Who among us has not been chronically stressed for the last year or so? Many of you have experienced major stressors related to the global pandemic, economic challenges, social isolation, and just getting through the day.
I applaud each and everyone of you for surviving and making it to today. Now that our daily lives are starting to resemble some form of normality it is time to reflect on how stress has impacted our health and what we can do about it.
Today, I want to focus on the role stress has on our digestive system. Chronic stress either from physical or emotional concerns can create an environment where the body does not absorb enough of the nutrition or the body depletes stores of nutrients in trying to maintain balance.
The end result can impact mood by increasing depressive or anxiety symptoms. Some individuals may experience fatigue, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms creating a lessened quality of life.
The nutrients that seem to be impacted the greatest with stress are magnesium, zinc, iron, and niacin.
Today, we will focus on magnesium and iron, which research has shown that stress reduced the amount of in our bodies.
Magnesium is a powerhorse of minerals. It is responsible as a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic processes including ATP metabolism (energy), metabolism of glucose used for energy, protein building, and DNA and RNA metabolism. Magnesium is something we use a lot of and when we are stressed it gets depleted. Alcohol consumption also depletes magnesium over time. Magnesium is not something easily measured in blood and supplementation can also be challenging as it tends to act as a laxative when taken orally. One excellent method to increase your magnesium is an Epsom salt bath. Therapeutic injections are another modality used to increase magnesium.
Iron is most commonly associated with its oxygen carrying status. Low blood iron levels decrease the amount of oxygen that we can utilize causing some brain fog, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The association between stress and iron is still being studied, however, at our clinic we have seen nearly everyone this year with low ferritin levels indicating iron deficiency. This can be easily treated with supplementation, however, this should only be completed under physician supervision as iron is toxic, causes constipation, and is inflammatory.
If stress has you fatigued and not feeling great, it could be due to mineral deficits. Schedule now with our providers to find a treatment that is right for you.
For more information, please see the research