August 16, 2021 | Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition
Fear and stress levels have escalated again in recent weeks with the ongoing pandemic. Government officials and media personnel provide updates multiple times of the day on virus concerns and vaccine statistics. State and local governments, hospital and medical systems, businesses of all types, athletic organizations, and schools have issued statements about mandates, vaccinations, and the Delta variant surge.
More stress is found in concerns with travel, unemployment, housing policies, government spending and deficits, and concerns with violence and division. Issued guidance, recommendations and mandates can change daily with mixed messages. Then add in talk shows and celebrity viewpoints along with family and friends’ opinions and differences. It all adds stress. Life is stressful.
In the National Library of Medicine, there are well-over one million studies on stress – any type of stress. Since the pandemic started, there are approximately 11,000 studies focused on mental health and another 8000 studies have been written on stress, COVID and the toll that it has taken on health. You will likely agree, the last year and a half has been extraordinary and stressful.
The SARS-2 virus is not going away. There will be more variants even after the Delta variant. There is no research that can foretell how well current vaccines will perform against variants. Other germs and life events are also present today and will be tomorrow. Rather than letting these concerns provoke additional stress, determine what you can do to support stress tolerance for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Building better stress tolerance for yourself can help you serve and support others. Here are some insights and reminders that I hope you find helpful to take charge of your health.
Physical, mental, and emotional wear and tear of daily life creates stress. Biochemically speaking, it creates oxidative stress. Scientists describe oxidative stress as “a physiological state in which systemic levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) overwhelm the cellular antioxidant buffering capacity, eventually resulting in damage to cellular macromolecules”. Simply stated, stress creates large amounts of free radicals, which must be quenched by antioxidants, otherwise damage to cells occur.
Acute, overwhelming and/or uncompensated chronic, low-level oxidative stress works against health and vitality. You can, however, support your body with a healthy diet and lifestyle that provides necessary antioxidants to buffer against these ongoing processes.
Antioxidants for Your Brain
Your brain needs antioxidants to help with stress tolerance, cognitive and mood support as you manage daily duties and the barrage of life stress. Children and seniors need support too! Fisetin,omega-3 DHA, phosphatidylserine,r-alpha-lipoic acid,tocotrienols,l-theanine, glutathione, B vitamins,magnesium, and many other nutrients are essential to feed your busy brain during daily pressures and trials.
Antioxidants for Your Immune System
Provide daily antioxidant support for your immune system, as it talks directly with your brain and affects neuro-immuno-endocrine stress tolerance, susceptibility, and inflammation management. Nutrients that provide antioxidant support and quench free radicals like ROS include glutathione,vitamin D,vitamin C,vitamin A,zinc,selenium, quercetin, curcumin/turmeric, probiotics, lactoferrin, cinnamon,melatonin, and many others. Each nutrient plays multiple roles in immune functionality and management of oxidative stress.
Other antioxidant nutrients like astaxanthin,curcumin/turmeric,carnosine, and pterostilbene help autophagy or cellular clean-up duties, help modulate immune activities, and/or manage cytokine production for neuro-immuno-endocrine stress management. Glutathione and vitamin D are exceptionally important to have adequate tissue levels. They are used by every cell in your body and involved with vast activities and gene signals.
Antioxidants work together as a team. They help with the production of antioxidant systems and recycle each other until they are used up. Glutathione is a master antioxidant, or an antioxidant system, essential for immune and brain vitality. Several nutrients listed above help make glutathione and recycle it. Glutathione can also be supplemented.
Stress tolerance and antioxidant status affects your ability to manage blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin and leptin, weight management, sleep and repair, immune tolerance and risks, cellular damage and gene mutations, cognitive and mood stability. It also affects mitochondria function, thyroid and adrenal health, detoxification, pain tolerance, etc. and simply aging well.
If your workload, lifestyle, life events and/or diet have left you depleted, or have less than optimal antioxidant status, start now and support your body. Start with a diet rich in a wide variety of colored fruits and vegetables, and then add in a variety of supplement support depending on the depth of your needs. Use nutritional support with other means of support, like prayer, safe family/friend time, exercise, breath, Forest Bathing, vagus nerve activities, gardening, pets, sleep and rest, counseling, and playtime.