Elizabeth Blumberg: Hi! I am Elizabeth Blumberg and today we're talking about understanding the connection between nutrition and stress. Now I would like to help you have a better sense of what signs and symptoms are associated with stress.
When you think about being under stress would you typically assume that your metabolism would speed up or slow down? Well, it actually does both. In an acute stage of stress our metabolism might actually speed up for a very brief period of time. But in fact, it's the chronic stress that can lead to metabolic slow down.
So first, one of the signs and symptoms that you might experience, if you are under stress is difficulty in loosing weight, despite efforts with making dietary as well as exercise changes. This is a very important area to realize that exist, because most people when they try to loose weight, they think it's just a matter of calories in and calories out. But this is where the adrenal gland plays a role.
Another symptom that you might be experiencing includes areas of your hormones that might be out of balance. Women that experience PMS, in fact, often time are experiencing various forms of adrenal insufficiency. The reason is because progesterone, estrogen are actually used up under times of stress. So this leaves us with the imbalance of the hormones and therefore the symptoms. Another sign or symptom would be chronic fatigue. Feeling tired throughout the entire course of the day regardless of what time it is. Even waking up in the morning feeling unrefreshed. If you're having problems sleeping at night, insomnia could be a sign that your adrenal gland is in fact overactive in the evening.
And lastly, some signs and symptoms that we experience on a daily basis. Headaches, mood swings, and even sugar cravings can be a telltale sign that your body is under stress. As I mentioned earlier, the stress response involves fat and sugar being released into the blood streams. Now again in modern day times, we don't utilize this fat and sugar. When sugar is released, the hormone insulin is stimulated in response. Insulin is a vehicle or a carrier agent for your body to utilize sugar at the cellular level.
Unfortunately, overtime the the more this mechanism is kicked into play, the less sensitive our cells become at utilizing insulin in sugar. This leaves us in a state of what's called insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. This in fact is a pre-diabetic state. Now, how can you make sure that you're not at risk for this? Well, there are various forms of test that you can to do. Make sure that you have your doctor complete such as a Hemoglobin A1c test, a glucose test as well as insulin testing.
But beyond that, there are other forms of testing that can actually help to assess the status of your adrenal glands. One such test is called the Adrenal Stress Index Test. It measures levels of cortisol throughout the day. At the beginning of the day your cortisol level should be high and gradually decrease toward the end of the day.
In stressed individuals often times, this graph is actually the reverse. This test also tells us DHEA, progesterone levels as well as insulin. So it really gives us a good picture of the other hormones that are working in your system. In addition to testing the adrenal gland, we can also test the metabolism. We use a very sophisticated test called a Resting Metabolic Rate or a BodyGem device. It measures the max VO2 output, which includes the amount of calories that you body expends within 24 hours period. We usually administer this test in a fasting state, with no caffeine and no exercise.
The test usually takes about 10 minutes and it's done in a very relaxed setting. When the test is finished, you've an exact idea as to how many calories your body is burning, and whether you're efficient or not.
Next, I'm going to help you better understand the tools that you can use through diet and nutrition in an effort to reduce stress levels and ensure optimal health.