Stress is not only a common denominator among just about everyone living in the 21st Century, but it is also a natural and necessary survival mechanism. When you are subjected to any sort of threat, physical or emotional, an acute stress response triggers a cascade of temporary biological changes that heighten your ability to either fight or flee.
The fight or flight response is a deeply entrenched instinct shared by animals of all species, including humans. But when you repeatedly or continually subject yourself to stressful situations, the biological changes that were meant to be temporary remain in a heightened state. Over time, chronic stress can cause serious damage to your physical and mental health, and it can even impact your relationships.
Chemical Changes Triggered by Chronic and Acute Stress
The stress response is triggered by hormones, particularly cortisol and adrenaline, in response to a perceived threat. Whether you are staring down a grizzly bear in the woods or hustling to meet a work deadline, the stress response is fundamentally the same. Your brain quickly activates an alert system throughout your body that prepares it to take action.
The initial chemical response to acute stress begins with the activation of limbic pathways that stimulate the sympathetic–adrenal–medullary axis and the renin-angiotensin system. Those systems give you a jolt of energy and heighten your senses, making you hyper-aware of your surroundings. Neuropeptides, adrenaline and other hormones that regulate cardiovascular and metabolic functions begin to flood your system. Your heart rate goes up, along with your respiratory rate, and glucose is released for extra energy to either fight or flee.
In a normal response to acute stress, your body chemistry quickly returns to its resting state, once the threat is resolved. Hormone levels return to normal, you heart and respiratory rates slow, and your heightened sense of awareness subsides. But when stress is ongoing and remains unresolved, chemical mediators of stress remain elevated. Over time, chronic stress can compromise your immune system and damage your tissues and vital organs at the cellular level.
Symptoms of Chronic Stress
Some people become so accustomed to functioning in a state of chronic stress that they are not aware of how much it is affecting them. But ongoing stress takes a toll on your brain, reducing cognitive function and affecting your mood and behavior. Over time, chronic stress can reduce your productivity and interfere with your human relationships and quality of life.
Some symptoms of chronic stress include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Grouchiness and irritability
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulty staying mentally focused
- Disorganized thinking
- Disrupted sleep and insomnia
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, especially at night
- Digestive problems, including constipation or diarrhea
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Chronic anxiety and depression
- Reduced sex drive
- Frequent infections and illness
- Tight achy muscles in the neck and shoulders
These are just a handful of the many signs and symptoms of chronic stress. Recognizing that you are under a state of chronic stress is the first step toward resolving it.
Systems Affected by Chronic Stress
Ongoing stress affects systems throughout your body, slowly eroding your health and speeding up the aging process. Biological systems impacted by chronic stress include:
- Nervous System:
- Musculoskeletal System:
- Digestive System:
- Respiratory System:
- Cardiovascular System:
- Endocrine System:
Chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer and obesity. Digestive issues, skin disorders and reproductive dysfunction are all associated with chronic stress.
Chronic Stress and Mitochondrial Function
Mitochondria are tiny organelles found in every cell of your body. Mitochondria perform over 500 life-sustaining functions, playing a vital role in every biological process. They are also considered powerhouses for ATP production, the energy molecule that keeps things up and running. Mitochondrial organelles are unique in that they have their own genome and DNA, called mtDNA, that is separate from the DNA found in your cells’ nuclei.
Exposure to chronic stress can cause mitochondria to recalibrate on the molecular level, interfering with their function. Long-term chronic stress can diminish mitochondrial function and damage mtDNA. Failure to manage stress and get it under control can destroy the number and size of mitochondria, speed up aging and potentially lead to premature death.
NAD+ to Repair Damage from Chronic Stress
If you recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress in your own life, it is never too late to proactively address it. Certain lifestyle changes can help get stress under control and begin to reverse cellular damage.
- Regular exercise stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis, promotes circulation, balances hormones and promotes restful and restorative sleep.
- Meditation and deep breathing can help you relax and restore your body to a healthful resting state. • A whole foods plant-based diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to repair tissues and normalize body chemistry.
- A whole foods plant-based diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to repair tissues and normalize body chemistry.
- NAD+ IV therapy can help repair damaged DNA, restore mitochondria and promote healthy cellular function throughout your body. NAD+ is a naturally occurring coenzyme derived from Vitamin B3 (niacin). Because NAD+ is a nutrient and not a drug, it has no harmful side effects and provides multiple health benefits. When delivered by IV drip, NAD+ can be a powerful mediator of stress and its damaging effects on your health.
NAD+ Stress Relief Therapy in NYC
Learning to manage stress is fundamental to good health and peak performance. Mitigating the negative biological effects of chronic stress and reversing cellular damage can be life-saving. It is never too late to stop the vicious cycle of chronic stress and declining health.
Contact the healthcare specialists at Advanced Cryo NYC today, and schedule your first NAD+ IV therapy session. Relax in our spa-like clinic as potent NAD+ infuses your bloodstream, drip-by-drip, to be distributed to cells throughout your body. Each session lasts about an hour, but its benefits can last a lifetime.
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Mariotti, Agnese. “The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain–body communication.” Future science OA 1.3 (2015).
Picard, Martin, and Bruce S. McEwen. “Psychological stress and mitochondria: a systematic review.” Psychosomatic medicine 80.2 (2018): 141.