When I feel stressed, I’ve learned to take it as a signal to stop, re-evaluate things, and take steps to manage it. I know not to let stress become chronic, because stress not only affects our overall health; it’s also detrimental to our bones.
Today I want to talk about why stress is so damaging to our body and to our bones, and will share many practical ways you can alleviate stress in your own life.
Stress And Your Bone Health
If you have the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, then you’re aware that I devote an entire chapter (Chapter 14) to the effects of stress on your bones. Stress actually acidifies your body because it stimulates production of the hormone cortisol.
It’s more than just cortisol that makes stress so damaging, however. There are other side effects of stress you may never have considered, such as…
1. Sugar Cravings
Your body craves sugary foods in response to stress, according to a Brazilian study. Thirty-one of the 57 participants exhibited symptoms of stress, while the remaining 26 had no symptoms. The study authors concluded that “Stressed women are more prone to [sweet cravings]…”1 The reason is most likely due to the effect of stress on the endocrine system – levels of leptin, the “hunger hormone,” were higher in participants who were stressed and craving sugar.
What does this have to do with bones? Sugar is very acidifying, and it also destroys cartilage – a vital component of bone strength and flexibility – by combining with protein and generating degenerative compounds known as AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products). It’s an appropriate acronym, because sugar definitely adds “age” to your bones.
One more warning about stress-induced sugar cravings – sugar increases calcium excretion in the urine.
You probably know that feeling: when you’re very stressed and anxious, it feels like you have knots in your stomach. It turns out there’s a reason for that, because stress affects your thyroid, so the hormones that regulate your metabolism also get thrown off. Your digestion takes the brunt of this disruption, making it difficult to get things moving.
If stress has you tied up in knots on the inside, your body’s regular toxin removal process is not functioning properly. Poisons can get reabsorbed through the intestinal wall if waste is not expelled, and those toxins hurt your bones.
For younger bones, it’s imperative that poisons be properly removed. They age your bones and tax your whole system.
The Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse: The 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator, is designed to purge your system of osteoporosis drugs and other toxins, and part of that process is to get your body’s natural cleansing mechanisms – such as digestion and kidney function – working properly. The Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse program includes plenty of pure water and lots of delicious, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that are full of nutrients and antioxidants, helping your body rid itself of all waste material so you can feel young and healthy again.
I really dislike feeling tired and sluggish – frankly, it makes me feel older. Stress can contribute to this unpleasant feeling of exhaustion for several reasons.
Stress causes worry and anxiety, which keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep. But stress ruins your rest for another reason, too, and it goes back to bone-damaging cortisol. As I mentioned above, stress triggers the production of this stress hormone. This “rush” gives your body what it needs to act fast: a quicker heartbeat, dilated pupils to let in more light, taut muscles that are ready to run if need be, and more oxygen to your brain.
But the body can’t keep up with this demand, so the cortisol slacks off, leaving you with a “crash” feeling of exhaustion.
Regular exercise is the key to keeping your energy levels up and cortisol levels steady. It may seem ironic when you’re so tired out, but exercising several days a week actually keeps cortisol levels stable, so you have more energy in the end.
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System has everything you need to get started with stress-busting exercises. It takes just 15 minutes, 3 days a week – but you’re welcome to “Densercise” every day if you so choose.
Have you ever had a backache and wondered what you did to cause the pain? Sometimes, it doesn’t have anything to do with strenuous activity or “throwing your back out.” It could be stress.
Stress tenses up your muscles in the flight or fight response, and tense muscles become achy and painful. If you sit at a desk for long periods each day, the pain can be even worse, and poor posture and spinal misalignment can result. Taking brisk walks and periodically stretching can help ease stress-induced back pain, and prevent bone loss.
5. Weight Gain
Considering how stress causes sugar cravings, it makes sense that reducing stress – and thus reducing your intake of sugar – would contribute to weight loss. But it may be that stress sets the stage for weight gain by altering your metabolism.
When 61 women who ate the same basic diet (high in sugar and fat) were evaluated for weight gain after one year, researchers found that those in the highest stress group gained more weight – especially abdominal fat – than those with less stress.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program can actually help prevent weight gain due to stress. Its pH-balanced nutritional plan, stress-reducing techniques described in Chapter 14, and recommendation for regular bone-building exercises all work together to prevent weight gain.
6. Poor Memory
Stress actually affects your brain, especially traumatic stress. The area of your brain responsible for generating and holding memories – the hippocampus – can actually decrease in size under severe, chronic stress.
So stress reduction is vital for regaining your memory and being able to form new ones. This is a vital component to feeling younger and happier.
7. Hair Loss
In addition to cortisol, stress can cause another group of hormones to spike: androgens. One of these androgens, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), can affect your hair follicles and induce hair loss.
Thankfully, this type of hair loss is generally temporary. Eating a pH-balanced diet as described in the Program and exercising regularly help bring these hormones back into proper balance. In addition, the Program’s delicious Foundation Foods (like silicon-rich cucumber and boron-containing celery) promote healthy skin and hair as well as youthful bones.
Bone Renewal Involves The Whole Body
Chances are, your doctor will never ask you about your stress levels in relation to osteoporosis. The flawed Medical Establishment’s approach is to identify and treat symptoms, and to target a particular body part or system – such as the bones and bone turnover – with drugs that do nothing more than cover up symptoms. Their approach doesn’t reverse the root cause of the problem.
But the Osteoporosis Reversal Program takes an integrative approach instead, incorporating the whole person – mind, emotions, and body, tackling the root cause of osteoporosis. Research shows us again and again that our state of mind affects our bodies, and vice versa.
When I wanted to regain my youthful bone density, I didn’t want to “treat” my low bone density with drugs that didn’t touch on any other aspect of my life. I decided to include my whole self in my quest for younger bones, and I gladly pass that approach on to you in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
That’s also why I like to foster a sense of community here on the site by encouraging you to leave comments about today’s post below. Please share your experience and encourage others!
Till next time,
1 Macedo, Danielle Marques and Diez-Garcia, Rosa Wanda. “Sweet craving and ghrelin and leptin levels in women during stress.” Appetite. Sept. 2014. Vol 80, pp 264-270. Web. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666314002396
2 Epel, Elissa, et al. “Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2006. 37-49. Web. https://www.chc.ucsf.edu/ame_lab/pdfs/Epel_etal_2001.pdf
Comments on this article are closed.
I am wondering what the mechanism is through which cortisol acidifies the body. I have a hard time buying arguments about food etc altering pH balance in people with uncompromised respiratory and urinary systems. A few extra exhales can put off quite a bit of CO2.
Hi Vivian: I mentioned this exercise on one of your other sites but it’s worth repeating when it comes to stress. I have a mini trampoline and have been “bouncing” on it daily for over 10 years. I am 70 and it does wonders for my balance and my mood. If I don’t feel like doing anything, just lifting my heels up and down gives me a good “workout”. I love, love, love my mini trampoline and urge all my Save Our Bones family to try it. It’s not very expensive and even fits in my bedroom at the foot of the bed.
Have been a stress freak most of my life! At 73 am having trouble with my knees and ankles. The e-mail on stress, cortisol and sugar is so informative and very useful to me. Thank you Vivien.
Good Afternoon Vivian And Fellow Commenters,
I Love Reading Your Articles Vivian, And I Love To Read Your Comments Commenters.
You All Do A Great Job!
Got To Go Now. Take Good Care Of Yourselves, And Stay Well!
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
My doctor would like me to consider the drug Prolia. Does it have the same risks as the others?
Yes, Vivian, would like to know more about Prolia; my doctor is also “pushing” it and when I said I was concerned about all the side effects, his answer was, well, they have to list them all for liability purposes. Said that it was the best one on the market that actually builds bone; can reverse osteoporosis to penia; one shot twice a year; then get re-tested for Dexa Scan. Most common side effect is joint pain.
Good Morning !
A person like you brightens the world for the rest of us.
Thank You So Much,I Appreciate your emails.I Enjoy reading your advice,I have weakness in my hips and I em hopping to avoid to go for surgery. What is the best,
Calcium-magnesium I can take.Thank you in Advance.
Re/ sugar: What about a tbs. of raw honey a day? Is this form of sugar bad for my bones?
I have been following your advice In the Save Our Bones program for the past several years. However, I find it a bit challenging to do in the 80/20 food plate. I shall keep trying though. And, thank you so much for all your emails and for looking out for us all.
Hi Vivian. I am sorry that at age 83 I have not been a very good correspondent, but I have been on your Save Your Bones program for many years now. I started out with a high risk osteoporosis diagnosis and was put on Fosamax for some 6 years. One day I slipped on the wet kitchen floor and fractured my femur. Subsequently I read about your book on the internet, stopped the Fosamax, and three years later after faithfully following your diet, my bone density was diagnosed at the high Osteopenia level. I continue to follow your diet and do the recommended exercises (which are also good for my osteoarthritis which I have had since age 35, and my diagnosed Chronic Bronchitis, which is the result of an allergy to chemicals.
I do want to thank you for your weekly emails which I read faithfully and make every effort to follow your directions,
Aloha from Hawaii where I have lived with my husband for the past 28 years, and celebrated our 57th Wedding Anniversary this past August. Would love to meet you if you ever get out this way (smile).
Thank you!!!!! This came at exactly the right time in my day / week / life. I have always thought that stress was a big factor in my osteoporosis. I was diagnosed after being married for many years to a man with bi-polar disease, followed by a painful and extended divorce after which I cared for my elderly parents for 10 years. And now – I do too much, try to be perfect and worry about things that I have no control over and may not happen anyway. I worry so much about what may be harming my bones or what MORE I might be doing to help my osteoporosis that it is probably having the opposite effect.
Vivian – you have no idea how much I appreciate your emails. Without them I would feel as though i am out there by myself since I know no one else who is trying to overcome low bone density naturally. They all go to drugs. Just yesterday my doctor tried to persuade me again to take them. I have osteopenia in my hips and femurs (density up from 2 years ago) and osteoporosis in my spine. (worse since 2 years ago.) At least I got better in two areas. 🙂
Good morning Vivian,
Thank you very much for sharing this excellent topic,
re: Stress, as well as in chapter 14 of your New Expanded
Edition book of SAVEOURBONESPROGRAM from page
155. We all know that stress is produced by major changes in life, or emotional disturbances ( such as
relocation, a job change, grief or loss or major financial
change), disease, physical injury, or prolonged demands
on one’s mental or physical endurance. But,a certain
amount of stress in our lives—-besides being inevitable
is healthy,and motivating. Our bodies are designed
to operate under reasonable levels of stress.
As Marc said, his Buddhist teacher told him in times of
stress, to stop and focus on your breath. Vivian, as for
me, I focus on the WORD of GOD, The Bible. I meditate
upon it. As I focus on HIS faithfulness, regardless of
my circumstances, I’m learning how to manage it and to
manage my own response to stress.
Vivian, I’m very grateful that I found your website six
months ago and I appreciate everything you continue
sharing with us on different topics. Thank you.
Have a wonderful day and take care always.
My Buddhist teacher told me in times of stress, stop, and focus on your breath.
Leptin is a signal from one’s fat cells to the brain that the fat cells have had enough glucose, so it’s time to stop eating. What many people with sugar cravings have is a lack of leptin sensitivity, which can only be restored by giving up sugar. Even studies from supposedly well-informed researchers call leptin ‘the hunger hormone’. The true culprit is called ghrelin.
Thank You Vivian for All the Research you must do to know so much! I Always enjoy getting your letters with all your Wisdom and Intuition i think too, from studying The Bodies System so long, especially our Bones.. And your ways of helping ones self instead of blindly accepting the doctors prescription as a cure all.. I rarely say anything on blogs, but i read this and had to say Thank You So Much! Also You Care so Much, You give out free things and other ebooks that a person just Has to have! I have a lot of Stress, that i think i have been like this since i went out on my own, 40 some years ago. Changing is so hard for me.. but to conquer things in my life has been done before, and i just have to focus hard to feel good inside me again. To eat better sure sounds Good! I crave and eat sugary things every day… And as an athlete when young, I remember the good feeling after working my body! I don’t like to call it exercise. For about 30 years the first diagnosis given was Fibromyositis (now FM), CFS, OA, OP has been helped doctor says by the biological hormones i take, IBS, ADD and DDDepresstion, i am told. I take tylenol and naprosyn for pain only when i need it, and ADD medicine, and i take Armor Thyroid for Hypothyroidism..and Supplements… oh and I have a total knee replacement. I will not quit moving! Thanks Vivian Again!! For your dedication to this subject and recipes, exercises, and knowledge. It sure is Appreciated!
I just visited this site for the first time today. I was looking for the effect of stress on skeletal system. I am glad to find this site. I have read people’s contributions and their experience with stress and bone issues. I thank God for leading me into this community
I have stressed myself for many years out of negative thinking and being pessimistic. It seemed like my muscles were in the tight mode that caused me to start bending at only 60
God is good. I have found trainers and I am now getting out pessimism and negativity. When I started this I one day felt like my whole system was stretching out and straightening.
I also had started taking Calcium and Magnesium
I am glad for finding this site. I have seen there is a close relationship between stress and bone health.