How Does Stress Affect Inflammation?
When we experience stress, our bodies release the well-known hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare the body for the "fight or flight" response, which is beneficial in short-term stressful situations. However, with chronic stress, the body is constantly in a heightened state, leading to chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is the body's response to injury or infection. When the body detects injury or infection, it sends white blood cells to the affected area to combat the "invader" and initiate the healing process. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can damage healthy cells and tissues, leading to a multitude of health issues.
Chronic inflammation is linked to various health problems and can exacerbate symptoms of existing chronic diseases.
What Does Scientific Research Say?
A 2012 study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity showed that individuals who experienced stress had higher levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6) than those who did not.
Another study from 2014, also published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, found that individuals who practiced meditation had lower levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6) than those who did not meditate.
A 2020 study published in Frontiers in Immunology found that individuals who regularly engaged in physical exercises had lower levels of the inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-6 (IL-6) than those who did not exercise regularly.
Interleukin 6 is one of the most critical mediators of the acute phase of inflammation. In muscles and adipose tissue, it stimulates energy mobilization, leading to an increase in body temperature. It also acts as the primary stimulator of acute phase protein synthesis in the liver, stimulates the proliferation and differentiation of B and T cells, and promotes leukocyte production.
Ways to Combat Stress
Well-known methods worth mentioning again :)
Exercise: Physical activity is a natural means of relieving stress, and it can also reduce inflammation in the body. As mentioned earlier, regular physical exercises can decrease the levels of inflammation markers in the body.
Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises can activate the body's relaxation response, reducing stress and inflammation in the body.
Sleep: Sleep is crucial for reducing stress and inflammation in the body.
Exercise, breathing, and sleep – a perfect start to take care of your body.
Stress and inflammation are closely related, and chronic stress can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. It's essential not to turn a blind eye to this issue, strive to monitor your state, and know the available coping strategies.