Covid-19 & Health Update: Chronic Stress = Inflammation & Illness

Hello again everyone:

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and we do need some stress to function optimally. Without any stress we would atrophy and wither across all of our systems including muscular, bone, brain, heart, immune etc. However, too much stress for too long is degenerative across all systems as well. We can measure our stress response to see if it is normal by looking at the normal ups and downs of the primary stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone is highest in the morning and lowest at night. When this normal up and down curve happens, researchers find we have the fewest health problems…yet when the curve is flattened or reversed, we have the most health problems.


  • Meta-analysis shows flatter diurnal cortisol slopes are associated with worse health
  • Results are significant for 10 out of 12 health outcomes and across multiple age groups*
  • Strongest effects are found for Inflammation and immune system outcomes
  • Effects are found across most types of diurnal cortisol slope measurement
  • Use of objective compliance monitors is associated with larger effect size

*immune and inflammatory system dysregulation, fatigue, cancer, obesity/BMI/adiposity, externalizing symptoms, internalizing symptoms, depression symptoms and disorders, other mental health, other physical health, and mortality outcomes were all associated with a flatter diurnal cortisol slope.

Bottom Line:

Chronic stress leads to immune dysregulation and inflammation across multiple organs and systems. As you all know, inflammation causes, perpetuates, or aggravates every known human ailment. There are several things that may ameliorate and normalize the diurnal cortisol slope and most of us will need to incorporate several of them together to successfully reduce stress:

  • Get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night.
  • Exercise at least every other day and go for a walk on non-exercise days, but at the minimum we should move daily even if we just walk every day…yoga is fantastic!
  • Avoid foods that increase inflammation such as sugar and processed foods of all types.
  • Consider taking adaptogen herbs to help normalize the stress response: ashwagandha; ginseng; rhodiola; tulsi
  • Meditate and/or incorporate mindfulness strategies daily.
  • Consider anti-inflammatory food plans and supplements such as turmeric or Boswellia or ginger.
  • Avoid unpleasant news such as TV and other media.
  • Reduce screen time and spend more time outdoors and read uplifting books
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine products…study and practice relaxation methods.
  • Make sure your short- and long-term plans, goals and expectations are realistic.
  • Our time is one of our most precious resources…consider spending your time only where you feel good and being there furthers your life purpose and service goals.
  • Consider removing yourself from the presence of negative influences or find a way to detach but remain loving and helpful if possible.
  • Take some ‘me’ time when possible…read the book “One Minute for Yourself”
  • Connect with others with whom you feel close to or are important to you or who share similar values.
  • Practice peace in every aspect of your life.

Our sincere thanks to you for spending some of your precious time with us. Our mission is to supply you with empowering information to upgrade your life and health. Love and gratitude to all!

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