Can Stress Cause Diabetes?

can stress cause diabetes we know that
stress can cause all sorts of health problems but is it possible that it
could contribute to the development of diabetes today we’re going to talk about
what stresses what the stress response is and we’re going to talk about how all
of this relates to the causative factors of diabetes so before we’re done today
you’re going to have a clear picture of how it all works coming right up I’m doctor Ekberg I’m a holistic doctor
and a former Olympic decathlete and if you’d like to truly master health by
understanding how the body really works make sure that you subscribe and hit
that notification bell so that you don’t miss anything in the discussion about
diabetes about cause and prevention we often hear things about diet and we hear
about weight and we hear about exercise but very rarely do we hear about stress
so let’s talk about how that all works together first of all we want to talk
about what is stress because most people have a very limited idea of what stress
is we think of stress as feeling overwhelmed feeling frustrated having
more things to do than there is time in the day then that causes a feeling of
stress having multiple things going on at once and yes absolutely that is
stress but stress is much much more than that
those things we talk about usually that’s just the tip of the iceberg
stress is anything that increases the demand on the body anytime something
happens that the body has to do something extra that is stress when the
body detects when your nervous system detects any sore sort of threat or
anything that it has to deal with anything it has to pay attention
anything it has to do something about it creates a stress response so it’s not
the stress that really matters what matters is the stress
because that’s a physiological reaction that’s something that happens in the
body so let’s say that we are having a picnic and we’re enjoying our food and
then all of a sudden a grizzly bear comes charging across the field heading
straight for us we are gonna have a pretty strong stress
response at this point I would bet so now our adrenals first your nervous
system detects the danger then it starts sending messages for your body to ramp
up its defenses and now the adrenal glands have to start working harder
that’s why adrenal glands are involved with stress because adrenal glands make
various hormones the primary stress the acute stress hormone is called
adrenaline it is a instantaneously acting it is so important that it’s fast
that there are actually no synapses between the brain and the adrenal gland
so the adrenal gland is in a sense it’s an extension of your nervous system
there are no connections in between it has to happen that fast and now when we
release some adrenaline then our heart rate goes up because when the bear comes
charging we’re gonna have to have a lot of extra resources we’re gonna run we
have to fight we need more oxygen more fuel so the heart beats faster and the
blood pressure goes up because we need to move that blood faster and that’s
what higher blood pressure does we’re also going to get an increase in muscle
tension so when we get ready to jump and run we need some muscle tone so the body
starts preparing that instantaneously and it dominates the muscle tension in
the flexors in the things that that bend and protect us on the front of the body
so we bend our arms kinda like in a defensive posture we pull our shoulders
up to the ears to protect the neck we clench our jaw to protect
the teeth and the jaw so all of these if you’ve noticed people being tense when
they’re stressed these are all stress responses and even though there is no
even if there’s no grizzly bear around at the time if we have any form of
significant stress we’re gonna exhibit those same behaviors because it’s built
in we’re wired that way then we’re gonna also have some other things happening
like we’re gonna get an increase in LDL the body is gonna up regulate the LDL
production because low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is necessary for
repairs and if we have a fight if we have a bear if we have some thorny
bushes if we get injured during the fight then the body wants to repair that
as soon as possible so it up regulates that LDL because LDL cholesterol is part
of wound healing it’s part of every cell membrane so if we’re going to
repair those we need that stuff so we don’t really have a choice this happens
instantaneously and why does the body do that well it’s to keep us alive
obviously and stress and stress responses are not a bad thing they help
us survive the people who have lost this ability people who have Addison’s
disease their adrenals are completely shot they have they’re sitting ducks
they have no ability to respond to stress and it is very very dangerous but
for our purposes what we want to talk about today is cortisol this kicks in in
just a few seconds later the first stuff happens in in milliseconds but a few
seconds later the body also increases cortisol production because when we have
a fight when we have an increased need whether it’s real or imagined then we’re
going to want more energy which means more blood sugar and cortisol the
purpose of cortisol is to increase blood sugar and why is that in
for diabetes because we have in diabetes it’s about blood sugar it’s about
insulin and it becomes about cortisol because cortisol raises blood sugar and
therefore it also triggers insulin the thing to understand about stress though
is that like we said it’s usually underestimated what stress is we think
of it as this emotional stress but stress is when your physiology responds
and you have something called a sympathetic and the parasympathetic
nervous system the sympathetic is your stress response that’s the fight flight
and the other branch the other half of that autonomic nervous system is the
parasympathetic which is your feed breed it’s your healing side so today though
we’re just going to talk about the sympathetic and to understand that you
don’t have to feel it to have a stress response that anytime that your
sympathetic nervous system kicks in anytime that you have an increase in
heart rate increase in blood pressure increase in muscle tension you are
having a stress response whether you think you do whether you’re aware of it
or not and this could be an acute stressor it could be something that you
have experienced recently or it could be a past trauma it could be something that
was very very significant very severe very enduring that even though you got
past it it’s sort of lodged in the body it became a habit that it lasted so long
it became sort of like your default baseline and these traumas could be of a
physical nature it could be a physical trauma could be an emotional trauma or
it could be a chemical trauma could be a poisoning could be chemotherapy could be
a long-standing exposure to something toxic so any of these things can cause a
sympathetic reaction a fight/flight response it could cause a stress
response and again most of these were not aware of probably
80% of these stress responses that change physiology that changed these
things they go by completely unnoticed either because we’re not paying
attention or because it just so familiar to us that it’s just been that way for
so long that that’s just the way it is and when we have these chronic stresses
when we develop a chronic stress pattern also called a sympathetic dominance we
tend to produce cortisol at a higher level for longer periods of time like a
higher baseline activity and they’ve done some studies where they give
healthy people who are not insulin resistant they’re very insulin sensitive
they inject cortisol into their bodies also the medical version of that the
drug version is called cortisone and within days two weeks they have
measurable changes in insulin resistance and they start gaining weight even if
they never had a problem with that before and there’s probably thousands of
you watching who have been on cortisone you had some sort of pain or
inflammation and they gave you cortisone or prednisone or one of those zones and
that’s just a synthetic version of cortisol and it will raise blood sugar
even though the purpose of it is to control inflammation it will raise blood
sugar it will increase insulin resistance and it will increase weight
so a lot of you probably recognize that pattern even if you didn’t know it
before that your blood sugar went crazy you gained weight and you might even
have become diabetic or pre-diabetic as a result so this is very well documented
but it’s it’s rarely given the attention that it deserves so that’s what stress
is that’s what a stress response is it’s a sympathetic activation it’s an
activation of the sympathetic portion of your nervous system whether you’re aware
of it or not now what are the cause positive factors of diabetes well
diabetes is the late stage result it’s the far-gone version of insulin
resistance and insulin resistance is when the cells of your body resist
insulin why would they do that because you’ve had too much insulin for a long
period of time trying to put blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cell
and the cell doesn’t want it and that’s been going on for a while the cells
start resisting so the variables the causative factors for diabetes are blood
sugar when blood sugar goes up insulin goes up if that happens a lot the cells
become resistant eventually and so blood sugar and insulin go together and now we
understand based on what we talked about that cortisol because it the purpose of
cortisol is to raise blood sugar it will stimulate insulin it will increase
insulin resistance those are the basic causative factors the variables involved
and very very often in the discussion we hear that oh well you know you just need
to control your calories and you just need to lose weight and you need to eat
low fat and all these things but they have it backwards because dietary fat we
we’ve been scared that’s been demonized we have a fat phobia because we see the
fat on the body so we think that the fat on the body is the cause and we think
that it’s about calories but dietary fat does not trigger insulin it is almost a
zero insulin response it’s like 1% of what a carbohydrate would be so dietary
fat does not cause this and what about body fat we see that the fat on the body
and we associate overweight people have more diabetes that’s called a
correlation and then they say that well you know you should lose some weight and
then typically diabetes gets better because they see thinner people have
less diabetes but again they get it backwards it’s not the cause it’s the
effect body fat is not the cause of insulin resistance it’s the result of
insulin resistance so we have to start understanding it’s not all that
complicated that’s very very basic physiological principles blood sugar
goes up insulin goes up cells start resisting so the things that increased
blood sugar are the ones to avoid so then back to the question can stress
cause diabetes because we know cortisol raises blood sugar which can drive
insulin resistance but can it really cause diabetes in and of itself so I
think it is unlikely that if that was the only problem that that would cause
diabetes but with everything else that’s going on with the majority of the
population already having some degree of insulin resistance now
stress becomes a very very significant factor so we want to look at the
lifestyle factors and diet is huge genetics is huge but we don’t really
have much influence over what we got we can express it differently through diet
activity and stress but these are the things that we have to work with diet
activity and stress levels so one by itself they’re all important and if you
already have sort of a tendency then any one of these will push you over the edge
so if you’re pre-diabetic and you keep eating lots of carbohydrates and you
have a sedentary lifestyle and you have a lot of stress then it’s very very
likely that you will become diabetic and if you just change one of them you’re
not doing as much for yourself as if you improved all three of them and then the
question of course is how do you reduce stress how do you reduce
is all and that’s a huge big topic I’m not going to get into a lot of details
so let’s just very briefly mention that a stable blood sugar is key because
anytime your blood sugar is low if you’re hypoglycemic if you are depending
on a carbohydrate metabolism and you skip a meal now your cortisol is gonna
have to kick in and raise that blood sugar and now you’re having that stress
if you are fat adapted it’s not a problem to miss a meal because you don’t
rely on blood sugar to the same degree so stable blood sugar being fat adapted
having a low carb lifestyle is key in controlling this and then of course
reducing stress so regular sleep meditation relaxation breathing
exercises all of those are fantastic things and we’ll talk more about them in
in other videos but it’s just too big a topic for this one here breathing
exercises are very powerful I’ve done a couple of videos on that specifically to
explain how that works the key with a breathing exercise to reduce stress is
to make the in-breath and the out-breath about the same length they should be
about four to five seconds and the out-breath should be if anything just a
little bit longer than the in-breath but most people breathe 18 to 20 times per
second and when we need to relax when we do a therapeutic relaxation we need to
slow that down to about 6 breaths a minute to get this effect and then of
course any other lifestyle changes if you have a job that’s really really
stressful then you either need to do more of this or you need to figure out
maybe if you can find another job or another situation in life so we can do
certain things to change our our environment and our adaptation and then
the rest of it becomes to improve the bodies health
so that it can deal with this we have done some other videos on brain and
stress and I’ll do some more on on that specifically if you enjoy this
information and you like to learn more about how the body really works and how
to get as healthy as possible make sure that you check out our other videos on
insulin resistance and I will see you in the next video thanks for watching

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