Stress as far back as early childhood can influence the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) create a trauma response that activates stress responses and can reactivate into adulthood when triggered. Some ACEs with long-lasting effects include:
- Parents separating or divorcing
- Living with a parent or sibling who has mental health concerns
- Witnessing emotional and physical abuse of a parent or sibling
- Having a family member be incarcerated
- Being sexually abused
- Not feeling safe at home
- Lack of proper nutrition, clothing, or shelter
- Death of a parent or sibling
Growing up with one or more ACEs may set the pattern for stress-related health problems caused by stress responses and lifestyle habits. Chronic ACEs leave our bodies accustomed to releasing stress hormones and overreacting to mildly stressful situations. This hypervigilance carries into adult life, and the stress hormones associated with this response, including cortisol, remain at high levels in the body.
How Stress Hormones and Immune Response Accelerate Metabolic Syndrome
Even without ACEs, adolescents and adults who experience chronic stress typically have high levels of cortisol and other stress hormones. These hormones inhibit the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, causing physiological changes. Coupled with an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and additional factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol and obesity, increase the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Chronic trauma and stress activate the body's stress response, causing a flood of stress hormones, activating the immune system. This cascade of hormones and immune system activation triggers inflammation. As we've discussed, inflammation damages the lining of cells and begins a slow disease process.
The cascade of stress hormones throughout the body also causes the hypothalamus to kick into overtime. The hypothalamus maintains internal balance, known as homeostasis, by either stimulating or slowing down critical functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. When the hypothalamus activates, receptors promote hunger, and an increase in caloric intake leads to weight gain. This activation also causes a selection of high-calorie, comfort foods, instead of healthier options.
Stress isn’t always bad. Short-term stress is necessary in dangerous situations or when competing in physical competitions. The hormones released to increase body functions return to normal once the activity resolves. This type of stress does not cause damage. Instead, chronic stress is the precursor for metabolic breakdown. Chronic stress also causes a shift in fat stores, creating excess abdominal fat and increasing fat storage of the liver and other body areas
Illustrating the effects of chronic stress provides a basis for the development of metabolic syndrome and the acceleration of disease in someone who may already have risk factors. If chronic stress continues for years, even in a healthy adult, metabolic syndrome is an inevitable possible side effect of the onslaught of stress hormones and immune response.
Acai Seed in the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
Acai is a palm tree native to South America that produces dark purple berries found to have medicinal properties. The berry and its seeds contain powerful antioxidants shown to protect cells from damage due to disease and inflammation. These antioxidants are touted as being able to reduce systemic swelling, lower blood sugar levels and boost the immune system.
Through a team of scientists and physicians, a Brazilian Laboratory discovered a way to harvest the potent polyphenols found in acai seed. Polyphenols are an antioxidant that protects the body's tissues from damage-causing diseases, including MetS. Polyphenols are natural plant-based compounds found in acai seeds.
Power Seed Acai Supplement contains the extract of acai seeds, which have 50 times more polyphenols than the pulp or the juice. Scientific evidence and clinical trials show that acai seed is a significant force in preventing and reducing metabolic syndrome.