3 Frustrating Effects of Chronic Stress, And How To Fix Them

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Over the years on Doug Kaufmann’s TV show, Know The Cause, I’ve shared stories of my own bouts with chronic stress, and the eventual consequence known as adrenal fatigue. Letting stress get the best of us, or ignoring stress can have disastrous consequences for our health.

Adrenal fatigue

can either be characterized by elevated cortisol levels in its early stages, or low cortisol levels in its advanced stages. (By the time I had it tested, I was low.. Even alternative medicine doesn’t talk nearly enough about this stage because it’s more challenging to overcome.) Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone”, and is associated with the so-called “fight or flight” response when we’re frightened. Experiencing “fight or flight” once in a while is normal.

“the patient is either told that their symptoms are all in their head, or they’re given antidepressants, sleep pills, or anxiety drugs.”

Experiencing it all the time isn’t. More and more doctors, sociologists, and psychologists are warning that our 24/7, always-on culture is sending us into levels of unending stress, and our health is taking a hit as a result.

One problem with adrenal fatigue is that it can mirror other conditions, such as thyroid dysfunction. Symptoms can include chronic fatigue, depression, brain fog, and many others, including the three we talk about later in this article. 

Adrenal fatigue as I’ve just described it is not recognized by the mainstream medical community as a “real” condition. They only recognize abnormally high cortisol when it becomes Cushing’s Disease, or abnormally low cortisol when it becomes Addison’s Disease. Anything short of those recognized conditions is usually ignored, and the patient is either told that their symptoms are all in their head, or they’re given antidepressants, sleep pills, or anxiety drugs.

In my own case, I had several classic stress and adrenal fatigue symptoms, but also the strange effect of being listless during the day, and wide awake at night. What normally happens is that the body produces high levels of cortisol in the morning hours to help wake us up, and slowly produces less and less throughout the day so we can rest and go to sleep. Mine was the opposite. I had severely low cortisol in the morning hours and relatively high cortisol at night. It was as if I couldn’t think and engage optimally until the sun went down.

All of this begins with unmanaged stress. Maybe you consider yourself a workaholic. Maybe you worry about every small issue far more than you should. Perhaps you just can’t let things go. All of these could be taking you down the path of adrenal fatigue.

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Dealing with stress isn’t just a physical issue.

Yes, there are great supplements like ashwagandha, Rhodiola, holy basil, L-theanine, and phosphatidyl serine that can help. Exercise helps tremendously. The Kaufmann Diet, in my experience, helps so well that its the nutritional foundation of what I do for myself and my clients. But the spiritual and emotional side of chronic stress and anxiety have to also be addressed if a person is ever going to replace anxiety with peace.

There are at least three potentially devastating effects of chronic stress that aren’t talked about nearly enough:

1. Chronic Stress Can Wreck Blood Sugar Levels, and Create Massive Sugar Cravings

There’s a strong link between imbalanced cortisol levels and chronically high or chronically low blood sugar levels.

When this happens, you may experience uncontrollable sugar cravings. When this happens and you go for the quick sugar rush from candy or simple carbs, you set yourself up for a problem that most people have never even heard of: Fungal overgrowth. Fungal overgrowth is a “tipping point condition” that can be the entry point for nearly every chronic ailment you hope to avoid.

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Yeasts and fungi that naturally enter the body or unnaturally enter the body both thrive on sugar. You may already be battling sugar cravings because of an unrecognized fungal overgrowth that may have come after a bout of antibiotics, or even when you’ve taken medications such as birth control pills and anti-inflammatories. Many common drugs like these help fungi and yeasts to multiply at alarming rates. When this happens, it’s not you craving the sugar; it’s the fungi and yeasts craving the sugar. 

They can release poisons that cause your body to actually desire sugar. This works very well for them because it ensures that they’re fed constantly. But it’s a disaster for us, causing weight issues, and potentially leading to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Of course, you may have had normal blood sugar before experiencing chronic stress. But chronic stress creates a hormone imbalance which also leads to abnormal blood sugar levels, and you may have already begun hitting the sodas, pastries, and other sweet treats as a result. The sugar-fed the yeast and fungi, and they multiplied and thrived. Now, you’re stuck in a never ending cycle of feeding an organism that demands more fuel.

If you’ve succumbed to sugar cravings and find yourself hooked, you almost certainly have to deal with it in a comprehensive way, beginning with an anti-yeast approach to your diet.Check out the Kaufmann Diet because it has been specifically designed to help starve yeast and fungi.

I would also begin taking exercise seriously and investigating anti-fungal blood sugar-balancing supplements, such as:

Cinnamon
Berberine
Bitter Melon
Chromium Picolinate
Gymnema

All of these provide a one-two punch of balancing blood sugar while being exceptionally unfriendly to yeasts and fungi. (NOTE: Always check with your doctor before taking blood sugar balancing supplements, especially if you’re diabetic or taking medications.)

2. Chronic Stress Could Be Wrecking Your Immune System.

When cortisol and other hormones like DHEA are imbalanced due to stress, the immune system can take a serious hit.
In particular, the mucous linings throughout the body, such as in the throat and nasal cavities, can become compromised, which leaves you susceptible to infection.

If you’re eating excessive sugar to temporarily salve the stress, you’re feeding fungi and yeasts, and they’ll have a perfect environment in which to grow and thrive when the body’s anti-fungal mucous layers have been compromised.

What’s worse? The fungi, themselves, secrete poisons which further reduce the immune system’s effectiveness. It’s like a perfect storm.

As you’re switching the diet and adding in natural supplements, consider antifungal nasal sprays and throat sprays to support your efforts. There are tremendously helpful products like that contain anti-yeast ingredients such as olive leaf, grapefruit seed extract, various herbs like oregano, and colloidal silver. High potency probiotics also help to support mucosal layers and naturally fight fungal and yeast organisms.

3. Chronic Stress Could Be Halting Your Weight Loss Efforts.

A lot of things are happening when you’re under stress that could cause weight gain or prevent weight loss.

We talked about blood sugar imbalance, and how that frequently causes weight gain. We also talked about yeast and fungal overgrowth that, in themselves, can cause radical weight gain, (see Doug Kaufmann’s book The Fungus Link To Weight Loss for details).stress-1-700px

Another weight-sensitive issue with chronic stress is that the adrenals secrete substances that stimulate the release of various other hormones which regulate the burning of body fat. They also determine whether the body uses carbs and dietary fat for energy, or are stored as body fat. When we’re under chronic stress, these hormone levels can shift from fat-burning mode to fat-storage mode.

When you’re in “storage mode” because of hormonal imbalance, it is SO frustrating because it becomes nearly impossible to burn body fat, (and no “miracle” fat loss pill seems to help).

The strategies talked about in The Fungus Link To Weight Loss, as well as the supplements, exercise, and emotional/spiritual side of stress management talked about in this article are all part of breaking the cycle.

Stress-related fungal overgrowth, weight gain, sugar cravings, and immune dysfunction are issues for which I like to take a comprehensive approach. In my own experience, symptoms resolve more quickly when I incorporate everything together.

This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect!! In fact, if you’re a perfectionist, you’re likely exacerbating the problem by heaping more stress on yourself than you should. Flawlessness, therefore, should not be your goal.

Take a comprehensive approach, know that it’ll take some time to adjust, and don’t beat yourself up if you stumble. You’ll get where you want to be more quickly by having an attitude of rest rather than an anxious attitude of worry-and-hurry. Relaaaaax, and you’ll get it.

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