Stress has always been an unavoidable part of life. Whether positive or negative, it is the body’s reaction to any situation that requires a physical, mental, or emotional response. The human body reacts to occasional times of stress by releasing epinephrine (a hormone and neurotransmitter known as adrenaline) and cortisol (a corticosteroid hormone) to help you spring into action and conquer the situation at hand. When the source of stress has passed, adrenaline quickly returns to normal. It is essential to rest and restore following a stressful event; otherwise, cortisol levels tend to remain elevated.
The Negative Effects of Stress and Cortisol
Unfortunately, stress has become chronic in today’s world. For many people, constant, unrelenting stress is the norm rather than the exception. The ever-increasing demands that come with managing our personal lives, family’s lives, and careers bombard us with seemingly never-ending “to-do” lists. Even when our exhausting tasks are complete, concerns about the economy and our financial security, the COVID-19 pandemic, protests, increased violence, November elections and politics, the rising unemployment rate, and the list goes on. It all looms ever-present, causing subtle yet profound pressure. When chronic stress continually forces the adrenal glands to sustain elevated cortisol levels, a cause and effect loop of mental, emotional and physical health challenges ensue.
Without a period of relaxation to counterbalance the body’s chemical response to stress, being susceptible to disease is inevitable. Numerous emotional and physical health conditions connect to stress, including weight gain, depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, and immune system disturbances. Stress affects the skin (rashes, hives and dermatitis), the gastrointestinal system (GERD, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis), and contributes to degenerative neurological disorders. Not only does stress aggravate any existing health condition, but more and more research is also showing that it may be their originating cause.
Stress and the Immune System
Long-term stress weakens the immune system and prevents the proliferation of disease-fighting killer cells. When chronically stressed, the immune cells are bathed in molecules that essentially tell them to stop fighting. You see, the brain and the immune system are intimately linked and capable of reciprocal communication. When cortisol levels remain elevated, the brain sends a message that the immune response is no longer needed, causing it to shut down. Therefore, in chronic stress situations, your immune system cannot respond to bacterial or viral infections and disease in general.
Learning to reduce and manage the stress in your life is essential and begins by identifying your stressors and observing your mental and physical reactions. How you react to stressful situations is determined by how you perceive them. Modifying your thoughts and perceptions can change a life of stress and discomfort to one of challenge and excitement.
Bringing your focus to your successes and achievements can empower you with the confidence you need to handle and overcome stressful times more gracefully. Stress management techniques can activate your body’s relaxation response, creating a calm, relaxed state. These include the following:
• deep breathing exercises
• listening to soothing music
• positive imagery
Moderate exercise and dietary improvements are also helpful. Stress depletes your body of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Be sure to eat fresh vegetables, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and protein. While chronic stress often results in insomnia, getting plenty of restorative sleep is among the most important steps in relieving the damaging effects of elevated cortisol levels in the body.
Stress and Women’s Hormone Health
Women are especially prone to the harmful effects of stress with an inherent tendency to care for others while neglecting their own needs. They are particularly vulnerable during perimenopause and menopause when changing hormones have already begun to impact the adrenal glands, an intricate part of the endocrine system. Most women who experience the uncomfortable emotional and physical symptoms of “the change” have previously experienced times of prolonged emotional or physical stress. Progesterone, a calming hormone, helps ease your stress response. Unfortunately, most women severely lack progesterone.
Cortisol literally “steals” progesterone from the adrenal glands. If your adrenals are continually releasing cortisol into the bloodstream, your body will take any available progesterone and divert it to meet that demand. Because cortisol and progesterone compete for common receptors in the cells, cortisol impairs progesterone activity and interferes with other critical female hormones’ actions.
Progesterone is the precursor for testosterone, estrogen and cortisol. If too much progesterone gets diverted for cortisol, there isn’t enough to make the testosterone needed for a woman’s sexual response, and more, creating a domino effect of troublesome symptoms.
Progesterone is essential for hormonal balance, yet it is increasingly deficient in women of all ages. Progesterone is the only hormone that converts into other vital hormones to balance the entire endocrine system. It nurtures the adrenal glands and has a very calming effect on the nervous system. It reduces your risk of osteoporosis, converts fat into energy, metabolizes glucose, and performs many other vital cell functions.
Common symptoms of insufficient progesterone levels include:
• an inability to cope with stress
• weight gain
• low libido
• heavy and prolonged menstrual cycles
• compromised thyroid and adrenal function, and a host of potentially serious health conditions.
Natural progesterone is identical to the human progesterone molecule produced by your body. Although its name sounds similar, progesterone is quite different from progestin found in prescription medications like hormone replacement therapy (HRT), birth control pills, and other pharmaceutical hormone drugs. Unlike these synthetic, risk-laden chemicals, natural progesterone boasts many positive health benefits while remaining free of side effects.
Organic Excellence Progesterone Creams
According to the world-renowned Dr. John R. Lee M.D., the most effective method of restoring progesterone levels is with the proper supplementation of trans-dermal (topical) natural progesterone. Organic Excellence Progesterone Creams are formulated to the specifications outlined in Dr. Lee’s best-selling book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause,” and contain approximately 500 mg. of natural USP progesterone per ounce.
Organic Excellence has two natural progesterone creams for women designed to meet your specific needs. Our Feminine Balance Therapy without phytoestrogens is excellent for PMS, PCOS, and perimenopause. Balance Plus Therapy with phytoestrogens is ideal for women in menopause and beyond. Each is available in either a 2 oz. Jar or a 3 oz. Metered-dose pump. Most women notice positive results soon after beginning the Organic Excellence USP Bio-identical Progesterone Cream.
Men and USP Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream
Masculine Balance Therapy is uniquely formulated to help enhance testosterone levels and regulate the production of estrogen in men. The added benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil and Saw Palmetto work synergistically with progesterone to naturally assist hormonal balance in the male body.
Men produce less progesterone with age, causing an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, resulting in estrogen dominance. There is a connection between an increase in estrogen levels and prostate cancer, which is more prevalent among men over 50. Studies indicate that regular use of natural progesterone cream has shown a decrease in prostate-specific antigen in men and stops the progression of lesions related to this disease.
Yes, stress is an unavoidable part of life. You can help your body avoid the harsh chemical reaction to stress, restore your frazzled nerves, and enjoy calm and balance in your life once again. By, utilizing Organic Excellence USP Bio-identical Progesterone Cream, having a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and practicing simple stress management techniques are some ways to feel happy and healthy.
Keep those habits healthy!
Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. Healthy Habit Health Foods does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.