Nutrition as a Key Piece in Stress

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

The International Association for Stress Control says 72% of Brazilian workers are stressed. Among these, people with obesity, depression and anxiety were metabolically more stressed.

Any intrinsic or extrinsic stimulus that evokes a biological response is known as stress. Compensatory responses to these stresses are known as “stress responses.” Based on the type, time and severity of the stimulus applied, stress can exert various actions on the body. Thus, it is up to the nutritionist to minimize the impacts of stress on the body through nutritional strategies.

Cortisol and Stress

Glucocorticoid hormone, secreted in stressful situations, promotes increased “alert” status, regulation of blood glucose and blood pressure. In addition, it improves mood, and may present anti-inflammatory activity, memory control and regular performance of the cardiovascular system. However, excess cortisol can cause compulsion for sweets, insulin resistance, amenorrhea, central obesity.

Thus, the stressed patient usually presents as symptoms complaints such as fatigue, lethargy, feeling tired, hypoglycemia, desire for hyper palatable foods, allergies and/or food sensitivities.

Currently, there is a biochemical test to measure plasma cortisol levels as well as to assist in the identification of this stressful picture. For this, we have the following interpretations:

< 3 mcg/dL: Suggestive of adrenal insufficiency,

< 10 mcg/dL: Probable adrenal insufficiency.

< 18 mcg/dL: In cases of disease, stress or high ACTH, highly suggestive of adrenal insufficiency.

Clinical practice

One of the strategies that the nutritionist can use for the remission of cortisol levels is to ensure adequate intake of foods source of selenium, vitamin E and C. People with these nutritional deficiencies do not have adequate capacity for immune defense, and may present pain as well as increased intensity of this, which, in turn, indicates a dysfunctional HPA axis, possible thyroid dysregulation that culminates in the maintenance of the inflammatory picture.

Finally, it is of paramount importance to the adoption of an anti-inflammatory diet, associated with zinc supplementation, B-complex vitamins (mainly B1, B3, B6), magnesium, vitamin D, licorice, taurine and omega 3 in order to contain inflammation. Another suggestion is the use of herbal medicines such as Relora and Ayurvedic strategies.

Bibliographic references

Reading Suggestion:
Is stress really associated with body fat gain?

Watch the video of the Endurance Supplementation series with nutritionist Fellipe Savioli on the Science Play platform –
Endurance Supplementation: Scientific Evidence

Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review.

EXCLI J. 2017 Jul 21;16:1057-1072. doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480. PMID: 28900385; PMCID: PMC5579396.

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