Stress comes at us from all directions. Some from the stimulating, toxic, crazy world we live in… and some we unknowingly bring on ourselves. Read on to learn some surprising ways you might be setting off your stress response.

lieu-cac-quy-ong-co-dang-lam-hai-tinh-trung-1

Introduction

Don’t be scared about everything that activates your stress pathway.  It’s natural and healthy for it to be activated moderately. That said, it’s certainly not supposed to be activated constantly.

What we generally think of as stress comes under the category of psychological or social stress (R).

Psychological/Social stress includes worry about income and other job related stress (R).

However, stress comes in innumerable forms. It can be internal or external. It can be positive stress or negative stress. It can be physical or emotional. It can be due to our own decisions, or totally out of our control. No matter how it comes packaged, stress has a huge impact on us: body, mind, and spirit.

Anxiety can be self-perpetuating.  Chronic stress increases CRH receptors in the brain (paraventricular nucleus), which makes you even more susceptible to the harmful effects of stress (R).

Individual Variations in Stress

group_344191121

Everyone is affected differently by stress.

Some genes, such as MTHFR, Cannabanoid genes (CNR1), COMT, and MAOA can change the way stress affects us. There are many more such genes that can be found on SelfDecode.

Some conditions/syndromes can also affect the way we respond to stress.

  • Autistic children release higher amounts of cortisol in response to psychological stress and it takes longer for their cortisol to return to normal (R).
  • In IBS, CRH causes significantly higher ACTH release compared to people without IBS(R).

Lifestyle Choices Can Raise Your Stress Response

headache_142814494

  1. Intense prolonged exercise – Increases cortisol in healthy males (R).
  2. Strenuous Breathing – Raises IL-6 and IL-1 in healthy volunteers (R).
  3. Long commutes – Increase cortisol (humans) (R).
  4. Low Power Postures – Body positions that make you appear less confident/dominant (e.g. slumped shoulders) increased cortisol in male and female subjects (R).
  5. Excess Alcohol consumption – Ongoing consumption of alcohol raises cortisol levels in the body (R).
  6. Smoking – Even just a 2 cigarettes (R).
  7. Marijuana/Pot/THC  – Dose dependently raises cortisol in human studies (R).
  8. Opioid withdrawal –  Withdrawal from chronic morphine induced the HPA axis in rat studies (R)
  9. Sexual stimuli – Increases cortisol in some women, but decreases it in most women (R).

Sleep Disruptions Raise Your Stress Response

shutterstock_383318557

  1. Reduced Sleep  – A loss of sleep for just one night leads to higher cortisol levels the next evening (RR2).
  2. Poor quality sleep – Poor quality sleep activates the HPA axis (stress response) (R).
  3. Staying up late – Cortisol goes up when we are awake during normal sleep times (R).
  4. Circadian Rhythm Disruptions – An Airline cabin crew who had chronic circadian dysruptions had higher salivary cortisol (R)…… See how to keep to a Circadian Rhythm.

Stimulants Raise Your Stress Response

  1. Caffeine – Increases cortisol (humans) (R).
  2. Nicotine – Increases  Acetylcholine, which increases ADH, ACTH, Cortisol (humans) (R).
  3. Yohimbine – Increases cortisol (humans) (R)

Dietary Factors Can Raise Your Stress Response

shutterstock_324768497

  1. Eating activates the stress response (especially in men) (R) – mostly caused by VIP (R).
  2. Protein restriction/Leucine deprivation – Increases CRH and stimulates the stress response in mice (R).
  3. Excess sodium – Increases cortisol (R).
  4. Excess omega-6 – Can raise inflammation, setting off the stress response (R).
  5. Severe calorie restriction – Increases cortisol (R).
  6. Fasting (R) – Modern Ramadan practices in Saudi Arabia are associated with excess evening cortisol (and increased insulin resistance). Other kinds of fasting might decrease CRH and cortisol (shown in rats) (R).
  7. Body fat/Obesity – Fat tissue produces cortisol from cortisone (R).

Nutrient Factors Can Raise Your Stress Response

  1. Zinc inadequacy – Caused increased susceptibility to stress in rat studies (R).
  2. Magnesium inadequacy – Increases cortisol and HPA response in human and animal studies (R, R2R3).
  3. Vitamin A inadequacy – Increases cortisol and induces the HPA axis in rat studies (R, R2).
  4. Potassium loading  – Increases ACTH and cortisol in humans (R).

Underlying Health Challenges Can Raise Your Stress Response

diabetes_323905706

  1. InflammationProstaglandins (R), Eicosanoids (R), IL-1b, TNF, IL-6 and Histamine (R).
  2. Arachidonic Acid (R) – from excess omega-6 (R).
  3. Pain – Raises cortisol in human studies (R).
  4. Gut permeability  – When your gut is permeable, bacteria/endotoxins are capable of passing to your gut lymph node, liver and spleen, which causes inflammation, and raise cortisol (R).
  5. Hypoglycemia/Low blood sugar – Due to a bad diet, insulin resistance, or a hypothalamic problem (R).
  6. Bacterial, Viral, or other infections – Cause inflammation, setting off a stress response (R, R2).
  7. Physical trauma/Injuries/Surgery – Cause inflammation, setting off a stress response (R).
  8. Platelet Activating Factor – Activates the HPA axis by increasing CRH (R).
  9. ROS/Oxidative Stress – Increases cortisol in (cellular models) (R).

Hormonal Factors Can Raise Your Stress Response

  1. Estrogen (cellular model) (R).
  2. Pregnenolone – Converts to cortisol and stimulates the HPA axis (rats) (R).
  3. DHEA – Induces CRH and Vasopressin synthesis and release, enhancing ACTH and activating the HPA axis (rats) (R)
  4. Leptin – Activates stress response (mice) (R).
  5. Ghrelin – Activates HPA axis (R).
  6. Thyroid hormones – Activates HPA axis (rat) (R).
  7. Vasopressin – Releases CRH (rats) (R) and ACTH (humans and animals)(R).
  8. CCK – Increases CRH, ACTH, and cortisol (humans) (R, R2).
  9. VIP – Raises CRH (R).
  10. Angiotensin II/ACE – Stimulates the HPA axis (humans) (R, R2).

Certain Peptides Can Raise Your Stress Response

  1. Orexins – Increase CRH and ACTH (humans and animals) (R).
  2. Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) – Stimulates the HPA axis (rats) (R).
  3. BDNF – Stimulates the HPA axis (rats) (R).

Certain Neurotransmitters Can Raise Your Stress Response

shutterstock_251677513

  1. Dopamine (D1/D2) – Increases CRH in cells (R). – Contradictory (mice) (R).
  2. Serotonin (specifically 5-HT2CRs)Serotonin increased CRH and its neuronal activity and CRH (and corticosterone release) (rats) (RR2).
  3. Acetylcholine (R) Chronic SSRI usage increases CRH, but decreases ACTH and therefore cortisol (R), but fluoxetine (a specific SSRI), on the other hand, decreases CRH (rats) (R).
  4. Noradrenaline – Increases CRH (rats) (R).
  5. Glutamate – Activates the HPA axis (rats) (R).

Environmental Factors Can Raise Your Stress Response

sun_101457976

  1. Noise -Induces an HPA axis response (rats) (R).
  2. Sun/UVB (locally, on skin) – Induces skin cells to produce and release CRH through the PKA pathway (R).
  3. Light  – Enhances stress response (R, R2).
  4. Smells, such as pheromones – stimulates the hypothalamus and stress response (R).
  5. Cold (R) or Hot (R) temperatures (humans). Chronic cold increases CRH receptors, caused by dopamine (rats) (R).
  6. EMFs – Raise stress levels (rats) (R).
  7. High altitudes – Causes low oxygen (hypoxia), increasing our stress response (rat, cellular, humans) (R).

Toxicity Factors Can Raise Your Stress Response

  1. Heavy metals – Cadmium, but likely many others (humans) (R).
  2. Mercury in fish (humans) (R).
  3. PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) (R).

Internal Psychological Chatter?

shutterstock_127898261

There are some attitudinal factors that may increase the stress rsponse, but they don’t have scientific references.   So here’s a list of things to watch out for if your nervous system is overactive.

Control Issues

  • Trying to control an outcome

Self Improvement

  • Trying to change yourself
  • Trying to exert your will power
  • Trying to increase your motivation 
  • Making yourself do something you don’t want to
  • Making goals 
  • Having ambitions or trying to get somewhere

Philosophy

  • Having a strong attachment – to an idea, object, person, etc…
  • Thinking about the past or future
  • Taking life too seriously

Feelings

  • Feeling fearful
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling frustrated
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling jealous
  • Feeling hateful
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Feeling rejected 

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars 0 Total Votes Loading...
TWEET
0

3 COMMENTS

  • brandonadams

    Thanks.

    Any thoughts on the use of isolation or noise-canceling headphones to reduce stress levels? (For someone in poor health: CIRS, Lyme, etc and very irritable)

  • Benny

    Sorry to say it like this but when I read this article, I feel like WHOLE LIFE is a stress. You eat ? you generate cortisol, you don’t eat ? you generate cortisol. You breathe ? Oxidative stress wouldn’t be if there was no oxygen. Life wouldn’t be without cortisol. I think we need to take global moves about stress and not finetuning that precisely, you’ll spend your life stressing about “sh*t, I got a reward, dopamine raises stress, I shouldn’t be eating blueberries cause they raise BDNF, and BDNFstimulates the HPA axis “

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      The stress response is critical and needed. We just don’t need added stressors.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *