Stress can trigger an immune response

Mitochondrial DNA is one of the most sensitive substances in your body

Stress can alter your DNA
No wonder your blood pressure is high!

Recent research conducted at Columbia University has found the role mitochondrial DNA plays in the stress response causing inflammation in the body.

According to researcher Martin Picard.  Mitochondrial DNA is ejected from cells. This, in turn, mimics the adrenal glands’ release of cortisol in response to stress. The scientists found in an experiment,  mitochondrial DNA levels more than doubled 30 minutes, after volunteers were put through a highly stressful situation.

So what effect does stress have on the body?

During our fight-or-flight response, extreme demands are placed on our mitochondria. Very speedily, they need to produce much more energy to fuel our escape mechanism – tensing muscles, racing heart, and getting out of breath – all are damaging to our cells.

The mitochondria do not repair effectively and can lead to damage to the brain. Especially vulnerable is the hippocampus, which deals with short-term memory. It can also affect the hypothalamus and our blood.

Mitochondrial DNA mutations are linked with ASD, arthritis, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Apparently high levels make anti-depressants less effective.

So this shows the need to manage our stress effectively if we don’t want to suffer from some of these diseases as we age. As a hypnotherapist I have observed how anxiety often increases with age. Especially around fear of falling over, muscle strength, forgetfulness or eye-sight diminishing.

Once we start to feel stressed all the time it can become a vicious cycle and can affect our gut flora and trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Building confidence can help, as can making sure you have a balanced diet. Look at the things which are making you feel stressed and deal with them one step at a time.

See original findings in