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How to Combat Stress with Functional Medicine in Toronto


Stress is challenging – in fact, many patients of functional medicine in Toronto will admit that daily stressors, like workload and commuting, can take a toll physically and mentally.

Unfortunately, when demands become taxing, the body perceives stress as a threat. We then naturally respond in various ways, such as worrying thoughts, high blood pressure, excessive fatigue, heart palpitations, lack of appetite or eating too much, and so on.

What does stress do to the body? How can we help alleviate our worries? Below, the TFMC highlights facts you may not know about stress. We also bring to mind supplements and activities for your daily life that may act as tension-busters. Read on:

Functional Medicine Approach: What Does Stress Do?

Some people thrive on stress. Others though may perceive it as taxing to their mental emotional health. Negative stress triggers can then build up to acute stress (stress happening for a short window of time) or chronic stress (when it veers into a long length of time).

In particular, stress impacts cortisol levels, which is something that Toronto functional medicine doctors would explain to you. Cortisol is a hormone from the adrenal glands that is directly involved in the “fight-or-flight” response; this particular response enables you to react to what the body perceives as a life-threatening situation. A fight-or-flight response has several functions: it helps with regulating sleep-wake cycles, heightens energy levels, encourages the body to reduce inflammation, and controls blood pressure.

Stress is known to intensify cortisol levels, which can interfere with functions like sleep, mood, digestion, and memory: “For instance, when your body is on high alert, cortisol can alter or shut down functions that get in the way. These might include your digestive or reproductive systems, your immune system, or even your growth processes,” explains WebMD.

Potential Functional Medicine Stress-Busters

So what can we do to reduce stress and balance cortisol? Toronto health food stores offer a wide selection of stress support supplements, but sometimes this can cause confusion. So as integrative medicine practitioners, we may recommend the functional medicine approach to stress such as supplements and lifestyle factors:

  • Adaptogens: This group of herbs may help with easing tension; actually, eastern medicine has already recognized adaptogens for many centuries. Adaptogens help you “adapt” to stress, which contributes to balancing cortisol levels. By encouraging cortisol levels to lessen, adaptogens can also aid with insomnia, pain and the prevention of chronic diseases. As written in the journal Pharmaceuticals, “It was suggested that adaptogens have not only specific therapeutic effects in some stress-induced and stress-related disorders, but will also have an impact on the quality of life of patients when implemented as adjuvants in the standard therapy of many chronic diseases and pathological conditions…”
  • Magnesium: This mineral is essential for stress management. As reported in Nutrients, magnesium deficiencies and reactions to stress are linked. “Severe magnesium deficiency is rare, but chronic latent deficiency appears to be common among the general population and even more among those suffering from a number of chronic diseases or stress.” If you want to improve your magnesium uptake for stress reduction and optimal health, read this post about the different types of magnesium available in Toronto.
  • Reevaluate your lifestyle: Many studies have shown a correlation between lifestyle factors and stress. So consider reevaluating your lifestyle. For instance, do you get enough sleep? A lack of sleep can raise your cortisol levels. Do you know what exactly stresses you out? Consider seeing an integrative functional medicine practitioner to help you with recognizing triggers and implementing mindfulness.

Stressed? Reach Out to the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre

Which stress-busting supplements are suitable for you? How can we change some lifestyle factors to lower stress levels? Let’s talk about relieving stress with evidence-based functional medicine practices.

The TFMC is passionate about integrative medicine and functional medicine education. Our personalized medicine plans involve integrated patient care, which are designed to help treat numerous conditions and concerns, including: hormone imbalances (hormone optimization programs), chronic issues, irritable bowel syndrome, blood pressure, thyroid support, infertility, and others.

Our integrative care for patients may include the following treatments: Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture for pain relief, naturopathic and herbal medicine, medically-supervised IV therapy, and allopathic/western medicine. Functional medicine testing is also offered at our clinic.

You’re invited to wind down at our center for functional medicine. Call (416) 968-6961 to learn how functional medicine in Toronto may help with lessening stress.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.


LeBlanc, Vicki R. The Effects of Acute Stress on Performance: Implications for Health Professions Education, Academic Medicine: October 2009 – Volume 84 – Issue 10 – p S25-S33 doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b37b8f

Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):188-224. Published 2010 Jan 19. doi:10.3390/ph3010188

Pickering G, Mazur A, Trousselard M, et al. Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3672. Published 2020 Nov 28. doi:10.3390/nu12123672

Sanada K, Montero-Marin J, Alda Díez M, et al. Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Salivary Cortisol in Healthy Adults: A Meta-Analytical Review. Front Physiol. 2016;7:471. Published 2016 Oct 19. doi:10.3389/fphys.2016.00471

Sarah Mae Sincero (Feb 12, 2012). How does Stress Affect Performance?. Retrieved Nov 24, 2021 from

Stress”, medically reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD, on November 1, 2021. Viewed on WebMD on November 26, 2021.

“What is cortisol?” medically reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on December 13, 2020, viewed on November 26, 2021.



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