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How Chronic Stress Affects Men's Health


How Chronic Stress Affects Men's Health

The average level of daily stress for men and women may be the same, but based on the studies chronic stress has a different physiological and psychological impact on men's body. As more research show the effects of stress and anxiety on men's health, it has become an important part of preventing and treating men's health related conditions.

Stress And Higher Risk of Cardio Vascular Disease in Men

For example, according to research stress causes more of a fight and flight kind of response in men while this is less in women. Fight and flight response keeps the body in an urgent mode driving away energy and nutrient supply from other parts of the body and puts higher demand on the heart. 

Based on a study stress as an only risk factor would be enough to create early heart disease in men even at the absence of other risk factors including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. 

Outcome of this study suggests that treating emotional distress as an effective way to decrease severity and advancement of heart disease in male patients in particular.

Stress And Obesity in Men

There is increasing evidence that chronic environmental stressors play an important role in increasing individual susceptibility towards the development of chronic metabolic diseases, such as abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Putting on weight around abdominal area is known to be related to stress and hormonal imbalance in men.

Under the conditions of the continuous stress the hormonal response is disrupted. Overwhelmed body can not adapt adequately, moving towards mal-adaptation. The ability of the body to adapt to both internal and environmental stressors is different in men and women, and that is due to the fact that male and female hormones play a role in the process.

The two hormonal systems of HPA axis(hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal) and sex hormones play an equal role in how body response to the chronic stress and development of abdominal obesity, or metabolic syndrome. In fact changes in sex hormone production, secretion, and distribution found in both obese men and women, and that contributes to different patterns of fat metabolism. In men the obesity is associated with parallel increase in abdominal and visceral fat.

High cortisol level increase the activity of the lipid storing enzyme in fatty tissues particularly around the abdominal area contributing to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

Stress And Testosterone Level

Testosterone level is found to be significantly associated with stress. Researches show that the testosterone levels in men may be more reflective of a complex relation between physiological and emotional response to the stressors. When men with normal level of testosterone exposed to lower degree of stress, their testosterone increased; however, under chronic and continuous stress, their testosterone levels decreased.

Nutrients such as Tribulus terrestris , antioxidants such as selenium and vitamin E, amino acids like L carnitine , I3C (Indole 3 carbinol), optimum level of Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA, will support the prostate and keeps the testosterone in a healthy level .

Stress And Fertility Problems in Men

While prenatal care by mothers is well known to be important to the health of the baby and its brain development, animal study has found that also stress negatively impacted the genetic material of the sperms.  Stress can produce long-term changes to sperm genetic which reprograms the offspring stress axis regulation and it may be linked to neuropsychiatric diseases.

Sufficient and healthy sperm production is affected by both short term and long term stress and anxiety. New research have found links between the male fertility and stress. High anxiety not only affects the mobility and the health of the sperms, but also contributes to lower count.

Stress And Prostate Cancer

Stress is found to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Researchers suggest that the Adrenalin levels may be responsible for carcinogenic changes in prostate gland. Tumor promoting effects of the stress has been observed in patients with higher blood Adrenalin level. In addition, increased level of stress in linked to inflammatory prostatitis.

Multiple studies in prostate cancer patients have concluded that the plant based low fat diet along with stress management modulates the gene expression and slows the rise of PSA.

Beneficial Nutrients And Supportive Lifestyle

Research suggest that providing proper nutritional support to adrenal gland and brain will help the body to perform better and prevents the mal-adaptation. Chronic stress depletes the body form Folic acid (folate) and vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin), Vitamin C , and minerals like Calcium and Magnesium. Taking these nutrients in effective dosage is shown to provide improvement in body's stress response and to prevent deficiencies.

Amino acid L-Theanine and calming herbs including Valerian, Passionflower, and Lemon Balmare found to effectively lower anxiety symptoms and improve sleep; While herbs with adaptogenic properties such as Rhodiola, Panax Ginseng, and Ashwagandha help the body to adjust its response to stress.

Changes to the diet by switching to more nutrient rich foods, regular exercise, getting close to the nature, and relaxation practices like meditation and aromatherapy, planning your activities ahead, and seeking professional advice, all together will help to reduce the unwanted effects of daily stress on the body, and provide better quality of life.

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