Stress - "The emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event."
The Psycholocogical Assocation
In-the-moment responses to such events are a normal part of our nervous system, which triggers what’s typically recognised as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response, activating the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which is the primary system involved in the chemical changes that occur during Fight or Flight. The SNS kicks in, and as soon as the trauma has passed, the body normally settles and goes back to homeostasis within about an hour.
However, the situation can be compounded when the effects are such that they linger long after the trauma. When emotional trauma goes unhealed, the nervous system is in a constant state of heightened stress where the SNS is turned on virtually all the time. In this state, adrenaline and noradrenaline-stimulating mechanisms within it will not only alter the genetic code, but damage gut function as well.
Heightened stress causes blood to rush away from the digestive tract and head to the vital organs to provide fuel for fighting or fleeing. The digestive response is not needed if there's a tiger on the tail, so it partially shuts down. Long term stress means a lack of blood supply to the digestive tract and also a lack of gastric secretions, leading to poor gut health.
Numerous studies have connected stress with lower immune function and higher incidences of disease in general, with the genetic alteration leading to a number of processes:
With so much potentially going on, a weakened immune system can get overrun and worn out. When that happens it becomes deficient (immunodeficient) – it won’t respond well enough or stand up to the incoming threats. With all this in mind, we need to help the immune system in as many ways as possible – we’re not about just ramping up the killer cells, it’s all got to work in harmony like clockwork. There’s that balance word again.
The immune system needs fuel, and instructions, in order to operate properly, in order to work as an efficient balanced system. This covers everything from hormone balancing to liver detoxing, making sure the lymphatic drainage system and the eliminatory organs are operating, and so much more, not to mention maximising cellular respiration to create a healthy environment for those important white cells to stay energised and do their job.
Our role is to help keep the whole immune system strong enough to adapt to all situations. So how do we do this? Simple. Micronutrients.