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Chemical Stressors- Common doesn't equate to normal!

Chemical Stressors

Last week we chatted about the consequences of being exposed to physical stressors/trauma and how it jeopardizes our vertebra, nervous system, and therefore health. This week, my goal is to dive into some of the unseen stressors of the chemical variety, that though invisible, have the potential to have just as significant of an impact.


Let’s begin with a subtopic that is near and dear to my heart: nutrition. It is a field that is ever-growing as we continue to more accurately understand (at a microscopic level) what proper/improper intake can do to our bodies.


Though this is a passion of mine, it is newfound, at best. See, I used to despise the mental picture of a ritzy family going into a store just to buy the organic and health-conscious (and triple the price) options, just because they could. After all, what was wrong with my Spam and Kraft Mac-and-cheese anyways? But, the more that I’ve dabbled in this arena, the more my concern begins to grow for specific ingredients that we place into our foods here in the States.


Certain beverages aren’t much different. I’ll be vulnerable with y’all for a minute: I cannot stand the taste of coffee. But, if your boy ‘needs’ a caffeine fix in preparing for an exam, the zero cal Monster energy drinks have become my go-to. However, 1) I don’t know what half of the listed ingredients are. 2) I’m not sure how healthy it is to have 5x the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12, in one can and 3) Am I now caffeine dependent?


The last question specifically has had me stumped for a few months. I’ve noticed that if I decrease or alleviate caffeine intake, everything slumps: performance, overall energy, alertness, concentration, motivation, etc. Yes, I think I may have crossed the threshold into caffeine addict. L


“What’s the big deal?” You may ask. Personally, I do not think that we were created to be addicted to specific substances. In my individual example with caffeine, my body responds with more perceived alertness and sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) capabilities. That may be fine and dandy in the moment, but if I’m not allowing my body the recoup and restoration needed because of these continual “fixes,” my parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) can’t reset the balance. This is when you begin to see injuries, and compromised immune function, and even additional sluggishness as we naturally are just trying to return to homeostasis (our body’s set-point or normal).


This personal caffeine “issue” is common. Common doesn’t equate to normal, but if the world’s most-consumed drug can cause these potential issues, imagine what happens to our bodies when we introduce nicotine or excessive alcohol consumption…or worse. In the former example, we are talking about the well-documented damage to lungs, kidneys, respiratory pathways, etc. In the latter, we are concerned about an altered state of mind, irreplaceable liver damage, and compromised decision-making, to name just a few. Be wary of these things and ask yourself: “Self. At what point does an external chemical that I consume become a toxic poison?”


Now, my goal in blogging about this is not to sound like your 5th grade health teacher, the D.A.R.E. Program, or even your mother. So, please don’t pass this message off. However, our bodies are amazing. We create, move, work, breathe, play, conquer, adapt, etc. And in order to do all of these elements of life (and many more), we were created with an output and recovery system. We compromise these natural processes when we introduce chemicals into our systems, that weren’t there to begin with.


That being said, I do believe that there is a time and a place for prescription medications, a good cup of coffee (let me know if you ever find one lol), and additional external resources to help our body repair above and beyond what we would/could do without intervention. But, so long as it is in our control, let us combat the chemicals that could alter our potential! You wouldn’t willingly pour sludge into a Ferrari, would you? Fuel the machine properly, get adequate sleep and hydration, get adjusted, and consume (proper) external chemicals with caution and sparingly. Always keep one of our mantras in mind: “Control the controllables and take ownership over your own health!”


Until next time,

– Brock Baumgarn, CA, Nutrition Consultant, Health 1st Chiropractic

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