Stressful Thoughts and Sugar.
‘Some planets rolled in those openings on the side of my head. I haven’t heard anything for years. Whenever I see a mouth moving in front of me I just assume someone is saying something brilliant and then go on about my day feeling very secure.’ Sant Tukaram
How you feel about the people around you and how you “choose” to interpret their behaviour can make a big difference to the state of your physiology and, therefore, your health; however, enough sugar certainly can be helpful.
One way stressful thoughts can interfere with metabolic health relates to how they can impact thyroid energy system function, and there are several ways to argue the case.
As a starting point that is as good as any, emotional distress will immediately increase the metabolic requirement for energy and more quickly use up glycogen (blood glucose) stores. It’s pretty difficult to dispute that.
The next thing that happens is that cortisol and adrenaline increase to help provide alternative fuel sources, as they become necessary due to the reduction in sugar availability.
One of the main jobs of cortisol in the face of rising demand placed on the system (unable to be met by dwindling glycogen stores) is converting muscle tissue into sugar so that sugar is never wholly unavailable. No matter what, sugar will get provided.
A role played by adrenaline is the mobilisation of free fatty acids into circulation in the blood, providing an alternative fuel source and reducing the requirement for glucose. The release of fat as free fatty acids, particularly polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), slows thyroid energy system metabolism.
Indeed, the conversion of muscle, the release of fat into circulation, and the slowing down of thyroid metabolism can be seen as a protective response, preventing immediate severe consequences, including the rapid wastage of valuable muscle and other tissue in glands and, eventually, organs.
But excess exposure to PUFAs can turn the defence to hardship or low energy into self-perpetuating stress.
The PUFAs, when released into the blood, are known to increase exposure to many substances that interfere with thyroid function, making it far more difficult for thyroid energy systems to return to optimal function when conditions improve.
High consumption of PUFAs has probably only been a common thing for the last few decades. And any excess sugar that can’t be used immediately or stored as glycogen gets converted into safe anti-inflammatory fats and stored for later use.
Unlike the PUFAs, the saturated and other fats made by the body help to ensure the effects of stress are reasonably self-limiting, allowing for the return to more optimal and efficient metabolic function when conditions improve.
Many stress substances that rise under the inflammatory conditions promoted by PUFAs are known to impact the state of mind quite powerfully, worsening perceived threat levels and multiplying the severity and ongoing nature of physiological damage resulting from stress.
Besides having what science has shown is a causative role in developing chronically raised inflammation, the PUFAs and their breakdown products promote a systemic increase in levels of other inflammatory stress substances. It includes bacterial endotoxin, serotonin, estrogen, cortisol, and nitric oxide.
These stress substances directly interfere with thyroid energy system function and are associated with increased aggressive and violent behaviour, anxiety, and symptoms of depression and other mental dysregulation issues.
It isn’t difficult to see how energy metabolism interference can powerfully impact how a person perceives their environment. But looking at biology from another angle, it’s clear that how a person perceives their environment also dramatically affects thyroid energy metabolism, and round and round we go.
It’s helpful to discover that the consumption of simple carbohydrates – from milk, sweet fruit, fruit juice, honey or white sugar – can provide some protection from the effects of stress.
One obvious way this happens is via the suppression of cortisol and adrenaline, followed by a reduction in the release of fats (especially PUFAs) from storage.
It can then help thyroid energy systems run at a more optimal level, and assist with digestion, limiting exposure to inflammatory mood-altering substances like serotonin and estrogen as well as nitric oxide and bacterial endotoxin.
Many of these substances rise in the intestines because of digestive irritation from interference with metabolism, and it’s no surprise to anyone how much digestion can alter the state of mind.
But it’s possibly even more empowering to discover that if you can find ways to change how you perceive your environment, that’s another potentially effective way to improve metabolic function and lower exposure to inflammatory substances. A bit like a vicious circle but in reverse.
I am not attempting to diminish the relevance of the impact of specific trauma experienced. However, I do believe that it is true that exposure to numerous environmental toxins and harmful ingredients added to foods can have a considerable effect on the ability to withstand periods of emotional hardship and return to normal metabolic function when conditions change.
And I believe the same is true when it comes to making choices regarding the thoughts and feelings that are encouraged and the thoughts and feelings left alone to float away.
In today’s world, avoiding being subjected to poor quality harmful foods and environmental poisons can be challenging, if not impossible. Still, at least stressful thoughts and what a person decides to do with them is an area with great potential for improvement.
Sugar and improved energy metabolism function not only enhances the body’s composition of fat. Excess sugar can also help change thoughts from inflammatory towards pro-metabolic.
Unfortunately, when the requirement for extra sugar (in combination with other nutritional needs) for therapeutic and protective purposes seems more significant “than ever before”, anti-sugar rhetoric and propaganda promoting sugar avoidance are increasingly commonplace.
Copyright 2021, by Dan M @ CowsEatGrass. All rights reserved (except for quotations and images having their own protected copyrights). This copyright protects author-publisher Dan M’s right to future publication of his work in any manner, in any and all media — utilizing technology now known or hereafter devised — throughout the world in perpetuity. Everything described in this publication is for information purposes only. The author-publisher, Dan M, is not directly or indirectly presenting or recommending any part of this publication’s data as a diagnosis or prescription for any ailment of any reader. If anyone uses this information without the advice of their professional health adviser, they are prescribing for themselves, and the author- publisher assumes no responsibility or liability. Persons using any of this data do so at their own risk and must take personal responsibility for what they don’t know as well as for what they do know.
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