Got Stress? Then read on!

For people with autoimmune conditions, however, stress wreaks havoc on the microbiome. That, in turn, can set off a flare-up. An autoimmune flare-up is always stressful and thus a nasty cycle is created.

There is good news! This cycle can be slowed down or stopped. Before we get there, let us look a bit closer at what stress does to the microbiome.

For people with autoimmune conditions, however, stress wreaks havoc on the microbiome. That, in turn, can set off a flare-up. An autoimmune flare-up is always stressful and thus a nasty cycle is created.

There is good news! This cycle can be slowed down or stopped. Before we get there, let us look a bit closer at what stress does to the microbiome.

What does stress do to our gut?

In one study that tested rats and their reactions to stress, some rats in the study were exposed to stressful conditions for two hours, and the other rats in the study were not. For the rats exposed to stressful conditions, the number of good bacteria dropped and the bad bacteria escalated when measured after exposure to stress.

Since so much of our health revolves around our microbiome, we want to have more good bacteria than bad. The fewer bad guys in your blood stream, the less your inflammatory response.

The Good News

Regular use of probiotics appears to mitigate the stress response. Another study in Japan had medical students supplement their diet with probiotics. The researchers found that those who added probiotics to their diet were less stressed, slept better and their cortisol levels normalized.

Adding probiotic-rich yogurt and fermented foods and drinks to your diet are good ways to take advantage of the many benefits of probiotics.

Refer to Blog #3 for lots more detailed information on probiotics and their usefulness…

More than a food issue

Now to the nonfood part. If ever there were a time for self-care, now is it. Personally, I am doing lots of yoga and walking regularly. Doing something (anything!) is better than nothing, because even a few minutes of a relaxing activity are beneficial.

Spending time outside in the fresh air as much as possible has well-documented health benefits, as do Epsom salt baths and regular prayer and meditation.

What is most important is that it is an activity that you enjoy and find calming.  What are you doing to help yourself now?

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