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  • Susan Koursaris, NTP, BCHN®

Grief Got You Losing Your ‘Spark’?? Key Minerals that Stress Depletes.


Minerals are known as the “spark plugs” of the body. They are vitamins and minerals that help our cells facilitate hundreds of daily functions, including those needed for energy, mood regulation, hormone balance and sleep.


These “magic minerals” have many roles in the body such as: catalysts (or cofactors for other functions to occur), regulators, cell transporters, facilitate nerve conduction / muscle contraction, and maintain pH. Very valuable for overall health!

 

The stress of grief can affect the body in various ways, including depleting minerals. How does this happen? Several ways:

 

·      Taxed Immune System: We’ve already talked about how stress can suppress the immune system and make the body more vulnerable to illness and infection. Nutrients such as vitamins C, D, and zinc play crucial roles in immune function, so their depletion can further compromise immunity during stressful times.

 

·      Losing minerals: Cortisol (one of the main stress hormones) can affect the excretion of certain nutrients through urine. High levels of cortisol have been associated with increased urinary excretion of magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

 

·      Metabolism shift: That good-old "fight or flight" mode, causes metabolism to increase, producing energy to deal with the perceived threat. This increase in metabolic rate can deplete certain nutrients like vitamins B1, B5, C, and magnesium, which are essential for energy production.

 

·      Digestive dysfunction: Stress alters digestion by reducing blood flow to digestive organs and halting gut motility. This can negatively impact nutrient absorption, especially micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Chronic stress can also lead to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), further affecting the ability to absorb nutrients.

 

·      Stress Eating: Some people may eat less when stressed, leading to reduced nutrient intake, overall. Conversely, others may take solace in unhealthy foods or by opting for convenient, nutrient-poor snacks high in sugar, salt, and fat. This can quickly lead to a deficiency of essential nutrients needed for overall health.

 

·      Cashing out your nutrient bank: Prolonged stress can lead to the depletion of nutrient stores, as the body needs to consume them at a higher rate to fulfil the higher energy demands of a stress response.

 

Grief can leave you in a state of chronic stress. And that can lead to a vicious cycle of nutrient depletion and a decline in health. Now, more than ever, it's essential to effectively manage the stress grief brings.


Don’t let grief steal your 'spark'!


Fight back with strategies such as daily movement, relaxation techniques, getting enough sleep, and eating a diet rich in nutrients to support overall health to keep your mineral and nutrient banks full!


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References

 

1.        Lopresti A. L. (2020). The Effects of Psychological and Environmental Stress on Micronutrient Concentrations in the Body: A Review of the Evidence. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)11(1), 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz082

2.        Anglin, R. E., Samaan, Z., Walter, S. D., & McDonald, S. D. (2013). Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science202, 100–107. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.111.106666

3.        Nutritional Therapy Association. (2019). Mineral Balance [PDF Document].

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