In yesterday's blog we addressed the first stage "Alarm" of general adaptation syndrome. Today, we will take a look at the final two stages "Resistance" and "Exhaustion."
Stage Two: Resistance
This stage is the stage where adaptive changes take place. Increased fitness is a perfect example of an adaptive response to physical stress. When the adaptation occurs, the individual returns to "homeostasis" or normal equilibrium. In other words, following a huge outlay of physical exertion or prolonged stress, the body returns quickly, without compromise, to normal function and a general state of well-being. However, each individual’s capacity to adapt is limited and completely unique. When an individual’s adaptive capacity is overwhelmed, there is a greater risk of illness or injury. So, when the body fails to adapt to physical, emotional or biological stresses, then it enters the final stage – exhaustion.
Stage Three: Exhaustion
This stage is characterized by the observed onset of symptoms of extreme fatigue, including injury or illness. Fatigue is a constant feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, weakness, lack of energy, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and/or difficulty starting and completing tasks.
Adaptogens - The Power of Herbs
When adaptogens are added, the person still has an appropriate response to a stressful event, but the changes in cell function that result are more moderate and have less of an adverse effect on the entire body. The general action of adaptogens is well demonstrated by looking at the effect of stress on blood glucose levels. Shortly after a person becomes stressed, the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) cause a rapid increase in blood glucose. Once it peaks, the blood glucose rapidly falls to lower than normal levels. Adaptogens moderate this response. In other words, adaptogens do not block the stress response; rather, they smooth out the roller coaster highs and lows associated with the stress response. This conserves valuable energy in the alarm phase for use in the resistance phase.