Clinics and hospitals, HEALTH

Stress: knowing it in order to live with it and reduce its impact. Ep. 1 "Hormones

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In today's society, stress has become a ubiquitous phenomenon, affecting people of all ages and lifestyles.

It is defined as a physiological response of the body to situations perceived as threatening or challenging. This response, although essential for human survival, can have detrimental effects when prolonged over time. Chronic stress has been linked to numerous health conditions, including alterations in body composition and hormonal imbalances.

David BaezaIntegrative clinical nutritionist, specialist in nutrition applied to hormone management, digestive health and body recomposition, in charge of the nutrition area at Neolife Marbellawill guide us to identify and deal with stress in three episodes, to better understand how stress impacts our physical and hormonal well-being.

In this first episode, we will explore the underlying mechanisms by which stress affects our bodies, from the increase in certain hormones such as cortisol to changes in our body composition, such as fat accumulation and loss of muscle mass. We will also discuss effective strategies to mitigate these effects, emphasising the importance of a holistic approach that includes proper nutrition, exercise and stress management techniques.

Stress, although often unavoidable, can be managed effectively. Through this article, we will learn to recognise its signs and symptoms, understand its effects on the body and discover practical, evidence-based ways to counteract it, thereby improving our health and quality of life.

The human body, in its wondrous complexity, responds to stress by activating several hormones, the most prominent of which is cortisol, known as the stress hormone. This hormone, produced by the adrenal glands, plays a crucial role in numerous bodily functions, including regulating metabolism, immune response and helping the body to handle stress. However, long-term elevated cortisol levels can have significant adverse effects on our health.

Elevated cortisol, which is characteristic of chronic stress, can cause a number of hormonal imbalances. For example, it can interfere with the production and functioning of insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. This not only increases the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but can also lead to cravings for foods high in sugar and fat, contributing to a vicious cycle of stress and poor eating habits.

In addition, chronic stress can affect thyroid hormones, which are essential for metabolism. An imbalance in these hormones can result in changes in weight, energy levels and overall body functioning. Stress also affects the production of sex hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone, which can have an impact on libido, reproduction, and bone and muscle health.

It is important to note that everyone reacts to stress differently, and therefore hormone imbalances can vary significantly between individuals. This variability underlines the need for a personalised approach to managing stress and its hormonal effects.

In clinical practice at Neolife, a holistic and personalised approach is taken to assessing and treating stress-related hormonal imbalances. This approach focuses not only on diet and lifestyle, but also on a thorough understanding of the patient's individual physiology, ensuring treatment that is both effective and sustainable in the long term.