Stress and Nutritional Deficiency

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by darude, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. darude

    darude New Member

    Stress and Nutritional Deficiency--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Demands are made on our bodies all the time. Our ability to cope is dependant on how great the stressor is, how long it continues and how well we feel. I want to show you how these factors are also related to the status of particular vitamins and minerals in your body so that you can understand just what is going on within your cells during a time of stress

    Stress is an important part of life. Without it we would not be warned of disabling situations, which might be dangerous not only to the body, but also to the mind, emotions and spirit. A viral infection, a broken leg, physical exertion, a shock, abuse of any kind, feeling trapped within a situation, are all stressors. When you are chronically ill, as in M.E. anything and everything becomes a stressor; physical movement, conversations, relationships, making ends meet, noise, light, and so on.

    In order to comprehend what is happening, it is important to look at the various stages of stress and see what bodily functions are involved and what nutrients are needed to bring us back into balance. Then we can understand how to address the problem.

    Let’s start with the alarm reaction, which is the body’s response to a stressor. Suppose you step off the pavement without looking and a car has to slam on its brakes to avoid hitting you. The body needs to mobilise itself in order to get you out of the situation. Immediately the master gland in the brain, called the hypothalamus, jumps into action to activate the sympathetic nervous system. It calls upon the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenals to respond and to release a variety of hormones to help you in your situation. This response causes you to retain sodium and water. You may find that you become heated as your body temperature rises in this inflammatory process, and your body mobilises for fight or flight. Because sodium opposes other minerals in the body, we may find that our requirements for magnesium, potassium and zinc begin to increase.

    What happens next? The body does not want to stay in the alarm stage of stress for long. If it does, for reasons I will discuss later, the inflammatory process will begin to infiltrate the weakest parts of your body and they will become distressed, resulting in disease states like colitis, diverticulitis, sinusitis, and arthritis to name but a few. The body now does its best to deal with what is happening by moving into the resistance stage. Here it begins to release anti-inflammatory hormones to try to control the situation. In the process blood sugar is raised. This gives the body the ability to have more mental and physical energy to deal with the stressor. Then as the stress is brought under control, this process dies down and the breakdown of tissues which has begun, because of the release of cortisol, now abates and the body begins to repair thedamage to the tissues. We experience this as a return to normal function. Recovery has occurred and we have dealt with the problem, whatever it might be. In normal circumstances, when our health is fine, most of our stress reactions proceed to recovery.

    But suppose the stressor is not something as simple as stepping off the kerb without looking, but is more complicated. Suppose the stressor does not go away. We may be in a job where we are permanently in the alarm stage of stress, meeting deadlines and trying always to get a quart into a pint pot. We may have relationships at home or at work, which cause us mental or emotional pain and we can see no way out. We may be pushing our bodies to the limit in the gym or on the playing field and not giving our bodies time to recover.

    What happens here is that instead of moving naturally towards recovery we learn to adapt to our situation, even though we do not like it. We call this the adaption stage. In our modern day societies, probably the majority of those at work, where more and more seems to be demanded of us, are in this stage. If this goes on indefinitely and we do not take steps to move away from it, chronic disease states arise like stomach ulcers and heart disease. Phrases like “We cannot stomach it” and “Our heart is not in it” leap to mind as the physical body reflects our emotional state.

    Then finally the inevitable occurs. When no recovery seems possible and the body has had enough, it moves into the exhaustion stage. Here we find M.E. and all the other illnesses that are incorporated into the umbrella of chronic fatigue syndrome.

    At each stage certain nutrients are required.

    The Alarm Stage
    I mentioned earlier that when sodium is retained the body needs more potassium, magnesium and zinc because sodium opposes these minerals. In addition Vitamins C, D, E, B1, B6, B12, calcium, copper, cobalt and selenium are all needed for this reaction to take place. If we are not aware of these increased requirements and we do not look after our body by giving it the correct nutrients and time for rest and recuperation, then trouble will follow. We dash about all over the place, snatching unhealthy snacks, instead of feeding ourselves properly and these essential vitamins and minerals are depleted.

    Then the BIG PROBLEM occurs.
    Guess what? We need these very nutrients to initiate the alarm reaction and if we don’t have them then the stressor becomes IMMEDIATELY overwhelming to the body. You can see this so clearly in an illness like M.E. where I remember well that absolutely anything and everything in my environment became a stressor.

    The Resistance Stage
    In order to overcome the inflammatory process of the alarm stage we need vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C and the minerals potassium, zinc, manganese, iron and magnesium. We need sufficient amounts of these to get to the resistance stage, where we can deal with the problem. Let’s look at an example. You have M.E. and you decide to try to walk around the supermarket. Unfortunately you are very short of magnesium and potassium. When you have finished your exertion, which is a stressor on the system, you find you have terrible muscular pain and cramping sensations in the legs. You cannot deal with this because you do not have the correct minerals available and it may take days before the symptoms subside and your muscles recover. They may not recover at all if you have none of the nutrients required for the recovery stage.
    The Recovery Stage
    When you have dealt with your stressful situation you will have depleted yourself of vitamins and minerals required both for the alarm stage and the resistance stage of stress. It is essential that these are replenished if you are to move on to the recovery stage. Here you will need vitamins C, D, E, B1, B6, B12, and Folic Acid and the minerals calcium, magnesium, copper, cobalt and selenium.

    Until you have adequate amounts of all the vitamins and minerals needed to proceed through a stress reaction you will not reach recovery. So how do we know whether we are likely to be depleted and which minerals are affected? There are two ways to find out, both of which are useful. The first is to look at the kind of deficiency symptoms which might occur if these vitamins and minerals are depleted in the various stages. As you go through them highlighting your own symptoms look for those underlined, as major symptoms and therefore a good indication there is a problem or look for a lot of highlighting in one section. This symptom analysis is taken from the information we were given on a three day intensive nutrition course at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition.

    Alarm Stage Deficiency Signs
    Vitamin C Vitamin D
    Frequent colds Rheumatism or Arthritis
    Lack of energy Back ache
    Frequent infections Tooth decay
    Bleeding or tender gums Hair loss
    Easy bruising Excessive sweating
    Nose bleeds Muscle cramps or spasms
    Slow wound healing Joint pain or stiffness
    Red pimples on skin Lack of energy

    Vitamin E Vitamin B1
    Lack of sex drive Tender muscles
    Exhaustion after light exercise Eye pains
    Easy bruising Irritability
    Slow wound healing Poor concentration
    Varicose veins ‘Prickly’ legs
    Loss of muscle tone Poor memory
    Infertility Stomach pains
    Tingling hands
    Rapid heartbeat

    Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12
    Infrequent dream recall Poor hair condition
    Water retention Eczema or dermatitis
    Tingling hands Mouth over sensitive to hot/cold
    Depression or nervousness Irritability
    Irritability Anxiety or tension

    Muscle tremors or cramps Lack of Energy
    Lack of energy Constipation
    Flaky skin Tender or sore muscles
    Pale Skin

    Calcium Copper
    Muscle cramps or tremors Rheumatism or Arthritis
    Insomnia or nervousness Anaemia
    Joint pain or arthritis Chronic bacterial infection
    Tooth Decay Gout
    High blood pressure High blood pressure
    Antibiotic sensitivity
    Emotional disturbances
    Manic disorders
    Prematurely grey hair

    Family history of cancer
    Signs of premature ageing
    High Blood Pressure
    Frequent Infections

    Resistance stage of stress
    Vitamin C, B1, B6, as above. In addition

    Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3
    Burning or gritty eyes Lack of energy
    Sensitivity to bright lights Diarrhoea
    Sore tongue Insomnia
    Cataracts Headaches or Migraines
    Dull or oily hair Poor memory
    Eczema or dermatitis Anxiety or tension
    Split nails Depression
    Cracked lips Irritability
    Bleeding or tender gums

    Vitamin B5 Vitamin A
    Muscle tremors or cramps Mouth ulcers
    Apathy Frequent colds and infections
    Poor concentration Acne
    Burning feet or tender heels Poor night vision
    Nausea or vomiting Dry flaky skin
    Lack of energy Dandruff
    Exhaustion after light exercise Thrush or cystitis
    Anxiety or tension Diarrhoea
    Teeth grinding

    Potassium Magnesium
    Fatigue Muscle twitches
    Weakness Childhood ‘growing’ pains
    Muscle cramps Dizziness or poor balance
    Heart arrhythmia Fits or convulsions
    Frequent infections

    Zinc Iron
    Poor sense of taste or smell Pale skin
    White marks on more than two finger nails Sore tongue
    Frequent infections Fatigue or listlessness
    Stretch marks Loss of appetite or nausea
    Acne or greasy skin Heavy periods or blood loss
    Low fertility
    Pale skin
    Tendency to depression
    Poor appetite

    Muscle tremors or spasms
    Muscle weakness
    Insomnia or nervousness
    High blood pressure
    Irregular heart beat
    Fits or convulsions

    Recovery stage of stress
    Vitamins C, D, E, B1, B6, B12, calcium, magnesium, copper, cobalt and selenium as above. In addition

    Floic Acid
    Anxiety or tension
    Poor appetite
    Cracked lips
    Poor memory
    Stomach pains
    Prematurely greying hair
    Lack of energy

    You may well be amazed at the correlation of your symptoms with the lack of necessary nutrients needed to move from alarm through resistance to recovery. This article may help you to see just what is happening. If you don’t have many deficiencies you may be on the road to recovery already or maybe your problem is too much of a certain nutrient, which in turn is depressing others. There again it could be the ratio between minerals that is the problem. You will see that many deficiency signs are repeated, so it is hard to tell exactly what is the matter.

    So of course it is no use rushing out to buy cart loads of supplements. A good quality multivitamin and mineral and a B complex supplement may help you if you are taking nothing at all at present, but how many of you with Chronic Fatigue have tried this, and found minimal differences in your quality of life. You should NEVER take a single supplement on its own, without taking a good multivitamin and mineral at the same time, because it may be dangerous. You could end up with an excess of one nutrient, which then opposes and prevents other minerals from being absorbed and then a new deficiency occurs and new symptoms present themselves.

    So now I come to my second way of assessing mineral imbalances. This way is via a hair mineral analysis. This is much more accurate and can show you exactly which minerals are deficient, which minerals are excessive, which are in the reference range and near the ideal level and above all what the ratios between minerals are. Through this you can properly assess whether your body is in the alarm stage, the resistance stage, the exhaustion stage or is progressing towards recovery. You can tell whether your thyroid or your adrenals are under or over active and whether you have a fast or a slow metabolism. Sufferers from chronic fatigue, especially those whose condition has resulted from a viral infection, often have a similar profile; slow metabolisers, with typically cold hands and feet.

    The analysis, together with the patient history can take into account the individual’s special needs and then a program of correct supplementation and dietary guidance can be given. Some foods will exacerbate the problem and some will encourage the body to balance. When a program has been running for 60 to 90 days then a re-test will show exactly what has been achieved, and the program can be constantly fine tuned as you move back towards recovery. The ability to see the evidence in graph form with explanations, means you can understand what is happening and see that there may be improvements even though you might not feel them immediately and even though you might go through reactions as toxic metals are chased out of the body. Sometimes a lot of minor improvements have to take place before the combined effect carries you up to a new energy level.

    I can illustrate what I mean with a story from my own life. My symptoms seemed to indicate that I needed magnesium for a number of reasons and I supplemented with it for a number of years, sometimes on its own and sometimes with calcium, even after I was well. My first analysis, however, showed very high calcium and magnesium levels. The calcium was opposing other minerals and preventing them from being absorbed. The problem was not with magnesium but with potassium. When I used potassium within a well balanced program, my muscle cramps after vigorous exercise disappeared, my hands and feet began to warm up in the house and I felt a lot less excitable and could deal with stressful situations much more easily.

    I do not think you can treat a problem until you know what it is. Then you can take steps to correct it. Understanding what is happening to your body in a stressful situation and the nutrients needed to deal with it, is vital. When it is combined with a detailed knowledge of what your personal mineral status is you can see exactly why you are experiencing particular symptoms and what needs to be done to make the body return to balance.

    This is not of course the whole story. If a stressor remains in your life, then you will always be struggling to build up the correct nutrients. In a situation of constant stress nutrients will be gobbled up at an alarming rate trying to mobilise the body into recovery. It is not the stressor that is the problem, but your reaction to it. There is always the choice to react or not to react. If a work or home situation is intolerable there are two choices, either to leave it or to choose not to react. The third possibility is not to be entertained and that is that you are a victim of circumstances and cannot do anything about it. Once you are in this mode your energy plummets and you are locked into a deep hole, full of anger and self hatred because you have not been able to take either of the other two paths.

    But of course, when you are terribly fatigued, you do not have the energy to deal with much. I feel that using hair analysis is going to be a major way forward to correct the imbalances, resulting in greater energy levels and then you can deal with the external stressors more adequately.

    I find this work very exciting and the results are very promising. Even though I was well when I started the program, fifteen months later I can see all sorts of improvements and I feel better than I have done for years and years. I know it works. It takes time to unravel years of illness and it won’t happen in an instant. But it is perfectly feasible to return to health, once you understand what is happening and you give the body exactly what it needs. Give your body lots of love and compassion, nurture it and don’t get cross and frustrated with it, if it is not working very well at the moment. Positive emotions like love, compassion and joy have been shown to affect the very cells themselves, expanding the energy field and ensuring optimum levels of recovery
  2. Beadlady

    Beadlady Member

    I'll haave to print this & put in my book of stuff to remember.

    How do you get into the field of Hair Analysis? (sp)Soinds interesting.
  3. Tantallon

    Tantallon New Member

    are why I think I have this illness.

    Have adressed all the stress issues, now I am working on the diet side of things.

    Great info here.

    Cheers, Sue

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