Table of Contents
What is the chronic resistance stage of stress?
The chronic resistance stage of stress is the most well-documented destructive stage of stress where stressors lead to negative outcomes and pathophysiology (distress). Simply put, the chronic stage is the long-term continuation of the resistance stage of stress.
Unfortunately, the chronic resistance stage of stress is common and heavily contributes to a state of subclinical malnutrition as well as myriad health problems. As a note, Covid-19 is now becoming scientifically documented as a contributor of the chronic resistance stage of stress.
Two factors must be addressed in the chronic stage of stress,
- Psychological stress
- Physical stress
Unfortunately, this is a very deceptive stage of stress because you have an innate ability to consciously adapt to myriad psychological stressors but at the same time, the distress to the mind and body continues. It is the lack of the conscious ability to recognize the stress condition that reinforces the need for nutritional analyses as an additional modality for a stress test.
For example, you may adapt to unhealthy relationships (family or friends), job (job itself, coworker, or supervisor), anger, resentments, commutes, and a myriad of other stressors. The result is that as a nation, we are becoming unhealthier and is also revealed through epigenetics!
Physical stress may be more discernible due to the energy demands placed on the body by physical stress (e.g., high intensity training, competitive sports, marathons, etc.). Yes, many people in the chronic resistance stage appear to have endless energy which further contributes to the difficulty in recognizing how stressed they are.
Physical stressors simply engage the adrenals to produce more adrenaline to supply the energy and endorphins to mask the potential damage that is occurring simultaneously. This is one reason people “feel so good” post workout.
How does the chronic resistance stage of stress affect the mind and body?
The chronic resistance stage of stress can last for years or even decades. The affects on the mind and body are normally due to the sympathetic neuroendocrine system remaining dominate that continues to;
- Produce catabolic hormones that produce myriad affects throughout the mind and body.
- Increase biochemical demands that results in additional imbalances throughout all essential nutrients that include minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids affecting the mind and body.
The sympathetic neuroendocrine system continually releases myriad stress hormones to produce “false or unnatural energy” that will eventually affect the functioning of your adrenal glands, thyroid/parathyroid, digestive system, and ultimately, every cell and function throughout the mind and body.
The chronic resistance stage of stress is a continual and long-term depletion of your nutritional resources. This stage of stress further increases nutrient excesses and deficiencies because the sympathetic neuroendocrine system remains dominant. Remember, this is the fight or flight system.
Consequently, this leaves you more susceptible to chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and others.
However, because your stress response and your body chemistry are uniquely yours, you may manifest a plethora of different symptoms.
For example, you may experience
- migraine headaches
- frequent colds or flu
- chest pains,
- weight problems,
whereas another person may experience
- heightened issues with anger,
- mind fog,
- memory loss,
- and depression.
This is a very limited example of symptoms and is dependent on the current biochemistry.
When considering the numerous cellular targets of the chemical mediators of stress, one would expect that protracted, stress-dependent neuroendocrine dysregulation may damage directly or through functional circuits practically all organs and tissues. To clarify this assumption and identify the biochemical pathways significantly impaired by chronic stress to the extent of producing illness, researchers have on one hand searched for putative morphological tissue alterations associated with stress, and on the other analyzed the molecular mechanisms of action of the main stress hormones.Mariotti A. The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain-body communication. Future Sci OA. 2015 Nov 1;1(3):FSO23. doi: 10.4155/fso.15.21. PMID: 28031896; PMCID: PMC5137920. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137920/
Note: If you read through this article, you will notice the recommendation of exercise as a form of therapy in conjunction with other treatments. Stress exercise should be based on your current neuroendocrine activity and biochemistry to help the recovery process and not contribute to additional physical stressors counterproductive to your wellness goals. As our clients know, we will never tell you to stay on the couch!
How do I get out of the chronic resistance stage of stress?
This stage of stress is extremely difficult to eliminate or reduce and requires a multipronged approach as seen in stress management.
One of the most crucial factors to recognize is that your biochemistry (A) is now controlling (or contributing greatly) to your stress level (B), and your stress level is controlling (or contributing greatly) to your biochemistry (A). This is a biphasic effect (e.g., A is controlling B and B is controlling A). This is a viscous cycle that only you can end.
The point of the statement is you must be sufficiently nourished to progress from one stage of stress to another that completes the stress response. As such, in the chronic resistance stage, your biochemistry is not sufficient to progress to the recovery stage of stress that brings the body back into balance (homeostasis).
By recognizing this important factor, you will now realize that you will need to eliminate (not manage!) as many physical and psychological stressors as possible. This can make for some very difficult choices as you evaluate all sources of stressor in your life. This is unequivocally more difficult than you may realize due to the “adrenaline addiction”.
In fact, even knowing the potential of degenerative diseases that may eventually manifest (see references) is not sufficient for many people to make the hard choices. As a former workaholic, I do understand this dilemma.
The three-prong approach
The three-prong approach is the basic formula required to sufficiently nourish the mind and body in order to pass into the recovery stage of stress. If the chronic stage is left unchecked, it will eventually lead to the exhaustion stage that creates addition manifestations that may easily require medical attention.
Here is the basic formula toward success,
- Eliminate or greatly reduce your psychological stress
- Eliminate or greatly reduce your physical stress
- Balance your biochemistry by targeted nutrition using nutritional laboratory analyses
As stated previously, there is nothing simple to this approach. But, trust me, there is nothing simple about diabetes and heart disease!
Also, DO NOT hesitate to seek qualified professional help recognize and eliminate or reduce your stressors.
The primary concern about remaining in the chronic stage is that you increase your potential to enter the exhaustion stage as opposed to the recovery stage.
Note: Even a targeted nutritional program will not be as effective as expected unless you reduce your stressors. Remember the A and B biphasic effects.
Hair Analysis and the Chronic Resistance Stage of Stress
Hair analysis can reveal the chronic resistance stage of stress. It is important to recognize this stage of stress because it is the most damaging to your health.
Here again, it is important to consider many mineral patterns revealed on the results of your hair analysis for proper interpretation.
The chronic resistance stage of stress normally reveals a further increase of potassium. Graphically, potassium will normally have risen well above sodium indicating a chronic resistance stage of stress. However, both minerals remain well above the ideal levels. Remember, sodium, potassium, and the sodium/potassium pump are vital for nutrient transport.
During the chronic resistance stage, the sodium/potassium ratio will normally drop below the ideal levels. In addition, the calcium/magnesium, calcium/potassium, sodium/magnesium, calcium/phosphorous, and zinc/copper ratios will become imbalanced as well.
The longer you endure the chronic resistance stage of stress, the greater the imbalances of both macro- and micronutrients. In addition, multiple abnormalities occur between vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids.
Keep in mind, as your essential minerals (as well as all other nutrients) become more imbalanced, you become more susceptible to toxic elements and chemical toxins. In this instance, your ability too naturally detox the body becomes further compromised.
Are you in the chronic resistance stage of stress? Order your Hair Analysis today.
Follow the Gazelle!
We thought our gazelle escaped unscathed but an injury occurred. One of the alligator’s teeth cut our gazelle and between the bacteria on the tooth and in the water and dirt, a chronic resistant stage of stress has occurred. Unlike us, this is not emotionally induced but by the body being attacked from within by bacterial invaders.
Fortunately, our gazelle was strong and well nourished. The infection is difficult and requires more and more nutrients to heal. Day-by-day, this is placing heavy demands on the nutritional reserves. Will our gazelle advance to the exhaustion stage of stress?
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Microglia are the predominant immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS) that exert key physiological roles required for maintaining CNS homeostasis, notably in response to chronic stress, as well as mediating synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. The repeated exposure to stress confers a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases including sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD).Bisht K, Sharma K, Tremblay MÈ. Chronic stress as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease: Roles of microglia-mediated synaptic remodeling, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Neurobiol Stress. 2018 May 19;9:9-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2018.05.003. PMID: 29992181; PMCID: PMC6035903. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6035903/
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and, to a lesser extent, in the noradrenergic neurons of the locus coeruleus (LC).Sugama S, Sekiyama K, Kodama T, Takamatsu Y, Takenouchi T, Hashimoto M, Bruno C, Kakinuma Y. Chronic restraint stress triggers dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurodegeneration: Possible role of chronic stress in the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Jan;51:39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.08.015. Epub 2015 Aug 17. Erratum in: Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Mar;61:389. PMID: 26291405; PMCID: PMC4849407. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849407/
In a sense, chronic stress can be conceptualized as the set of events that leads normally constructive responses to become destructive, leading to pathological outcomes in both central and peripheral systems, perhaps best described in the clinical literature (and common parlance) as “burnout”.Roberts BL, Karatsoreos IN. Brain-body responses to chronic stress: a brief review. Fac Rev. 2021 Dec 16;10:83. doi: 10.12703/r/10-83. PMID: 35028648; PMCID: PMC8725649. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725649/
This study showed that chronic stress disturbed gut microbiota, thereby triggering immune system response and facilitating dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. Results also showed stress-deficient expression of mucin-2 and lysozyme, which may contribute to the disorder of gut microbiota.Gao X, Cao Q, Cheng Y, Zhao D, Wang Z, Yang H, Wu Q, You L, Wang Y, Lin Y, Li X, Wang Y, Bian JS, Sun D, Kong L, Birnbaumer L, Yang Y. Chronic stress promotes colitis by disturbing the gut microbiota and triggering immune system response. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 27;115(13):E2960-E2969. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1720696115. Epub 2018 Mar 12. Erratum in: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Apr 30;: PMID: 29531080; PMCID: PMC5879702. https://europepmc.org/article/PMC/5879702
These studies found that chronic stress acts through β-adrenergic signaling pathways to increase pancreatic tumor growth and invasion. In the context of the pancreatic microenvironment, β-adrenergic signaling accelerated growth of primary pancreatic tumors and significantly enhanced tumor cell dissemination through adjacent normal pancreas and to distant organs.Kim-Fuchs C, Le CP, Pimentel MA, Shackleford D, Ferrari D, Angst E, Hollande F, Sloan EK. Chronic stress accelerates pancreatic cancer growth and invasion: a critical role for beta-adrenergic signaling in the pancreatic microenvironment. Brain Behav Immun. 2014 Aug;40:40-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2014.02.019. Epub 2014 Mar 17. PMID: 24650449; PMCID: PMC4102665. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4102665/
The research outlined in this review supports the notion that persistent and chronic stress exposure might contribute to tumour initiation in specific cancers. This research is still in its early stages compared to research on stress and tumour progression, and evaluation of the physiological stress response and cancer initiation mechanisms is greatly needed.Falcinelli M, Thaker PH, Lutgendorf SK, Conzen SD, Flaherty RL, Flint MS. The Role of Psychologic Stress in Cancer Initiation: Clinical Relevance and Potential Molecular Mechanisms. Cancer Res. 2021 Oct 15;81(20):5131-5140. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-0684. Epub 2021 Jul 15. PMID: 34266894; PMCID: PMC8530873. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8530873/
Robust evidence suggests that chronic stress plays a significant role in the onset of severe and impairing psychiatric conditions, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.Davis MT, Holmes SE, Pietrzak RH, Esterlis I. Neurobiology of Chronic Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders: Evidence from Molecular Imaging Studies. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2017 Jan-Dec;1:2470547017710916. doi: 10.1177/2470547017710916. Epub 2017 Jun 22. PMID: 29862379; PMCID: PMC5976254. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976254/
Specifically, this study provides the first direct evidence that chronic stress is transdiagnostically and reciprocally (stress exposure and generation) linked to common psychopathology.Snyder HR, Young JF, Hankin BL. Chronic Stress Exposure and Generation Are Related to the P-Factor and Externalizing Specific Psychopathology in Youth. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2019 Mar-Apr;48(2):306-315. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2017.1321002. Epub 2017 May 25. PMID: 28541762; PMCID: PMC5702273. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5702273/