Friday, February 27, 2015

How Chronic Stress Affects the Body, Part 3: Effects of Energy Drinks and Lack of Sleep

Update: 5/16/17: Since the writing of this post, I tested positive for an MTHFR mutation, which affects our body's ability to detoxify, create energy and balance hormones. Because of this mutation, over consumption of energy drinks made things worse, as you will read below. If you want to read more about MTHFR visit my new blog by clicking here: Journey Out of the Pain Fog and Fatigue

I remember feeling consistently run down, despite exercising. Needing the energy to keep up I turned to coffee drinks and always had an ample supply of Red Bulls, Monster Drinks, and Starbucks Double Shot drinks just to keep me going, but they eventually stopped working, and I kept having to up the doses just to get some type of effect, seeming to only cause more inflammation and make matters worse.

“Why did this happen?” I asked Dr. Boyd.
“As the adrenal glands begins to fatigue, the Cortisol levels needed to help provide the body with the energy it requires to combat stress, illness, infection, and bleeding, flat line, so you will no longer get the desired spikes when needed.  Your body begins craving things with sugars and caffeine in order to try to get the adrenals jump-started.  But the caffeine places additional stress on the adrenals. Until, eventually, the adrenals stop working all together. It is not recommended to drink the sugary energy drinks as they will only make matters worse, not to mention it will cause you to gain weight. A good option is to drink a large glass of water with a large freshly squeezed lemon.  You may add a small amount of Stevia for sweetness.  The lemon water will have a cleansing and detoxification effect, and it will also jump start your day. 
“At the expense of changing the subject, the whole cop and donuts stereotype is beginning to make perfect sense to me now, actually.” I chuckled. “Poor guys are consistently stressed.” I continued. 
“You mentioned that the adrenals get suppressed. Is there anything we can do to support the adrenals?” I asked.
“Certain supplements and amino acids help, but one of the most crucial things people tend to forsake is sleep. Sleep is a way to restore your body’s cells back to normal. Seven to eight hours is recommended so that your body can repair itself and recharge its batteries. Also, it is important to exercise at least 3 times a week and incorporate prayer or meditation into your daily routine to help calm your mind,” said Dr. Boyd.
Whether you believe in prayer or meditation, finding things to help calm your mind like Tai Chi, yoga, or other activities is extremely effective. Aside from writing, I had to examine what I enjoyed doing the most and MAKE time for it, even if it was on a small scale. For me, sitting outside my balcony and reading a book or working on a crossword puzzle was relaxing. My husband finds going to the gun range calming because he is focused on nothing but a target. I would imagine that anything that helps a person calm their mind and relax is important.

“Thank you, Dr. Boyd. I really appreciate your input,” I said. “I remember when I began to lose my sleep, and no matter how hard I tried, I would get but four hours of sleep a day, which led to a lot of irritability and mood swings. Another doctor started me on 5HTP and Melatonin, and it helped tremendously, but unfortunately, my hormone levels by this time were so destabilized that my body completely shut down, which led to an imbalance of testosterone levels, causing Andropause, a condition most commonly seen in men.”
Looking back, the excessive daily training in Krav Maga, five times a week, exacerbated the problem because Krav Maga’s goal is to train a person under stressful conditions. With that said, does this mean that anyone undergoing stress should never practice Krav Maga, or any high impact sport for that matter? Not at all. The type of stress that I am referring to is the CHRONIC type—excessive, nonstop, don’t have the time to ever decompress stress.  There are many health benefits to exercise, but people undergoing chronic stress may benefit more by balancing Krav Maga with other exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga, swimming, strength training, even walking or hiking.

This whole experience has required a complete lifestyle change on my part, and I’m learning new ways to find balance in my life. It’s not always easy. With a crime fighting husband and a rambunctious little one, managing a writing career, holding the fort, and finding time to do what I love can prove to be challenging. Now, I make it a point to make sure I find time to release that valve, and if I don’t, my loving husband goes out of his way to ensure that I get a break to focus on me. It’s not only needed, but extremely necessary and mandatory for not only the benefit of my body, but a happier family. I now force, yes FORCE myself to get at least myself to bed at a time that will allow me a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. It’s amazing how much energy you get just doing that. I used to be of the, “I’ll rest when I’m dead," mentality, and while that worked when I was younger, I found that as I aged I was working myself to that grave a lot sooner.

It’s not easy saying this, but I’ve regained much of my weight back, and have since started treatment for bioidentical hormone therapy, plant-based pellets called BIOTE, which changed my life from night to day. Most men with this condition are placed on T-shots (testosterone shots). Unless I wanted to grow a nice beard like a Chia pet and a full set of chest hair, my body couldn’t handle that large amount of testosterone found in those shots.  The BIOTE restored me with the hormones I needed in my body to reach a state of balance. I am now able to workout every day, but it’s balanced with strength training, walking, yoga, cycling and of course, can’t neglect my second child: Krav Maga. 

It was a gradual process, started at 20 minutes, moved to 30, 45, and now I am able to do 1hr of a cardio bag workout, trying to be conscious of not over doing it, hard to do, cause I will literally work through pain to the point where my husband will come up and remove whatever it is I’m lifting if I so much as grunt or grimace. Ugh! Annoying, yes. I hate when he does that, but it’s for my own good. All in baby steps so as not to start taxing those adrenals again. Because of my condition, I don’t believe I’m going to participate in high intensity exercise on a daily basis again. I’ll leave that for the young-ins. My goal now is to lose the weight, manage stress, work on my PTSD, and perfect my technique. It’s a new beginning. I’ve been very blessed to have another fresh start where I can wake up feeling like I’m ready to conquer the world and not like I got run down by a semi. The best part about being at the bottom of the pit and clawing your way out is that there is only one way to go but up.

If you enjoyed reading this, and would like to get updates about my next posts, please feel free to subscribe or visit again. Until then, I wish you peace, love, and blessings!

*Dr. James Todd Boyd is an expert in Chiropractic Neuroscience, specializing in Neurological Stress Reduction Therapy (NSRT) through the use of laser induction therapy or laser acupuncture to help bring the neurological/ immune/ endocrine systems back into balance. NSRT combines biofeedback, laser induction therapy, and nutrition.  He has seen much success through this treatment. Allergies have been very responsive with NSRT.  They also have the first documented case of having successfully treated a patient with a severe red meat allergy after being bitten by the Lone Star Tick. Until now, there had been no known cure.  They regularly see patients with adrenal fatigue, eczema, and even autism with incredible results by simply using the NSRT.  Detecting stress and then changing the way the body responds to that stress is key to helping the body get to a state of true health and wellness. You may reach him at his website or his new practice at the following:
Integra Wellness Center
1040 Edgewater Corporate Prkway
Indian Land, SC

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