Be on the lookout for a few stress-related articles in the Blog section of the Know the Cause website this month. We’ll talk about comfort foods, Phase One, sugar, and all things stress this month, but I’ll kick it off with this article about supplements to help support the body’s ability to handle stress.
First, understand that stress isn’t merely a nuisance. And one’s inability to handle stress isn’t a sign of weakness. Dealing with stress effectively can save your life.
We all know about how stress can affect the heart, but did you know that chronic stress can compromise your immune system? This is why stress can be associated with fungal overgrowth; without a fully functioning immune response, fungi colonize and rapidly overgrow, and they have a way of creating internal conditions that encourage their survival.
Dr. Alex Lloyd, Dr. Ben Johnson, Dr. Gabor Mate, Dr. Bruce Lipton and countless others have written extensively on the subject of stress and disease. The Bible says that “anxiety is as rottenness to the bones” and “hope deferred makes the heart sick”. Dr. Lloyd has said that unless the “heart” is healed, the body’s ability to take in nutrients as well as remove poisons is completely undermined. Dr. Lipton believes that the healing process of the body is completely short-circuited by chronic stress, meaning that it’s impossible to heal unless stress is under control. Dr. Mate took years to identify certain personality patterns associated with cancer. He became so skilled at it that he could literally predict which kind of cancer a person had based on their level of stress, and how they dealt with it.
In short, stress is a killer in almost every way.
Next, it’s important to realize that there’s a difference between the stressful feelings of being chased by dogs versus daily chronic stress. The former is acute stress. It happens when something dangerous or crucially important is happening, and your body jumps into “fight or flight” mode. The adrenals kick in their stress hormones, and you become keenly focused on the task at hand.
“Fight or flight” is there for our survival, but it’s not something that should be kicked in all the time. For many of us, it is kicked in all the time, and this is when we become victims of chronic stress. It’s when we always walk around with a little pang in the tummy. A little worry. A lingering anxiety. A consistent lack of peace. This is the kind of stress we’re most interested in dealing with.
Chronic stress can also take root as a result of unresolved issues from the past. Unforgiveness, for example. I’m not a psychologist, but I don’t believe that every bad memory necessarily causes this. But Dr. Alex Lloyd is a Christian psychologist who refers to studies such as the one in 2009 from Southwestern Medical Center in which researchers wrote about a concept called “cellular memory” – memories literally being stored in cells throughout the body, not just in the physical brain. Ever wonder why you have certain symptoms unique to you when you’re under tremendous stress? Maybe you experience migraines, while your spouse experiences breathing challenges. Doug has coined the term “shock organs” to describe the vulnerable places in the body where symptoms seem to always concentrate, and each person’s “shock organ” is different. Well, this “cellular memory” concept may help describe why this vulnerability occurs.
Endless fight or flight via chronic anxiety or “cellular memory” can absolutely drain the adrenals. Adrenal fatigue or adrenal failure can completely debilitate a person. I know. My wife experienced this while pregnant with our son, and it lasted for about five years thereafter. No real peace. Anxiety whenever she would leave the house. Crying for no apparent reason. Hopelessness. I know from reading many of your e-mails that this is more common than I ever realized.
As we talk about her own path out of these challenges, I would be robbing you if I didn’t share a couple of important, and possibly controversial things about how she overcame them. (People sometimes rob readers of the full story, and it’s maddening. For example, I’ve known of medical doctors that have come to Doug for help with their life-threatening diagnoses, and Doug worked with them to overcome their health challenges. Once fully recovered, however, many of them never talk about Doug’s anti-fungal regimen in public for fear that they’ll be criticized by their colleagues. They end up telling people only part of their story of recovery, but rob them of the whole story. I’m not going to make that mistake here.)
My wife’s solutions absolutely included all of Doug’s protocols. These were crucial for the physical side of the problem. But folks, when it came to my wife’s chronic stress, there were emotional and spiritual elements to the recovery. I prayed for my wife’s recovery because I was doing everything physically that I knew to do.
One morning, something dawned on her. She remembered that her symptoms began during her pregnancy. During that time, there was a personal struggle she had with a person very close to her. It escalated until the two weren’t speaking. On the day of my son’s birth, my wife had to have an emergency C-section, and she nearly died. For days afterward, she was barely conscious. On the first day of coming out of this nearly comatose state, the struggle with this person resumed, and it was extremely hard on both this person and my wife. It culminated in them not speaking for years.
As she remembered this, she realized that this had never been dealt with. In one swift moment, she called this person and admitted to having had the worst feelings of anger and unforgiveness, and asked for forgiveness. This was their first real conversation since the day in the hospital. The apology was received, reciprocated, and the corner was turned permanently.
Whether you believe this part or not, I’m telling you the truth that on the very day that she did this, I got my wife back. Her countenance changed. I saw it the moment I returned home. She looked so dramatically different that I had to ask what was happening. Even as I write this, tears come to my eyes. If you ever thought that you lost someone you loved, but got them back, you understand why this is such a big deal. I missed her so much. That whole experience changed both of our lives forever and we began recognizing how crucial it is to have a body-soul-spirit approach to health.
That same week, I began learning about adrenal failure and began putting together a regimen to reinvigorate the adrenals that had been depleted for so long. The Phase One was right in the center of everything, as always. The anti-fungal supplements were there, too. Every additional supplement, as it turns out, has anti-fungal properties, but also has specific adrenal-strengthening, stress reducing qualities. I’ve recommended these to countless clients over the years, and they’re remarkable, but they have an exceptional effect when emotions are dealt with in a truly holistic way – body, soul, and spirit. We cannot forget that we are more than just physical beings, and if we really want whole health, we need a whole-person approach. Americans, for whatever reason, often dismiss anything that isn’t physical, and I believe this is a massive mistake.
Having said that, there are physical strategies that need to be put into place. You already know that the Kaufmann anti-fungal approach is my starting point. Taking stress supplements while mycotoxins are being reintroduced into the body from our diet equates to just chasing our tails.
For adrenal health, I always look to a super-potent B-Complex with plenty of pantothenic acid. I love high quality royal jelly, and I actually get mine from a bee farm, (called an apiary). We’ve had tremendous results with ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, schisandra, and holy basil. I also like licorice root as long as the person doesn’t have high blood pressure. Even mild servings of Celtic or Himalaya sea salts can help nourish the adrenals in certain susceptible individuals.
One of my favorite stress supplements is rhodiola. Chris Kilham writes about this herb, saying that it is “From Russia With Love”. Rhodiola requires harsh conditions for it to grow properly, so it is a hearty herb. In certain countries, they use it for intractable depression. The reason I list this one separately is because unlike some stress support herbs, this one dials down the feelings of stress while also providing energy. Whereas taking an herb such as holy basil in the evening may begin helping you feel much more relaxed in a half-hour or so, rhodiola would be something to take in the morning or at lunchtime to help insulate you against stress while also helping to invigorate you.
Another similar product is phosphatidylserine. It is commonly used for memory and depression, but seems to have a terrific ability to help a person handle stress more effectively. Like rhodiola, I take this product during the day with a meal, rather than in the evenings.
As with everything on Know the Cause, this article is for information and research purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. Please work with your licensed medical professional before changing anything in your health protocol.
Many of us begin feeling the stress crunch this time of year, but the effects of these holiday months can last throughout the year. Remember the basics of the Phase One lifestyle. Remember the stress-busting exercise. Remember the adrenal support and other stress-management supplements. And always remember that you’re a person that has a body, a soul, and a spirit. Nourish all three and you can expect to thrive both now and throughout the entire year.