Stress is part of modern life, and something we all experience from time to time. A little bit of stress can even be helpful - it gives us motivation and excitement. But too much stress can have a negative effect on health, leading to a wide range of problems. In fact, research from the Mental Health Foundation
reveals 74% of people have felt unable to cope at some point in the previous year, due to stress. As part of Stress Awareness Day, we are exploring how collagen can help manage the effects of stress and sharing some top nutrition tips to boost your energy and resilience.
What is stress?
Stress is the feeling we get when we’re dealing with too much emotional pressure. Everyone has their own unique capacity for handling stressful situations. This capacity is influenced by different factors such as diet, sleep, hormone balance, personal history of stress, and how supported you feel emotionally. Our capacity for handling stress can vary with age. You might have been able to handle a high-pressure job and very little sleep in your twenties but feel much less resilient in your forties – this is perfectly normal. Recognising your own limits for stress is a key part of self-care. We might not be able to escape stress, but we can decide how to respond and take steps to strengthen our resilience. The first step is to spot how stress affects your health.
How does stress affect the body?
Whenever we experience stress, the body activates the fight or flight response. The adrenal glands (two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys) release adrenaline and noradrenaline, which help us fight the stress or run away from it by:
- Increasing heart rate
- Increasing blood pressure
- Making breathing faster and shallower
- Diverting blood away from the skin and digestive system to the vital organs and muscles instead
- Dilating pupils
- These rapid changes are designed as a short-term response to stress. However, most people now suffer from the effects of long-term stress.
- Chronic stress
- The body deals with long-term stress by raising cortisol levels. Cortisol influences the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, and affects immunity, inflammation, and mental wellbeing.
- Symptoms of long-term stress
Some of the most common symptoms of long-term stress
- Low immunity and frequent infections
- Weight gain around the tummy and abdomen
- Poor skin health
- Anxiety and depression
- Indigestion and heartburn
- Feeling nauseous
- High blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Low self esteem
- Poor memory and low concentration
How can collagen help?
Collagen is the main component of all connective tissue. But it does more than just keep joints and muscles working properly! The unique Bioactive Collagen Peptides® in Pura Collagen formulas are proven to have specific actions in certain parts of the body. Along with their co-factor ingredients, these collagen peptides can help your body resist the negative effects of stress.
Difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep is a common symptom of stress. Overwork, long hours spent at a screen, and intrusive anxious thoughts can disrupt healthy sleep patterns. Our sleep formula contains PEPTIPLUS® collagen peptides which are widely absorbed across most collagen receptor sites in the body. They support the healing and repair processes that take place during sleep. The sleep blend
also contains minerals and amino acids that support the nervous system in handling stress:
- Magnesium is known as the anti-stress mineral. It helps muscles to relax and is needed to make serotonin, the positive mood chemical, and melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- L-theanine and glycine are amino acids known to improve sleep quality and alleviate anxiety and depression.
- 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the precursor to serotonin, the mood enhancing neurotransmitter, which is further converted in the brain to become melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Long term stress can alter the normal balanced immune response, leading to an increased risk of developing food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions. The combination of stress and poor sleep has a double effect on the immune system, as a lack of sleep compromises our immune defences against infection. One study showed that people exposed to the cold virus
after a week of 5 hours sleep per night had an infection rate of 50%, compared to only 18% in the participants who had 7 hours sleep each night. Our protect formula
contains the IMMUPEPTTM collagen peptides proven to help regulate an effective immune response
. They are combined with:
- Vitamin C, shown to reduce tiredness and fatigue and protect cells from inflammatory damage
- Iron to aid energy levels and support immune defences
- Ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties
- Zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 to strengthen immunity and support cognitive function
Skin health and joint care
Long-term stress leads to chronic low-grade inflammation which can damage the collagen structures in skin
and joints. This can accelerate the ageing process, leading to fine lines and wrinkles, and joint aches and pains. Our glow+
formulas provide targeted support to skin and joint tissues, stimulating collagen production and tissue repair.
Eat for wellbeing
The right food choices can make it easier to handle chronic stress. Giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs, helps to support energy levels, mood balance, and your capacity to cope. Try these 5 top tips for eating well:
- Swap refined carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta for wholegrain alternatives.
- Include a palm-sized portion of protein with each meal: fish, eggs, meat, beans, pulses, and tofu are all good options.
- Enjoy a range of colourful fruits and vegetables each day – aim for 5 vegetables and 2 fruits. Frozen varieties are fine if fresh ones are unavailable.
- Minimise caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
- Swap regular tea and coffee for calming herbal infusions like chamomile, lemon balm, fennel, and valerian.
For more information on collagen itself have a look at our blog, ‘What is Collagen and How Does it Work?’
and head to the store
to find our full range of Pura Collagen products.