'Fight or flight'
Until recently in our evolution, the threats human beings faced on a daily basis were largely of a physical nature. When confronted by a hungry lion or members of an enemy tribe we had the choice of running away or facing the danger.
What both scenarios had in common was the need for physical action, and, sensing danger, our minds prepared our bodies to face the imminent threat. This is called the “fight or flight response”, which enables us to quickly mobilise the energy required to cope with a physical threat.
Read: The symptoms of stress
Our bodies automatically respond by releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, and the larger muscles are supplied with more oxygenated blood.
However, the part of our brain that initiates the fight or flight response cannot distinguish between a real and a perceived threat, so very often a false alarm is triggered. In this case, the body prepares itself for action which never materialises.
Normally, once the perceived threat has disappeared, the stress hormones subside and our blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
However, our brains don’t know that stressful situations in the modern world mostly do not require physical action, which means that our stress hormones are being activated all the time, disrupting our normal physical processes on a constant basis.
Read: Yoga boosts stress-busting hormone, reduces pain
In a fight or flight situation (perceived or real) blood is taken away from the skin and other internal organs to supply the muscles, heart and brain with extra energy. This inhibits normal processes like digestion and puts us at risk of a large number of health problems like:
Physical activities like sport and yoga and mental disciplines like meditation can help break the cycle of stress, but many people turn to tranquilisers and other chemicals which can unfortunately lead to addiction and other side-effects.
Lactium to the rescue
Herbal tranquilisers with ingredients like valerian, gentian, hops, motherwort and wild lettuce have been around for many years and have helped many people sleep better and cope with stressful situations.
Read: Deal with stress
Recently, a promising new stress relief product from France hit the shelves. It is called Lactium® and was developed and patented by Ingredia Nutritional, a division of Ingredia S.A., a company that develops, markets, and distributes food ingredients. Lactium is derived from milk protein and is available in tablets, drinks and fortified foods.
According to the Lactium® website, Lactium is an all-natural ingredient made from cow's milk protein and is the perfect answer to stress management, providing among other things:
- Relief from stress-related symptoms
- Improved sleep quality
- Better blood pressure control
- Healthy cortisol levels
- Better cognitive levels
According to Life Extension Magazine a staggering 30% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, which, apart from its impact on mood and quality of life, can increase one’s risk for most degenerative diseases.
“Sleep is an important biological function that’s necessary for our physical and emotional well-being,” said Mitch Skop, director of new product development for Pharmachem Laboratories Inc., marketer of Lactium throughout North and Latin America. “This research has shown Lactium can help mitigate the stress that’s often associated with sleep disorders, and get people back on the path to a good night’s sleep.”
Read: New guidelines to ease insomnia
It has always been known that a glass of warm milk before bedtime helps children fall asleep and a number of years ago researchers identified the ingredient in milk that promotes restful sleep. Bioactive peptides, which are amino acid chains have a sedative effect on the brain and induce sustained sleep patterns. Similar to the tranquilisers known as benzodiazepines, these peptides act on the brain’s GABA-A receptors, but without side effects like addiction
In Europe, bioactive milk peptides have been proven to bring about relaxation, leading to deeper, more restorative sleep and improve a wide range of stress reactions.
The recommended dose for Lactium is 150mg per day, and after a period of 30 days significant improvements in symptoms relating to digestion, cognitive function, cardiovascular function and social functioning should be experienced. Lactium has no reported side effects.
Lactium is available in South Africa in combination with Zizyphus, a traditional Chinese herbal supplement used as a remedy for irritability and insomnia.
Insomnia linked to heart attack
The physiology of stress
Lactium – Stress management through nutrition
Life Extension Magazine
Mayo Clinic – Stress management
Natural Products Insider
Image: Good night from Shutterstock