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The Fight or Flight - Inflammation Connection

The flight or fight hormone...can you guess what it is? It’s one of the most common imbalances I find when I run a stress hormone panel on a client.


>>> Cortisol! <<<


Cortisol is a major hormone in the body. It is one of the key hormones responsible for waking us up every day and helping the body maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. It’s also the hormone associated with stress, which is what most people are familiar with.


When cortisol levels are high, it can lead to excess levels of inflammation.


Symptoms of inflammation:

  • Slow metabolism

  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

  • Irregular periods

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Body aches

  • Stiff muscles

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Digestive problems

  • Skin breakouts


Inflammation plays a role in nearly every modern disease, such as cancer, heart disease and all autoimmune diseases, as well as:


  • Dementia

  • Arthritis

  • Allergies

  • And digestive disorders.


To lower your levels of inflammation, and therefore be one step closer to healing, you must first determine how much inflammation you have, where it is, what kind of inflammation it is, and what your body's triggers are.

Testing


This is where testing comes in!


Functional medicine testing has made significant advances in the treatment of chronic conditions such as the ones named above, however, there’s a problem…


In addition to testing your cortisol levels through saliva testing, you can also test levels of inflammation within the body.


Here are the top 4 inflammation markers you should ask for that aren't on standard lab testing:


1. C-reactive protein (CRP) test.

CRP is a blood test that determines how much inflammation is present in your body. Ideally, you want less than 1.0 mg/L on this test.


2. Liver function test.

This test determines the extent of liver damage caused by insulin resistance-induced inflammation. High liver enzymes equate to liver cell death, which is most commonly caused by elevated insulin resistance due to a fatty liver.


3. Fibrinogen test.

Fibrinogen is a type of blood clotting agent that rises in response to inflammation and insulin resistance. For this test, you’ll ideally want less than 350 mg/dl.


4. Ferritin test.

This is a metric for extra iron storage, which rises in conjunction with inflammation and insulin resistance. Lower than 200 ng/ml is ideal for this test.


How to reduce inflammation


If you suspect excess inflammation within the body, it is extremely necessary to decrease stress and support your body. You can do this by following these steps:


  • Get enough quality sleep. Sleep is when your body rests and repairs itself. It’s perhaps the number one thing to work on when dealing with stress and inflammation.


  • Stop eating processed foods and drinking caffeine the entire day as it can lead to fatigue, sugar crashes, and excess inflammation.


  • Focus on eating vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats throughout the day to keep you energized the whole day by supporting healthy cortisol levels.


  • Use aromatherapy to help decrease stress and improve the quality of sleep. Lavender is a potent remedy for a good night’s sleep.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007


  • If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, you can also use adaptogens that reduce symptoms of stress. Adaptogens help the body to become more resistant to stress and decrease the overall sensitivity to various stressors. Ashwagandha has shown incredible results for lowering cortisol and reducing stress and anxiety. ​​PMID: 32021735. Rhodiola helps to also reduce stress and fatigue. PMID: 29325481. Work with your practitioner to see which supplements are best for you.


  • Develop a personalized relaxation routine where you choose your favorite relaxing activities such as meditating, journaling, yoga, deep breathing, etc.


How do you focus on decreasing stress in your life?


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