Nicola Zanetti is a registered Nutritional Therapist and College Lecturer.
He holds a master’s degree in Human Nutrition and is the founder of the Natural Medicine website www.superpowerful.co.uk
Nicola main areas of focus are:
1. Stress has often been labelled the "Silent Killer" for it is directly linked to hypertension and possible arterial damage, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Disease. Could you briefly explain the role of Nitric Oxide and how it can help in maintaining healthy blood vessels?
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a molecule used in signalling in the human body, it is specifically important for the blood vessels where it acts as a powerful vasodilator, so it dilates our blood vessels; this often leads to a reduction in blood pressure.
Nitric Oxide had been noticed, in some studies, to be useful in reducing arterial stiffness and increasing blood vessels elasticity, when we are young our arteries are less stiff than when we age, this can lead to the idea that NO can help in maintaining healthy blood vessels.
See here for more info:
2. Research shows that Stress can lead to widespread inflammation (and to possible autoimmune conditions) which can originates in the gut. Do you agree? Is leaky gut a cause for systemic inflammation, and possibly to hypertension?
Nice question here.
So when it comes to leaky gut, the scientific research is a bit mixed. Some researchers accept the concept of “intestinal permeability as a source of inflammation” and some other do not.
We are, as often is in nutrition, in a realm in which we need to speculate a bit.
I, personally, think that intestinal permeability is real and that it is a major source for inflammatory conditions all the way up to the development of autoimmune conditions.
There is a 2012 review (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12016-011-8291-x) that presents all the evidence around leaky gut as a possible source of development of autoimmune conditions, I read the review and found it really interesting so I personally believe in healing the gut
3. As a Nutritionist, what would be the best prevention to hypertension and arterial damage due to stress? As an expert in supplements, are there any nutritional advise and lifestyle changes you would give people before reaching for supplements?
Ok, let’s try to explain this without becoming too boring.
In our arteries we have some enzymes called NADPH oxidases. They are a family of enzymes that can produce free radicals in the form of ROS (reactive oxygen species). These free radicals can damage the artery and lead all the way to hypertension, atherosclerosis and so on.
The activity of these enzymes, seems to be increased by stress. This research is quite new, so at the moment, we are not 100%sure if this is the case, but it seems that this link (stress to NADPH Oxidase hyper activity) is quite solid.
You can definitely use supplement to reduce stress in a person, but the best approach would be to find the cause of that stress and deal with it, once the stress is gone, the root cause is gone.
4. When people are under loads of stress, studies have shown, as explained in previous articles, that nutrients absorption is often reduced, liver functions altered, and elimination channels usually compromised, what would be the typical nutrients the body is lacking and why?
Would supplementing be therefore a necessity in highly and chronically stressed people?
At the beginning of the 90’s we had several studies trying to determine the relationship between stress and the gut flora. Especially the biggest question that these studies wanted to answer was: is it possible that, if the person is under stress, for some of our gut bacteria to translocate across the GI barrier and invade the blood stream causing health concerns?
The answer was “Stress, especially in the form of trauma, can promote bacterial translocation and therefore might be a possible cause for health concerns”.
To answer your question, I would say that supporting an healthy immune system could be a priority for the person during a period of stress, so potentially supplements, like Probiotics for example, could be very useful in these individuals.
Also consider that there are some animal studies in which we have some indication that high level of cortisol (the stress hormone) can interfere with the replication of B cells, which are in charge of producing antibodies.
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