De-Stress your life

February 7, 2009 6:45:55 AM PST
The stress you're under on a daily basis could lead to clinical depression, obesity, chronic illness or even life-threatening diseases. Dr. Jim LaValle, founder of LaValle Metabolic Institute and author of "Cracking the Metabolic Code," joined us with tips. 1. You're known as a metabolic investigator. What does that mean and what type of patients do you treat at your clinic?
There are so many factors that can affect the inability to lose weight, overcome fatigue, solve chronic aches and pains, lower high blood pressure or cholesterol and just feel good again- so I like to find out how this affects metabolism and how it may be manifesting into what you are feeling. Many people come to our clinic in search of answers to improve their quality of life. We have physicians, nurses, dietitians and other specialists on hand to meet with a patient and determine a plan specific to that individual.

2. How harmful is stress to our health? Why are our bodies not equipped to handle the stress we experience today?
Stress actually plays a role in over 85 percent of diseases today. In fact, our daily stress from society's pressures could be igniting clinical depression, obesity, chronic illness or even life-threatening diseases. Too many people don't realize chronic stress right away- Dealing with pressures such as 14-hour workdays, red-eye flights, traffic and paying bills often results in self-medicating with other stressors like alcohol, caffeine or other stimulants, which ultimately puts our metabolism in a tailspin.

3. How can we avoid stressful situations? How can we manage stress?
We sometimes cannot change the stress factors in our lives (children, taking care of loved ones, etc.) but we can change how our body responds to these situations with things like exercise or taking 5 minutes at the end of the day to decompress.

4. Can you take us through a mini-stress test so we can gauge our risk factors?
1. Do you crave sweets, carbs and salty foods? And are you gaining weight especially belly fat?
2. Do you need caffeine frequently throughout the day to stay alert?
3. Do you notice that you are snapping at family members and co-workers?
4. Do you have trouble sleeping or waking up in the middle of the night?
5. Do you get more than your fair share of flu bugs and colds?
6. Do you feel anxious or nervous?

**If you answered YES to any of the above questions, stress could be playing a role in your metabolism, which can lead to short-term and long-term health problems. **

5. How does stress relate to adrenal function? What does it mean if someone has adrenal exhaustion? Can it be measured?
The adrenal cortex secretes more than 30 different steroids and hormones, one of which is Cortisol, the principal hormone secreted in reaction to stress, and is necessary for many functions in the body. Adrenal exhaustion is really a byproduct of modern living, which can result in headaches, irritability or anxiousness, fatigue, salt cravings, blue circles under the eyes, plummeting energy by the middle of the day, memory lapses and insomnia. You can determine how well your adrenal glands are coping with your lifestyle by taking two blood pressure readings- the first one lying down, then get up and quickly take another reading, if the second reading produces a lower number, suspect adrenal dysfunction.

6. How does stress affect obesity, depression and other diseases? How does this relate to your metabolism?
The stress that wears away at our bodies and minds day after day is what ultimately wears down our metabolism. Most people associate the body's metabolism with their weight, but don't realize that the metabolism can have a strong influence on body's ability to fight illness, fend off disease and deal with the demands of life.

7. You say there are three "relationship killers" when it comes to our bodies. What are they and how do we get rid of them?
The first one is that there is way too much caffeine consumption today, the second is sugar which causes us to gain belly fat and finally as a whole, we are not getting enough sleep.

8. What is your "anti-stress cocktail" and how can we add it to our daily routine to lessen the effects of stress on our health?
The overuse of over-the-counter and prescription stimulants can place enormous stress on adrenal function, and the short-term energy boost they provide can ultimately exhaust the adrenals leading to chronic exhaustion for years to come. So, at the clinic, we suggest multivitamins, B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals to support adrenal function rather than exhaust it.

9. Where can our viewers get more information about LaValle Metabolic Institute or take a comprehensive metabolic test?
Your viewers can interact more with me at or my book, "Cracking the Metabolic Code" has a much more in-depth stress and metabolic test your viewers can take.

For more information, visit