Stress induces changes in the gut’s permeability, barrier accuracy, sensitivity, blood flow, and secretions. Studies have shown that the gut’s microbiome responds DIRECTLY to stress signals. This means that the gut is one of the first lines of defense (and attack).
The word stress is a broad term and can refer to any real or perceived threat to the homeostasis of an organism, eliciting adaptive responses to help maintain internal stability and ensure survival. Stress can be caused by several sources. Some include:
Stress causes cortisol dysregulation and subsequent weight gain, sleep disturbances, and even a reduction in life span. The gut is an integral part of the nervous system, so the brain can easily affect gut function and cause changes in the composition of the microbiota. Studies have shown that psychological stress encourages the overgrowth of bacteria and compromises the intestinal barrier. Therefore, chronic exposure to stress may lead to the development of a variety of gastrointestinal diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, IBD, IBS, and even food allergies.
That said, it goes without saying that a significant component of a healthy lifestyle should include stress reduction techniques and herbal supplements to manage stress, and adaptogen herbs to help fight the side effects of stress. Some strategies to keep stress controlled within your body include:
Gut health is indeed the pathway to optimize your overall health!
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Dr. Toni is a Best-selling author, Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) & Registered Herbalist in San Diego, California. She holds a PhD in psychology, and a Clinical Herbalist Certificate, an HHP certificate and is a Certified Trainer in the Success Principles. In private practice as a HHP for over 14 years, she has been influenced by a variety of clinical modalities and orientations, and by the diverse life experiences of her clients. Toni’s approach to healing is holistic & transpersonal. In her work, she integrates the principles of Eastern and Western nutrition, herbololgy, energy medicine, Buddhist mindfulness and personal counseling to assist others in working through their physical or emotional blocks to attain optimal health.