Is social pollution and workplace stress harming you?
I’m just going to go ahead and say yes. In fact, it may just be killing you slowly. Thats a song right? “Killing me Softly” - Thats it!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just all not work. NO. In fact studies show that those who work, without over doing it and in a job they enjoy (key word), live longer and happier lives. The key is balance. And we are talking about the not so balanced aspect of work here.
Thanks to science and public awareness, we know environmental pollution from industry harms our health.
Same goes with tobacco. But did you know “social pollution” is just as harmful? Yep. Thats a term, or if its not I’m claiming it!
And we aren’t even talking about the ramifications of EMF’s (electromagnetic fields) produced by all these electronic devices that we essentially have attached to our bodies all day long. Some people even attach then at night with these special “sleep monitors”. Might want to rethink doing that on a regular basis. Seriously.
Check out “The Non-tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to fix our stupid use of technology”. Its not as benign as you may think.
Social pollution refers to the long hours, lack of economic security, high cost of health care, exhaustion, surviving in a gig economy, lack of parental support, and high stress that has come to characterize work life in the United States and other industrialized countries. It is now recognized as they fifth leading cause of death.
In the new book Dying for a Paycheck, author and Stanford University professor Jeffrey Pfeffer uncovers the disastrous toll of modern work life on human health.
Sixty-one percent of American workers say workplace stress has made them sick,
and 7 percent have been hospitalized by it.
Workplace stress leads to the chronic diseases that make up three quarters of the health problems crushing our health care system, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) cardiovascular disease, and circulatory diseases.
Disorders such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and overeating are also linked to high stress and the erosion of family and social structures from work-related stress.
In fact, one of the worst aspects of modern work life is the effect it is having on our social support structures. It can many times destroy families.
Long, stressful hours at work breaks up marriages, children, and families, leaves too little time for healthy socializing with friends and family, and makes it difficult for single people to date or establish new relationships.
Research clearly shows regular healthy socialization is vital to good health and that isolation and lack of positive social time can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
One of the many downsides to workplace stress and social pollution is that it can keep your nervous system stuck in fight-or-flight mode. A normal stress response is to flee, fight, or freeze.
When work stress and the havoc it causes on your home life is constant, you never get a chance to unwind from being in a constant fight-or-flight state. This is what often causes or contributes to what is known as adrenal fatigue.
If you don’t know what adrenal fatigue is, I’ve talked about it many many times on my various blogs and webpages. It probably one of the most common issues we see in my office.
The chronic stress from this is devastating to brain and body health. It accelerates brain aging, causes leaky gut, raises inflammation, imbalances the hormones, and increases the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and addictive habits. Sounds great doesn’t it?
What can you do to protect yourself from social pollution and workplace stress?
Unfortunately, most of us cannot single-handedly change this unhealthy situation in which we find ourselves. However, you can be aware of and not psychologically buy into the subtle or not-so-subtle shaming and unhealthy expectations around productivity.
Companies expect longer hours at lower pay yet provide little to no job security, sick days, maternity or paternity leaves, and so on.
Be aware of this and don’t internalize the messaging that working long days with no days off makes you a better person. It doesn’t, it makes you a sicker person.
This is where my wife points her finger at me and shakes her head. I know, I know, do as I say not as I do. Its something I struggle with, I admit it, but I do a pretty good job or playing hard too and making sure I take my vacation and family time serious.
If you can downsize your housing, car payments, or other expenses, consider the positive impact living more modestly can have on your health. It could be the ticket to a dramatic health turn around. Not having to constantly make enough money to pay for this or that can make a HUGE difference.
However, not everyone can afford to downsize as many are working non-stop to barely get by. Although there is no easy answer to this, recognize your situation and don’t ask too much from yourself. It is what it is and do what you can. It doesn’t do any good to worry about that which you can’t change.
The more people that are aware of the problem, the better chance we have at changing public perception and workplace policies.
In the meantime, support your health the best you can with an anti-inflammatory diet, seek out support, and make sure to include healthy, restful, and relaxing time in your life as much as possible.
If you have a desk job and are too tired to make it to the gym, take regular breaks to move your body and go for short walks as frequently as possible. Regular physical activity is vital to the heath of your brain and body and will help protect you from the harm of workplace stress.
So go hang out with some friends and try not to worry too much. Don’t worry, be happy!
I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be Healthy, be happy.
Nitric oxide for autoimmune and chronic disorders
When it comes to autoimmune disease and other chronic health conditions, taming inflammation is the name of the game. This can be difficult because the body creates vicious cycles where inflammation keeps feeding more inflammation. This makes halting the progression of autoimmune disease and chronic health issues difficult…but not impossible.
However, we now know about nutritional ingredients that can boost anti-inflammatory efforts. These ingredients act on two inflammatory immune messengers called “nitrous oxide” and Interluekin 17 or “IL-17.”
IL-17 is a pro-inflammatory immune cell that damages body tissue, such as the thyroid gland in autoimmune Hashimoto’s, the joints in rheumatoid arthritis, or the nerve sheaths in multiple sclerosis.
IL-17 isn’t completely bad—it’s necessary to fight infection. But when the immune system becomes hyper zealous, IL-17 goes out of control and attacks the body it’s designed to protect.
IL-17 destroys tissue by activating a “inducible nitric oxide,” one of three forms of nitric oxide, a gas, involved in various processes in the body. Two other two forms of nitric oxide are beneficial and actually fight inflammation: endothelial nitric oxide and neuronal nitric oxide.
However, inducible nitric oxide is pro-inflammatory and damages body tissue under the orders of IL-17.
Therefore, one way we can stop the vicious cycle of inflammation is to dampen IL-17 and inducible nitric oxide. Luckily, there are nutritional compounds that help the body do this.
But first — perhaps you’ve heard of arginine to boost nitric oxide. Although arginine boosts the anti-inflammatory endothelial and neuronal nitric oxides, it also boosts inducible nitric oxide. So if you are fighting chronic inflammation, taking arginine may work against you.
Arginine is also touted as being good for boosting growth hormone. But, this can have down sides. Check out my previous post on Arginine and cold sores.
It’s safer instead to take nutritional compounds that studies show support endothelial nitric oxide (one of the anti-inflammatory nitric oxides). These include:
Xanthinol niacinate - a form of niacin
These compounds work synergistically taken together in an emulsified liquid form (very hard to find and generally only found in functional medicine offices). But not everybody can or should take a liquid form.
Not only does boosting endothelial nitric oxide tame inflammation, it also helps repair and regenerate body tissue, promote blood flow, dissolve plaques, and dilate blood vessels. Start with small doses to gauge effects and tolerance.
These compounds also support neuronal nitric oxide (the other anti-inflammatory nitric oxide) and thus the health of your brain and nervous system.
Exercise is another excellent way to boost beneficial nitric oxides. In fact, take these endothelial nitric oxide boosting compounds before getting your heart rate to maximum capacity for a few minutes first thing in the morning. This will optimize anti-inflammatory effects and support brain health. Nitric oxide is helpful for those of use that like to lift weights and enjoy that “pumped feeling during and after the workout.
Also, nitric oxide is what is stimulated with certain medications such viagra and heart medications for angina. Taking these supplements can also help men with issues in the bedroom. “Make you strong like oak”
You don’t have to exercise long — just a few minutes of raising your heart rate as high as you can has profound anti-inflammatory and brain supporting effects. Just be sure not to over train as that produces more inflammation. Also, how you get your heart rate up depends on your fitness level and abilities, so keep it safe and doable.
Other tools to tame inflammation include therapeutic doses of vitamin D3, omega 3 fatty acids, absorbable forms of glutathione, and therapeutic doses of emulsified resveratrol and curcumin. These compounds have been shown to dampen the the inflammatory vicious cycles associated with autoimmune and chronic disorders.
Of course, lifestyle and diet changes are vital too. This includes eliminating pro-inflammatory foods with the autoimmune diet and designing an inflammation-quenching lifestyle.
For help taming your chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorder, ask my office for advice.
Until Next time,
I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, Be happy.