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April 25, 2006

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Question from India:

What affect does stress have on blood sugar levels? Does it encourage more gastric acid secretions so there is overeating? How does the body produce more energy in physical stress and mental stress conditions? Can meditation, religious practices or other mental based relaxing and contracting (stressful) activities cause changes in blood glucose levels? How? Consider activities causing relaxation and contractions in view of insulin's indicated action of causing relaxed conditions of arterial muscle tone.

Answer:

Stress can cause blood sugars to rise as a result of the hormones that go up with stress. For instance, cortisol and adrenaline, both hormones that rise with stress, antagonize the effects of insulin. They rise in proportion to the degree of stress. The more stress, the higher levels of stress hormone, and higher blood sugars. The gastric acidity may be worsened, but there are also a number of food and medication issues that make this worse, too. Physical stress and mental stress are different kinds of stress, but both can cause higher blood sugars. Anything that causes you to relax or decrease the amount of mental stress could, theoretically, improve blood sugars. However, stress will always be there and it is an issue of having a strategy to manage it.

JTL