The Body Ecology Diet (BED) Column
......with Donna Gates
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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013:
Bacteria Respond to Your Hormones: How Stress Feeds Candida
You’re not the only one that can sense stress. The bacteria living in your body can too! Stress signals to bacteria that you are weak and that it is time invade.
Stress initiates what is known as your fight-or-flight response, which causes the release of stress hormones like epinephrine from the adrenal gland.
Stress hormones stimulate a feeling of excitement, causing the heart to race and the breath to become quick and shallow.
Adrenal stimulants like caffeine, road rage, traveling across time zones, a fight with your spouse, and even a television program can do the same thing - they can all activate the fight-or-flight signal within the body.
Too Much Stress Injures the Gut
When we experience too much stress, the immune system stops working like we want it to.
The prolonged release of stress hormones day after day can make us more vulnerable to infection. For those who have an autoimmune disease, too much stress can cause the immune system to flare up, making disease symptoms worse.
This is not the only bad news.
Too much stress can also make our digestion sluggish. It can inflame the gut. And it can prompt the wild growth of bacteria. Add all of this to a poorly regulated immune system, and you’ve got the perfect storm for disease.
1. Stress Shuts Down Digestive Function.
The fight-or-flight response naturally slows or shuts down digestive function.
This isn’t some flaw in our design. The fight-or-flight response conserves energy by shutting down unnecessary functions (like digestion) in the body. At the same time, functions that may save our life are enhanced.
Because stress hormones shut down digestive function, this can lead to undigested food rotting in the gut, which feeds Candida and other opportunistic organisms.
Someone who is chronically stressed may have heartburn, constipation, or simply no appetite.
2. Stress Causes a Leaky Gut.
The lining of the gastrointestinal tract is thin and delicate. When it comes to absorbing the nutrients from food, this is a good thing. The problem with this thin and delicate tissue is that it is susceptible to irritation. Once this tissue becomes irritated and inflamed, it becomes leaky. (1)
Leaky gut is exactly as it sounds. It is a condition where the gut “leaks” and allows too much into the bloodstream. This could be large food particles, bacteria or toxins from bacteria, or even the yeast Candida.
Leaky gut can also generate more stress within the body. This leads to more leaky gut; it is a vicious cycle.
3. Stress Signals to Bacteria to Invade.
If you think that you are alone in your body, think again. While it may sound like science fiction, research now tells us that the bugs in the body can understand and respond to the chemical signals that we send to and fro.
The body uses hormones and neurotransmitters as a type of language to communicate what needs to be done. It turns out that bacteria know what these chemical messages mean. Not only that, but they have also learned how to use our weakness to their advantage.
Bacteria have evolved with us over time. As our diet and environment have changed, they have too. And bacteria are smart. They adapt quickly. During the fight-or-flight response, we produce stress hormones that tell the disease-causing bugs in the body to grow. (2)(3) The ability of bacteria to respond to our hormones helps to ensure their survival.
Other studies have found that stress alters the number of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Stress has been found to decrease the number of good bacteria (4), making the body more susceptible to infection, inflammation, and Candida overgrowth.
5 Tips for the Best Ways to Manage Your Stress
1. Cultivate Mindfulness.
The number one way to minimize the fight-or-flight response in the body is to manage stress. This doesn’t mean that you need to reduce stress. It means that you could manage your perception of stress and still make a big difference.
This is because stress is largely perceived.
Those who meditate and make a point of cultivating inner peace are also cultivating health and longevity. If you want to get rid of stress, running away from life will not offer many solutions. Changing how you perceive life will.
Other ways to balance the harmful effects that stress has in the body is to support yourself where you feel it most: in your gut. Chronic stress shuts down digestive function, weighs down the immune system, makes the gut leaky, and speeds up the growth of unfriendly bacteria.
2. Take Digestive Enzymes.
These enzymes stoke our digestive fire and prevent things like heartburn, constipation, and poor appetite. By digesting foods more completely, especially in the small intestine, we have the proper nutrition available to support our adrenals. Assist SI was designed to maximize digestion in the small intestine.
3. Boost Probiotic Numbers.
By simply eating fermented foods every day, we can balance the inner ecosystem of the gastrointestinal tract. Good bacteria support the immune system and can help to repair a leaky gut.
Fermented foods are also easy to assimilate and even contain their own enzymes, which contribute to healthy digestion. Mix a few ounces of InnergyBiotic into a small amount of black currant juice with some stevia at 3-4 pm to give those adrenals a late afternoon boost.
4. Feed Those Adrenals.
Donna blends the amazing array of bio-available B vitamins found in Potent Proteins fermented Spirulina with the humic and fulvic acids in Ancient Earth Minerals to nourish her adrenal energy.
5. Try Ayurvedic Herbs.
In a pinch, try Holy Basil and Ashwagandha - both well researched in their ability to help balance the release of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight response.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Did you know that the bacteria living in your body can sense stress? Stress causes the fight-or-flight response; this can weaken the immune system when too much stress is experienced over time.
Stress can cause a number of issues throughout the body, like:
- Impaired digestive function - undigested food will rot in the gut to feed Candida.
- Leaky gut - bacteria, food particles, and Candida leak into the bloodstream.
- Bacterial invasion - stress decreases the number of good bacteria found in the gut.
Don’t let stress get the best of you! Here are 5 effective tips that you can use today to manage your stress:
- Cultivate mindfulness to minimize the fight-or-flight response.
- Take digestive enzymes like Assist SI to support adrenal health.
- Boost probiotic numbers by eating fermented foods and drinking InnergyBiotic each day.
- Feed the adrenals with Potent Proteins and Ancient Earth Minerals.
- Try Ayurvedic herbs to balance stress hormone release.
1. Brummer, Robert. Nutritional modulation of the “brain-gut axis”. Scandanavian Journal of Nutrition 2005; 49 (3): 98-105.
2. Lyte M: The role of microbial endocrinology in infectious disease. J Endocrinol 1993, 137(3):343-345.
3. Lyte M, Ernst S: Catecholamine induced growth of gram negative bacteria. Life Sci 1992, 50(3):203-212.
4. Lakhan, Shaheen. Gut inflammation in chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutrition and Metabolism 2010, 7:79.
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