Stress 101 and Supplement Hacks to Help!

Let’s face it! 

Our lives are hectic! 

Not only are they busier then any other time in our recent history, with stimulus being far greater in modern society then in any of our recent families history, but also in an evolutionary context! 

 

From our origins in the caves, our physiology was never designer to be so “ON” as we are today. 

 

We evolved with an amazingly complex survival chemistry that entailed certain hormones, primarily Cortisol, being secreted in times of stress. Our brain would register something as a threat to our safety, would respond by kick starting a hormonal cascade of hormones like Cortisol, Adrenaline and Norepinephrine to get us ready for flight or fight. We would. 

 

Cortisol would start by liberating stored glycogen and dump it into our blood to give us plenty of available blood sugar to burn for quick fuel. 

 

It would also call on extra resources namely, Magnesium, Zinc and B Vitamins, to give us fuel to fight the threat at hand. 

 

Finally it would increase heart rate and blood pressure, pumping blood out double time to keep you primed for a survival situation. Because at this point, your biochemistry is preparing you for war.

 

Your body then shuts down digestion; pushing blood away from the stomach into your muscles to allow them fuel to perform. It holds onto extra Sodium in your blood stream, again to prime for flight or flight. 

 

And it starts prioritising the storage of all available energy in the form of fat stores, in and around your internal organs so you have a nest egg later for survival! 

 

We would then deal with this threat, we would recognise that it’s time to be recuperate, and Cortisol would drop away. Allowing normal physiology to come along and restore normal physiology, and finally reward you with Dopamine because you survived!  

 

Now enter modern society! 

 

Enter a lifestyle that has constant bombardments on all fronts, from high stimulant consumption, stressful jobs, working long hours, kids, family obligations, environmental burdens like plastics, BPAs, pollutants, chemicals, cosmetics, soy and GMO products, the list goes on! 

 

Add to this our fitness goals! 

 

On top of our body dealing with the default red lining of every day life, we also ask our bodies to perform exercise often while eating in a calorie deficit, again major sources of stress to the body that happens on a consistent basis! 

 

All of these are stressors.

 

All of these burdens are registered by the body the EXACT SAME WAY as the life threatening survival situations we encountered earlier when describing our cave men ancestors.

 

The difference is that instead of just dealing with one problem, releasing Cortisol and returning to normal. Now we are constantly releasing Cortisol in an attempt to deal with an environment our body considers to be a constant threat. We are so incredibly stressed in physiological terms and no one realises! 

 

Because it becomes background noise! Our body de sensitises to these little, frequent insults. But the problem is the stress hormones are still being pumped out whether we still register it as background noise or not! 

 

So what’s this look like if you are currently under the bombardment of Cortisol? 

 

What do you look for if you are at the victim of Cortisol and unknowingly living in the very common reality of hyper Vigilance?! 

 

SYMPTOM PICTURE OF THE MODERN STRESS-HEAD! 

 

If any of these symptoms ring a bell, you can guarantee stress is having an impact in one way or another! 

 

-Stubborn body fat around lower stomach that doesn’t seem to budge no matter how hard you train or diet. Generally seen as an “Apple body shape”. 

 

-Struggling to switch off, particularly at night before bed when trying to sleep. Feeling TIRED BUT WIRED.

 

-Having a busy mind in general with a lot of mental chatter and background noise.

 

-Finding you are waking several times throughout the night, often to go to the bathroom. 

 

-Waking up tired, as if you hadn’t slept at all.

 

-irritability, anxiety, paranoia, mood swings, low mood, depression 

 

-Relying on coffee and stimulants for energy throughout the day, but also often finding you need more and more caffeine over time to get the same buzz!

 

-Poor short term memory, foggy headedness, forgetfulness.

 

-Not recovering from exercise with constant niggles, being injury prone and muscle soreness lasting longer then usual 

 

-Finding you have a sluggish metabolism, and gain weight easily without being able to shift the weight as easily as it came on. 

 

-Fluid retention 

 

-High blood pressure 

 

-Frequent urination but always having the feeling of dry mouth, or thirst.

 

-Muscle wastage of the arms and legs, finding it difficult to grow or maintain muscle on these limbs 

 

So if any of these are you, let’s read on and figure out ways to help you get control of the Stress hormones ruling your life! 

 

Supplements to the Rescue! 

When it comes to Cortisol, Some of the oldest herbs are the best! 

 

Ashwagandha 

Ideally at either 300mg twice daily, or up to 600mg in a single serving before bed, Ashwagandha is a potent adaptogen that helps moderate the impacts of Stress on your body, and indeed helps your body adapt to these stressors far greater then normal. Also potently boost GABA, a neurotransmitter that is often at lower levels when chronically exposed to stress, which is responsible for feelings of calm, well being and generally is anti-anxiety in its effects in the brain. When thinking of GABA think of the feeling you get after a warm shower, and that’s what it does for your body in times of rest, repair and relaxation. So having it raised by supplementing with Ashwagandha is ideal for lowering stress and anxiety every day! 

 

Lemon Balm and Holy Basil 

These both work on the same GABA pathway mentioned above and also strongly lower feelings anxiety and stress throughout the day. In recent studies, subjects found massive improvements in perception of stress throughout the day as well as remission from symptoms of stress like depression and insomnia.

 

Curcumin 

This active ingredient in Turmeric has amazing and well studied health benefits and attacks Cortisol from a different angle! 

Chronically elevated Cortisol is often characterised by inflammation, particularly in the gut, which is why bloating, IBS, leaky gut and general digestive issues are super common with stress heads. 

Curcumin is the most potent known natural anti inflammatory, particularly in the gut, making it the perfect supplement that can lower the state of systemic inflammation in the body, which mutes another common source of stress from within the body!

 

Passionflower Extract 

Often used before bed as a tea, the flower from the Passionfruit vine is a potent GABA agonist that has amazing clinical data for improving sleep quality. Improving sleep quality is the best way to help lower Cortisol over the following day! 

 

L-Theanine  

Found in green tea, this amino acid has felt effects touted to described as supplemental meditation! 

So potent is its ability to block Cortisols activity in the brain, that supplementing with L-Theanine is something monks have done for centuries to help them access the serenity and calm mind required to achieve meditation. By preventing Cortisol binding to receptors in the Brain, L-Theanine is a phenomenal ingredient to have in your supplement cabinet for reducing stress, anxiety, improving sleep quality, calming a busy mind and also improving attention and short term memory formation.

 

So where can you find all of these in the PRIMABOLICS range? 

 

RESTORE contains all of these amazing hers at doses seen in scientific literature! 

 

METABOLYZ contains not only a full 300mg of Ashwaganda, but also all of the crucial nutrients you burn through when stressed such as magnesium, B vitamins, Zinc, selenium, as well as the super important Iodine.

 

WHEY RIPPED also contains 100mg of Ashwagandha per scoop to help address Cortisol acutely in the  post workout window and is also perfect for night time PM trainers who take caffeinated pre workouts and train at night who struggle to switch off!