In terms of living a healthy lifestyle, stress is one major factor which plays such an important role on health however is often overlooked. As you probably know, stress is basically our central nervous system’s “flight or fight” response and signals our adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. This revs up our body to respond as it thinks we needs to, which, in some cases, is obviously vital for our survival. Suddenly being attacked by the animal we’re trying to hunt?! We’d better get ready for action (or to flee, whichever is more your style…)!
While this scenario isn’t probably as likely for us as it used to be, we still experience the same stress responses in our daily lives. Some of which are still valid and needed, however the majority of which are simply down to the fast paced and busy lifestyles we chose to live. Chronic, ongoing stress is especially detrimental to our health and can affect our bodies in a number of ways including:
- A weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Hormonal issues (for both men and women)
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Risk of heart attacks
- Tense muscles and muscle aches
- Digestive system upset
- Risk of diabetes (as the body produces extra glucose under stress)
- Raised inflammation levels in the body
- Plus, chronic stress can have a further domino effect, also impacting other areas of our health by leading to “coping” behaviours such as over or undereating, alcohol or drug abuse or social withdrawal.
In terms of fitness, cortisol has a big impact on the gains you’re trying to make as excess cortisol can also lead to reduced growth hormone and testosterone, reduction of protein synthesis, the halting of tissue growth and increased abdominal fat. While exercise in general does help to reduce cortisol, it’s important to bear in mind the effects of “overtraining” without managing cortisol levels.
So, if you’re classic Type – A perfectionist with minor anxiety and who trains hard like me – stress is probably going to be an issue in your life. While I try to incorporate basic stress reduction practices: being more mindful, trying to take time out when I need it, trying to get enough sleep, avoiding stress where possible, reducing caffeine (let’s face it….I don’t even really try with that one) – these are all a lot easier said than done. This is where one of my new favourite supplements comes in!
Let me introduce my new best friend – ATP Science Cort RX!
With all the supplement taking and pill popping we tend to do, it can be hard to determine what actually works for us, and what doesn’t. In terms of effectiveness, ATP Science Cort RX is probably one of the supplements where I can tell 100% it is working for me and doing what it says on the label. They say that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and in this case it took me a month of trying out this supplement and then not taking for a short while to realise how well it worked for me. While I’m not floating around in a permanent state of bliss, my day to day anxiety levels have dropped and things which used to send me into a stressed out spiral now don’t have the same effect. For someone who also has average sleep quality, this has definitely helped with that too.
So, what makes CortRx so great?
Schisandra is an adaptogen (a bomb ass plant/herb which helps the body to maintain a natural balance) which helps the body to adapt to both physical and mental stress and also can help to improve physical performance. It can also help to increase cognitive performance, reduce anxiety and inflammation, is an antioxidant and helps protect the liver.
Withania somnifera basically helps you to deal effectively with stress and switches off the body’s survival response. It also helps to enhance thyroid hormone production.
Rhodiola rosea is another adaptogen which has strong anti-anxiety and mood enhancing effects, as well as helping the body to deal with stress. Like the other ingredients, it also works to enhance physical performance and brain function, to not only help your body deal with the negative effects of stress but to also perform at it’s best. It works to regulate cortisol levels and reduce the catabolic effect cortisol it has on both muscle and bone, helps to preserve the adrenal glands, reduce anxiety and panic, reduce pain and inflammation, protect the liver and is also an antioxidant.
One of my fave little roots which I always spell wrong and have posted about previously. I love all of the attention it’s been getting recently, which is definitely well deserved. Why? It’s a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-anxiety, friend to the adrenals, cortisol regulator and much more!
So! If you’re like me and can’t reduce your stress levels on your own then I highly recommend trying this product out! To read in more detail the benefits of this product I also recommend checking out the product page at ATP, as it’s packed full of nerdy goodness (including a whole podcast on the product). Head on down to your local ASN store or shop online to pick some up (use SOPHIE10 online or mention my blog in store for a discount!)