What its doing to your body and how to support a more balanced response.
In our fast-paced world of modernity, we are repeatedly being forced to deal with the busyness and overwhelm of daily life. From demanding workloads, unexpected traffic jams, or simply staying abreast with technology – stress is a five letter word we need to become clear on to understand how to be more resilient to.
The negative effects of stress on your health can be far reaching. Stress can challenge your ability to maintain healthy gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, reproductive, and immune system health. It can make it difficult for you to enjoy healthy emotional balance, concentration, and restful sleep. And it can make you more susceptible to illness. This is because stress causes changes in the body’s chemistry, altering the balance of hormones in ways that can impact your entire body.
5 Vital Nutrients Drained by Stress
Magnesium is a mineral that has hundreds of essential roles throughout our body and low levels are associated with several mental and physical conditions. Low magnesium levels are associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Studies on people during times of high stress have confirmed that stress can lead to a greater excretion of magnesium. For example, during exam times, student’s urinary magnesium excretion was increased significantly. Magnesium levels were also depleted in competitive triathletes, suggesting increased physical demand is associated with a reduction in magnesium.
Best known for its immune-supporting qualities, vitamin C can often be overlooked when it comes to stress, yet is crucially important. The largest store of vitamin C lies in the adrenal glands, which are responsible for the production of stress hormones. Keep these healthy by eating plenty of vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens and broccoli.
An important nutrient co-factor required for energy production and as part of the stress response so the body’s requirements are higher as stress levels increase to ensure the adrenal glands have sufficient energy to produce stress hormones.
Another important nutrient co-factor involved in numerous biochemical pathways in the body, including the modulation of adrenal gland activity and the stress response, and since stress also depletes vitamin B6, higher intakes are required when stressed.
A commonly deficient mineral, which plays an important role in supporting the immune system and modulating the body’s stress response, and since it is also rapidly used up during times of stress increased intakes are recommended. It is found in high amounts in meat, poultry and oysters, and organ meats such as liver are a particularly rich source. Strict vegetarians may be at higher risk of zinc deficiency and so should pay even closer attention to including plenty of this vital mineral in their diets during stress.