Stress & Inflammation

“It’s just stress” are possibly the most inadequate words ever used to describe a serious threat to your health. Stress and inflammation are at the root of most, if not all, disease conditions. Destructive in their own right, both stress and inflammation can push any weakness in your body to failure.

In healthy short-term doses, stress and inflammation are good for us. The stress of competition can drive us to greater achievement; the stress of exercise helps maintain our bodies. When we are injured, the innate inflammation response helps galvanize our body’s immune system to start the healing process. These normal responses work hand-in-hand to keep us healthy.

But we are chronically stressed. That means we consistently exceed the levels of stress our bodies are designed to handle, and we never return to a healthy baseline state. The same is true of inflammation: it’s not confined to a local area and a short timeframe. For many of us, it’s long-term, systemic, and progressively more destructive.

“It’s just stress” also short-changes the global effect stress and inflammation have on us. It is physical, as well as mental, emotional and spiritual. The term “oxidative stress” refers to an imbalance between the level of free radicals present in your body and your innate anti-oxidant defenses. Long-term oxidative stress damages your cells’ ability to produce energy and promotes “inflamm-aging.” This affects every aspect of your health and life.

My Approach

The first step is to look at the inflammation markers in your bloodwork. It can also be extremely helpful to look at your stress hormones, primarily cortisol. These are produced by your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. Your cortisol level should follow a wave-like pattern that peaks during the early part of the day. If this pattern is dysregulated, it can cause havoc in your sleep, mood, sex life, and overall ability to function. Specific support for the adrenals may be necessary in the shorter term, but step-by-step changes to your diet and lifestyle will be at the core of any strategy. This kind of change is powerful, but can be challenging. It needs to be integrated in a way that is sustainable for you.

Sample Lab Report

ASI sample report
Cleveland Heart Lab sample report
Cytokines Panel sample report


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