A Rest From Stress Makes You Younger: How Stress and Toxins Age You
The Dolphin Stress Test
Above is a picture of two dolphins. If you can see both dolphins, your stress level is within the acceptable range. If you see anything other than two dolphins, your stress level is too high, and you need to stay home and rest.
We’re sure you have a feeling that stress makes you age faster? You’re right it certainly does and is also responsible for disease. In fact the now famous Cellular Biologist Dr Bruce Lipton’s research of Stanford University Medical School USA, found 95% of disease was caused by stress, toxins and negative beliefs (perception)”1.
To us, these facts are exciting secrets into how we can reverse our ageing bodies and adult-onset disease (only 5% of disease can’t be reversed due to genetic defects in the DNA from birth). The answer lies in detoxification, lowering stress, and clearing our mind.
But now lets look at why stress ages you in the long run. You know what we're talking about; the fatigue, the dehydrated and wrinkled-looking skin, the aching muscles and joints, the grey hairs coming through (maybe just a few), the malignancies, the cardiovascular changes.
The predominance of evidence suggests that all the above symptoms of ageing occur as a result of the cumulative effects of oxidative stress on every cell in your body2.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between oxidants (free radicals) and anti-oxidants, potentially leading to damage. This damage is thought to form the basis of inflammation, ageing, carcinogenesis and many other conditions that can occur in your body over time3. This is because cells in various organs systems get damaged and can’t repair in time. For example cardiovascular disease occurs as a result of damage to the cells that line arteries.
During respiration, we make free radicals the moment we use oxygen in the mitochondria (energy producing organelles in cells) to generate ATP. ATP (the energy currency of life) is actually produced as a result of the process known as the Electron Transport Chain (ETC or Krebs Cycle), which drives every cellular function in your body.
The problem occurs when we are stressed or ageing, and we can’t keep up with free-radical production. According to anti-ageing physician and writer Dr Michael Elstein, “Ageing is a battle between growth, proliferation, and survival on the one hand and what is termed apoptosis cellular suicide on the other. Free radicals are the primary force driving this battle”4.
In a book, “Stress and Health; Research and Clinical Applications”, the authors explain that it is estimated that every cell in your body is bombarded with free radicals 10,000 times every day. This is toxic to your cells as it disrupts normal function of your cells5. In a nutshell, you could say, it’s healthy cells ageing prematurely.
Fast Fact: Did you know that you are made up of a community of cells. In facts 50 trillion cells all working in harmony together?
How else are free-radicals generated?
Free-radicals, apart from being produced when your cells produce energy in your mitochondria, are also generated from toxins especially alcohol, cigarette smoke, and pesticides found in and on commercial produce and processed foods.
For example in the case of alcohol, if you drink to much of it, your liver wont be able to keep up with acetyl-aldehyde, a nasty by-product and free-radical from alcohol metabolism.
Excessive consumption can lead to overload of toxic chemicals & free radicals which can cause your liver to develop cirrhosis (progressive degeneration & death of liver cells), fatty liver (excessive fat deposits) and alcoholic hepatitis (liver inflammation).
Free-radicals produced by the Stress-Response
Stress is a your natural and physiological response to a perceived threat challenge in your environment and has evolved to protect us from danger. When you chronically activate your stress response though day after day, year after year, to the point of exhaustion, free-radicals produced from stress can really damage your health. Your stress response actually creates free radicals in abundance.
The stress response severely speeds up your the energy-creating processes in your mitochondria, increasing the number of free radicals as a toxic by-product, causing damage to cells and premature ageing.
Additionally, your stress hormones adrenalin, nor-adrenalin and cortisol breakdown into particularly destructive free radicals as they metabolise.
Stress is ageing!
A Big Culprit in the Stress-Response (Caffeine)
You may feel less control over certain major life events causing stress, but one thing you can try to control are your lifestyle choices.
Have a break from the Java Jungle as it is a known stimulator of the stress response. Especially in excess. Stress and toxins in a cup perhaps!
Caffeine is a chemical contained in many foods and beverages and is considered the world’s most popular drug. As it stimulates the stress response it raises free-radical production and ages you.
Due to caffeine’s powerful stimulating effects, it disrupts sleep, hampering rest and repair of worn out cells, which further stimulates your stress response, generating even more free-radicals for your system to cope with.
An important hormone, Human Growth Hormone (hGH), also doesn’t get secreted efficiently when you are addicted to caffeine. hGH is responsible for rebuilding cells, anti-ageing and healthy libido. Deep healing and restoration isn’t able to take place and you can wind up ageing faster, as your vitality and libido diminishes.
This accelerated ageing also becomes very obvious in your face, as caffeine is a diuretic and dehydrates every cell in our body. Fine lines and wrinkles appear and the vasoconstriction of blood flow in your face gives you a grey complexion. Luckily you can reverse this though with caffeine avoidance.
Also the dreaded dark circles can appear under your eyes too as the liver works hard to detoxify this chemical.
Wow, I think that’s enough. There are so many other ‘ageing theories’ I could mention but Ill leave it for another article.
This is where a Detox Program comes to the rescue recommending rest, repair and relaxation, alleviating the horrid symptoms stress creates. You also encounter higher doses of your much-loved “Auntie Oxidant” while on a Detox, who mops up all your messy free-radicals for you!
Anti-oxidants found in fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, and all the phyto-nutrient rich herbs and nutrients in cleansing supplements, remarkably and effortlessly fight the war against free-radicals, and save you from premature-ageing and illness!
Lipton BL. The Biology of Beliefs. Mountain of Love/Elite Books, CA 2005: p109
Elstein M. Scavengers or Saviours, Wellbeing Magazine; Anti-aging Edition, 2001, p13
P139 Kenny DT, Carlson JG, McGuigan FJ & Sheppard JL. Stress and Health; Research and Clinical Applications, Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000, p 135 – 138