Stress, toxins, and vitamin deficiencies form triple threat
What you put into your body and how you handle life’s challenges can have a dramatic effect on your health. Dr. Joseph Thomas, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, calls it the “new STDS, which stands for Stress, Toxins and Deficiencies.” He believes this trio can lead to chronic sickness and other health problems, especially in the African American community.
“If you reduce these three things in your life, you will have a better chance to live a healthier life,” Dr. Thomas says. “They all affect people in different ways, but one common thread is that they affect the body in all the wrong ways.”
When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is a reflex reaction to stress; the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain. In additions to muscle tension, common effects of stress on your body includes headaches, chest pain, fatigue and an upset stomach, let alone changes in your mood like anxiety, lack of motivation and restlessness.
“Stress is not something that can simply be ignored and forgotten about,” says Joseph. “Even if you choose to ignore it, it will rear its head in many ways. The body responds to stress and it is an underlining factor for health-related issues.”
When it comes to toxic substances in your body, it all starts in the morning for many people. They wake up and start gulping down their favorite energy drink or coffee with cream and sugar. Caffeine sends blood sugar and adrenaline levels soaring.
During lunch, you may have a carbonated drink, diet or regular, which also raises blood glucose levels and can cause stomach acid production. Canned food and processed meats typically have excessive sodium, which leads to higher blood pressure, bloating and possible kidney problems.
Additionally, tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, where at least 250 are known to be harmful, including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia, according to the National Cancer Institute. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer. It causes several types of cancers including lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas and stomach.
“In life, you have to make good choices so the things you put into your body have to be a priority to you,” says Joseph. “We are not indestructible no matter how much we think we are.”
Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones. It’s also an important factor in making sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and that your body can fight infection. Vitamin D, which is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight and comes in food including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks.
African Americans have a significant deficiency in vitamin D primarily because their pigmentation reduces vitamin D production in the skin.
“Vitamin D deficiency among African Americans is a major issue that people don’t talk enough about,” Dr. Thomas says. “Your brain, muscle and kidney needs all that. It can lead to so many problems throughout your lifetime”
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.