Stress is something we all live with. Whether it’s the short term adrenaline drop that happens when a car accident is averted or the chronic stress that accompanies financial, professional, or relationship problems—we all deal with it to one extent or another. Needless to say, this stress, particularly the chronic kind, has many negative side effects. Scientists have recently added another—decreased vitamin D absorption.
Vitamin D Absorption Blocked by Stress
According to Natural News, the hormone cortisol, produced when the body is under stress, actually blocks the absorption of vitamin D. So, while you may be getting plenty of sunshine, all of that vitamin D could be going to waste.
Vitamin D is produced by the body (in response to sunlight) and looks for vitamin D receptors (VDR) to make it useful. Without these receptors, the vitamin simply isn’t used. And cortisol depletes VDR capabilities in the body. This is especially concerning given the tremendous amount of damage stress can put on the body, including a increased risk of death from any given circumstance.
Actually a hormone precursor, and not a vitamin, vitamin D has multiple functions within the body, many of them only coming to light recently. It boosts the immune system, protects against infection and disease, increases calcium absorption, aids in asthma treatment, and even reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. While the health benefits of vitamin D are continuously expounded upon as time goes on, there has already been a relationship discovered between vitamin D and weight loss and vitamin D and cancer – two extremely large issues faced by America and the world.
Stress’ effects on vitamin D absorption just provide another reason to steer clear of chronic stress. But while the blocking of vitamin D absorption results in it’s own problems, stress itself is known to amplify both physical and mental stress by significantly suppressing the immune system. So how can you reduce and avoid stress? Effectively managing stress can take practice, as we all encounter things in life that have the potential to set us off or stress us out. Managing stress is a skill.
You can’t always control those things in your life that cause stress, but you can control your response to them. Things like meditation, regular exercise, and a generally positive attitude can help you handle these events more easily. When’s the last time you saw a Buddhist monk with a tension headache or an ulcer? It’s not that they don’t have stressors—they are human—but they just don’t have the chronic stress that many of us do.
One fantastic way to reduce stress and boost overall happiness is to learn the art of re-framing – a technique used to view situations, events, and circumstances in a new light.