Through a complicated network of hormonal interactions, prolonged stress results in a raging appetite, metabolic decline, loads of belly fat, and a loss of hard-won, metabolically active muscle tissue. In other words, stress makes us soft, flabby, and much older than we truly are!
According to Mary Dallman, a professor of physiology at the University of California who studies the effects of stress on appetite and obesity, two predominant endocrine hormones, cortisol, and insulin, heavily influence caloric intake by acting on the brain. The stress hormone cortisol activates a strong response in the brain to match our perceived stress with a desire to eat comfort foods—the tasty treats we associate with pleasant experiences, often from childhood. Unfortunately, consuming comfort foods, which are typically high in carbohydrates and fat, can cause a resulting spike in our insulin level, leading to the accumulation of belly fat.
In addition to increasing our desire for comfort foods, cortisol directs our body to break down our muscle tissue for fuel to escape the perceived stressful event (real or imagined), In contrast, adrenaline released in the immediate response to stress, draws on our fat stores for energy during stressful situations for escape. Prolonged stress can, therefore, lead to muscle wasting and high blood sugar if the energy is not consumed simply because your body is struggling to adapt. When these conditions take over, stress becomes extremely destructive to your metabolism, body composition, and wellness.
Since symptoms of stress vary widely, pinpointing whether or not it’s the main culprit behind your emotional eating or carb cravings can be difficult. The classic symptoms of stress, however, include a tendency to wake between 2 and 4 am headaches, salt cravings, digestive concerns, anxiety, muscle tension, and more.
Many of us under stress may also become prone to compromised immunity, increased risk of infections, or cognitive deficits, however, this is where herbal medicines, especially those with adaptogenic and immune-supporting properties which support healthy adrenal gland function can come into play. According to studies, Ashwagandha, Relora, Schishandra, and other plant adaptogens like those found in Clear Stress have been shown to provide support during acute and chronic stress. Each herbal ingredient in this formula has its own unique benefits as well. For example, Schisandra has been shown to have neuroprotective and cognitive enhancement effects (link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29136774/).
Collectively, plant adaptogens can support symptoms of fatigue, enhance endurance, support healthy immunity, improve sleep, aid focus and concentration as well as support normal mental and emotional well-being.
As the fall is upon us and the winter season is approaching, it’s important to consider that our hormones change with the seasons too. With less sunlight and cooler temps, we become prone to lower serotonin and higher cortisol. You can offer your brain, immune system, and body overall valuable, natural protection for seasonal changes that can sometimes be a challenge with Clear Stress.