Eustress: Acute stress that disappears quickly and is not repeated chronically at a level the individual cannot respond to adequately (recover). Eustress is known as 'good stress' and appropriate physical exercise is an example which tends to improve health and fitness. Eustress tends to be associated with psychological and physiological arousal rather than anxiety. Any stress that is chronic has the potential to become distress. See also the GUS Stress Category.

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1. Biomechanics. The resistance of a body or structure to the deforming actions of an applied load. In mathematics stress is identified by the Greek letter Sigma: s.

2. Psychology. The general physiological and psychological response of an individual to real or perceived adverse stimulus, whether internal or external, that disturbs the individual's homeostasis. A significant imbalance between demand and response capability where failure to meet that demand disrupts homeostasis or has important consequences. Stressors (stimulus) and stress are sometimes confused. It is important to note that an adverse event or circumstance is not, in itself, stress, but a stimulus that leads to stress, which is the response to that event or circumstance. However chronic and multiple stressors are associated with a host of ill-health effects. Not all stress is negative, though. See eustress and distress. Also see the GUS Stress Category.

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Distress: The negative stress that results from demand placed on an individual which outstrip the individual's ability to respond and recover, thus resulting in an imbalanced and unhealthful state. Distress can occur because of positive or negative stressors if the stressors are too frequent, multiple, or great. Also see the GUS Stress Category.

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Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome

When Hans Selye was experimenting on rats by inflicting stress them either by injecting them with hormones or chemicals, making surgical incisions or exposing them to extreme temperatures, he noticed that the rats were all displaying the same group of symptoms. At first he believed that he had discovered a new hormone1; however, several years of further testing by injecting the rats with other substances, such as formaldehyde, revealed the same results. Even exposure to cold, cutting their spinal cords and forced exercise produced the same effects. The effects occurred in a predictable sequence that is now known as the General Adaptation Syndrome2 (GAS).

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Vitamin B6: Functions, Complexities, and History

In recent years vitamin B6 has become a focus of research describing the compound’s critical function in cellular metabolism and stress response. For many years the sole function of vitamin B6 was considered to be that of an enzymatic cofactor. However, recently it became clear that it is also a potent antioxidant that effectively quenches reactive oxygen species and is thus of high importance for cellular well-being. In view of the recent findings, the current review takes a look back and summarizes the discovery of vitamin B6 and the elucidation of its structure and biosynthetic pathways. It provides a detailed overview on vitamin B6 both as a cofactor and a protective compound. Besides these general characteristics of the vitamin, the review also outlines the current literature on vitamin B6 derivatives and elaborates on recent findings that provide new insights into transport and catabolism of the compound and on its impact on human health.

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