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Quest Vitamins LTD,
8 Venture Way,
Aston Science Park,
Birmingham,
B7 4AP.

Tel: 0121 359 0056
Fax: 0121 359 0313
Email: info@questvitamins.co.uk
Registered in England No. 2530437

Managing Stress

How Stress can trigger a Heart Attack

What is Stress?

Lifestyle Tips for Management of Stress

Supplemental Managment of Stress and Energy

Herbal Management of Stress

How Stress can trigger a Heart Attack<

Scientists believe that have found some vital clues to how stress can trigger a heart attack in vulnerable patients. UK researcher focused on men who had suffered a heart attack or acute heart pain
triggered by stress. They found evidence that stress can elevate blood pressure over an extended period, and trigger the release of high levels clot-forming platelets.

The University College London (UCL) study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The UCL team looked at 34 men who had suffered a heart attack or severe chest pain an average of 15 months earlier. From these they identified 14 whose symptoms had been preceded by acute stress, anger and depression.

The volunteers were given a series of stressful tasks to do, including imagining stressful situations and making a speech. Measurements were then taken of their blood pressure and chemistry.

In all men the blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac output increased in response to the induced stress. But in the group identified as particulary vulnerable to stress, blood pressure took longer to return to normal levels. This group also recorded higher levels of platelets - the small blood cells that form cloths to stop bleeding - in their blood. Platelets clump together to stop bleeding
when a tear occurs in the vessel wall during a heart attack. However, they in turn can cause a blockage in the heart which prevents the blood from flowing in the heart.

What is Stress?

Stress is defined as state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an equilibrium. Physically, stress results from overused and fatigued organs. Psychologically, stress is the inability to cope with daily confrontations.

In either form, stress can lead to changes in the body secretions (especially ny the endocrine system), changes in blood circulation, and increased muscle tension, which lead to greater susceptibility to physical illness, mental and emotional problems, and accidental injuries. While a degree of stress stimulates a person toward performance, over stimulation can lead to serious psychological conditions, nervous breakdowns and significantly reduce a person's life-span.

The following situations may lead to stress for a individual:

Hospitalisation, debt, marriage, reconciliation, change of job, loss of job, retirement, problems at work, change in finances, sexual difficulties.

Lifestyle Tips for Management of Stress

There are different appraoches to coping with stress. These range through teaching the individual to manage their stress through relaxation techniques; advising dietary or supplementary support to encourage physical and emotional wellbeing.

Take regular moderate exercise, walk 'round the block' at lunchtime and go to the gym or swim occasionally. This helps build stamina and resistance to stress. Learn some relaxation techniques; practise breathing properly. Reduce coffee, tea and other caffeine-containing drinks as they have a stimulant effect and are also diuretic, which adds a further stress on the body. Reduce alcohol. Initially,
it gives the 'feel good' factor, but is a depressant. Drink more water, at least 1.5 litres a day. Eat more fresh fruit, salads and vegetables.

Supplemental Management of Stress and Energy

Many changes that happen in the body during stressful situation have nutritional implications because certain nutients are key players in the body's biochemical reactions. B Vitamins are vital for the release of energy from food.

Energy is a basic need of all body processes and requirements increase during the periods of stress. B vitamins are needed for the optimal functioning of the nervous system.

Blood levels of these nutrients have been noted to be lower than normal in 'stressed' individuals. This is perhaps because of poor eating habits when under stress, or it may be due to increased
requirements for B vitamins due to the stress response and consequent changes in metabolism. Pantothenic acid (b5) has a known role in the function of the adrenal gland and in the production of corticosteriod hormones.

B vitamins are best taken as a complex. For repair of physiological stress the body needs Vitamin C as it reduces the harmful effects of the stress hormones through its antioxidant activity and improves the body's ability to deal with the stress response. During times of stress, urinary excretion of vitamin C is increased. Today it is often recommended that we obtain extra vitamin C from supplementation, together with an increase in vitamin C rich foods to maintain immune health during times of
stress.

Magnesium stores in the body are depleted by stress. It is closely
involved in energy release as it is an essential cofactor in energy producing reactions. It is also required for nerve and muscle function. Magnesium rich foods are mainly green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, meat and dairy.

Low levels of Zinc are common in people suffering from stress. This is especially noticeable where stress has had negative effects on health. Some foods are rich in Zinc, a few include; Shellfish, pumpkin seeds, whole grains and dairy.

Lactobacillus acidophilus helps maintain healthy gut flora, by providing a source of bacteria and balancing pH in the intestine, which becomes disturbed in time of stress.

Coenzyme Q10 is vital in powering the body's energy production (ATP)
cycle, the energy source necessary for driving all the functions performed by the cell. CoQ10 is found throughout the body in cell membranes, especially in the mitochondrial membranes and is particularly abundant in the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal glands.

The total body content of CoQ10 is only about 500-1500mg, a level which falls with age. The body can synthesise CoQ10 and it is also found in several dietary sources, notably organ meats. CoQ10
plays a part in immune function; we may need to supplement during illness or while recuperating.

Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen that helps body systems ability to adapt in different circumstances such as noise, temperature or physical exertion. Reported to improve the body's ability to deal with stress, it helps the body to metabolise harmful lactic and pyruvic acids released during the stress reaction, and encourages more efficient energy production.

Other useful supplements are: Rhodiola possesses adaptogenic properties, which are shown to increase physical endurance and mental health, especially during periods of stress.

St. Johns Wort possesses a sedative action due to the active ingredient hypericin which has a tranquilising action in humans.

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