginseng can help against fatigue and collagen intake can better protect your skin.
In short, stress can have a significant impact on many different aspects of life, such as your sleep, energy, mental wellbeing, hair & nails, skin, body weight and gut. It can be difficult to tackle the cause of stress, but fortunately there are some actions that will better protect you against the impact of stress on your body and mental well-being.
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Pharmacist Dirk Christiaen
Founder of Metis Supplements