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Updated: Apr 9, 2019

Stress effects many functions and wellbeing!
Effects of Stress on Body Systems

When we are stressed our digestion shuts down. It is a defence mechanism that has helped us to survive thousands of years ago when we used to fight against the beasts' of nature to survive. As it is a stress response can you identify anything more stressful than having to fight or run for your survival? In a scenario of survival all energy would need to be used up by the muscles that would help run to escape or to fight to survive! But as we human beings are intelligent creations we have learned to adopt this pattern of stress response to our modern life!

Do you ever walk around with feeling that you have a knot tied in your tummy?

Digestion shuts down with prolonged stress.
Knot tied in stomach

You're as healthy as your digestion gets!  Yes really.  You only notice this when things aren't working so well.  Many of us are fortunate enough to have a digestive system that keeps digesting our foods like clock work (touch wood).  You hardly notice it's there (when it is working optimally!) it just gets on with it's purpose and helps to nourish your body by breaking down the foods we eat and prepare them to be absorbed by the body.  But for some this scenario may not be this straight forward especially if you have been suffering from stress.

Some people have problems with their digestion from the word go(genetic predisposition) and some may have developed problems along the way.  This is very true for some children also and not only adults.

Although there may be various factors that can be investigated in any digestive complaint this needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. As we have all experienced different factors that may be contributing to the manifestation of ill health. 

One of the first factors affecting your digestion may be stress.  Are you experiencing stress on an ongoing basis?  Because if you are you need to know the first thing that will shut down in your body is your digestion.  When we are young our bodies take on a good hammering from various assaults that it deals with successfully. But as we age our bodies become depleted in resources in dealing with the usual stressors, especially if we have not looked after it.  The stress we are experiencing finally starts to show as cracks in out digestion.

When your digestion shuts down as a result of being over stressed you are not able to digest your foods properly as stomach acid secretions will become reduced due to stress just like it did thousands of years ago when we fought tigers and other wild animals for survival.  There are a few consequences to this you may not digest your food well as not enough stomach acid would result in not digesting your proteins well. This results in improperly broken down food proteins ending up in the intestines and causing havoc there and in the rest of the body!  This can manifest itself as food intolerances, bloating, stomach cramps and pains, feelings of sluggishness, depression, feeling rundown, water retention and puffiness.  You may in further instances experience other digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation or IBS type symptoms. All due to stress and shutting down of your digestion.

If you feel you are rundown due to ongoing stress and can't change your circumstances find resources to deal with it as in nourishing your body by giving it digestive support and perhaps some adrenal support as these are the powerhouses of dealing with continuous stress. Also look at lifestyle factors that may help you in the long run, meditation, mindfulness, Tai Chi, Qi-Gong and yoga type activities may be of great benefit to combat stress and support your wellbeing.

For children that are suffering from digestive problems it is always a good idea to look at the foods they are eating and provide them some nutrients that may help resolve some issues that may be present within the gut.  These may be enzyme deficiencies, influences of pathogenic organisms and lack of good bacteria.  Probiotics may be an excellent starting point to help children suffering with digestive complaints no matter how mild it may be.  Some strains of Probiotics have been widely researched and scientific studies have shown that they have been effective in resolving or supporting various digestive complaints.  Always ensure you buy your probiotics from reputable sources.  Here at New Hopes Nutrition I only recommend brands that have been scientifically researched and that have a proven track record. 

Can I help you deal with the effects of stress? Did you know that nutritional therapy with a variety of tools such as diagnostic laboratory testing and nutritional supplements may help alleviate many symptoms of stress and digestive distress? Do get in touch to find out your options.

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