Stress can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being and causing symptoms including weight gain, depression, skin issues, digestive problems and many more. Continued imbalance of stress hormones can wear your body down, triggering chronic fatigue.
What Causes Stress?
Factors that may contribute to stress include negative dietary and lifestyle habits (including over-consumption of stimulants such as sugar and caffeine), excessive exercise, injury, bereavement, marriage, divorce, debt, attitudes such as perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, shyness, insecurity and also perhaps isolation and loneliness.
Millions of years ago, our bodies were designed to react quickly to danger, just like wild animals, on constant alert to fight or run if threatened. Known as the ‘fight-or-flight response’, this is crucial for the survival of all animals – including humans.
The fight-or-flight response is incredibly clever and thoroughly efficient, providing everything your body needs to react swiftly in dangerous situations. Once the threat is out of the way (you’ve either won the battle or escaped the attacker), the adrenal glands stop pumping out hormones and your body returns to normal.
The only problem is that evolution is lagging a little behind modern-day life. These days, many of us live under chronic stress but this stress comes from deadlines, traffic jams or children having tantrums, rather than from spear-wielding attackers or sabre-tooth tigers. The body can’t distinguish between late trains, missed appointments, spiralling debt, family disputes and the truly life-threatening stress that it is geared up to challenge. So it reacts in exactly the same as way as it has always done – fight or flight.
Because stress as we know it today is almost continuous and comes without the natural release that either fighting or fleeing might provide, its effect on the body can be extreme, given that reactions designed to last for a five- to ten-minute period are operating for hours or days on end.
The importance of balanced stress hormones
- Maintain emotional and physical energy
- Strengthen your immune system against colds, coughs, flu and possibly more
- serious illness
- Improve metabolism, help reduce fat storage and control appetite
- Slow down the aging process, decrease PMS and menstrual difficulties
- Help with mood swings
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Maintain healthy blood pressure levels and lower LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels
What this test measures:
Your adrenals are responsible for the production of major stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA. These hormones are not released constantly throughout the day but are secreted in a cycle called the circadian rhythm, with the highest values being in the morning and the lowest at night. This test shows your pattern of cortisol over the day.
Who should take this test?
Anyone with any of the following symptoms should take this test:
- PMS or periods have stopped before they should have
- Cravings, weight gain or loss, fat around the middle, hungry all the time
- Increased number of minor infections and viruses (e.g. thrush, cystitis, colds, flu)
- Poor concentration and memory, insomnia, depression, loss of libido
- Headaches, moods swings, anxiety, panic attacks, nervousness and/or irritability
- Chronic fatigue, low energy
- Digestive disturbances (diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, stomach aches/pains)
- Increased sensitivity to food, alcohol intolerance
- Skin problems (eczema, psoriasis)
- High blood pressure
- Low libido
- We will organise for the lab to send you the test kit
- The instructions are detailed so please read carefully before proceeding.
- Six saliva samples are collected over one day at specific times which need to be adhered to. Please perform the test on a day when you will be available at these times to produce the samples.
- The test results will be returned to your nutritionist.
- The test results will be interpreted by your nutritionist at the consultation and then a personalised diet and supplement programme will be tailored to your needs.