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What is Toxic Stress?

August 29th, 2014

A little stress is healthy; too much can be toxic.

As men age, hormonal changes in their bodies can contribute to the development of some very stressful situations. For example, if hormonal decline has you feeling mentally fuzzy or struggling with memory problems, you may begin feeling increasingly stressed at work as you attempt to cover up your difficulty and keep up with your responsibilities. Or, if low sex drive is affecting your marriage, you may find yourself increasingly stressed about the possibility of your partner seeing you as inadequate or even leaving you. While a little stress can be healthy, too much stress can be extremely destructive to the body. If you’re feeling increasingly stressed as time goes by, you need to take action now to avoid falling victim to toxic stress.

The Biological Purpose of Stress

Sometimes we tend to forget that man is an animal. Like all animals, humans have evolved a special chemical response to get us moving in the face of danger: stress hormones. For humans, the most important stress hormone is cortisol. When we are placed in unexpected, uncertain, or threatening situations, the brain responds by increasing cortisol production. This serves to get the body pumped up with adrenaline to respond appropriately to the situation. It also stimulates memory so we can learn from dangerous or threatening situations to increase our chances of surviving similar situations in the future.

The Toxic Effect of Excessive Stress

While a little bit of stress can leave you feeling exhilarated (think of the high you get after taking a risk like skydiving), too much stress can be devastating. Sustained excess cortisol production can result in “toxic stress” and cause the following major problems:

Accelerated Aging: In large amounts, cortisol can be very damaging to the body’s cells and tissues. This can result in rapid development of common signs and symptoms of aging. Excess cortisol is especially bad for the skin, since its destructive properties are multiplied by a factor of ten when it comes to collagen, the substance that gives skin its elasticity.

Susceptibility to Illness: Excess cortisol can also weaken immune responses, resulting in a feeling of being run down or even in an increased frequency of flus and colds. The situation will be worsened by the fact that the cortisol is also leaching the body of nutrients that would otherwise be used to help fight off illness.

Adrenal Fatigue: After extended periods of excessive cortisol production, the adrenal gland can essentially wear out. When this happens, you won’t get any cortisol any more not even the small amounts your body needs on a daily basis. The result will be persistent fatigue and a lack of adrenaline.

Dealing with Toxic Stress

Fortunately, the effects of toxic stress can be combated with appropriate treatment. At Renew Man™ , we provide expert diagnosis of adrenal fatigue along with treatments designed to bring your hormones into balance so you can feel younger and more energized. Please contact us today to learn more.

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