In response to a stressful situation, our body secretes the stress hormone cortisol, which alters our physiological response. Cortisol helps us cope with acute stressful situation by increasing blood levels for energy mobilization, increasing appetite, converting fat to energy, suppressing reproductive system, and stimulating immune organs to cope with bodily injury.
However, if the level of cortisol is chronically elevated, it results in a number of negative and destructive effects, including: visceral fat deposits, memory impairment, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, mood swings, changes in sleeping habits, various digestive issues, neuromuscular complaints as well as immune system impairment – leading to autoimmune disease and increased metabolic disturbances.
Besides making us much less able to enjoy life and much more unpleasant to deal with, chronic stress can cause a cascading series of physiological response in our systems that lead to serious health issues in long run:
- Nutrient deficiencies due to decrease in nutrient absorption and increase in excretion of certain minerals
- Increased chances of cardiovascular disease by increasing LDL, triglycerides, high blood pressure and aggregation of blood platelet
- Reduced good gut flora, which can lower immunity and cause digestive issues
- Reduced metabolism and increased fat storage, leading to weight gain
- Decreased healing ability
- Increased oxidative stress which increases premature aging
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