Overcoming the Cycle of “DISease”

Betr Living

You wake up and you’re already late. You couldn’t fall asleep last night, so you hit the snooze button this morning. You brush your teeth for 2 seconds, jump into your work clothes, and hustle your kids off to school. 

On the way to work, you drive through your favorite coffee spot and order the extra-large with extra caffeine. 

When you get to the office, your boss tells you that the project you’ve been working on is experiencing major setbacks, so you spend the morning putting out fires. By lunchtime, when your coworkers want to order pizza…you don’t have the energy or desire to make a healthier choice. 

Sound familiar? 

Our 21st-century lives are packed with emotionally stressful situations. On top of that, thousands of environmental toxins in our food, homes, and workplaces result in our bodies constantly fighting to stay healthy. 

This “battle” results in chronic inflammation, leading to physical dysfunction and disease…which leads to more emotional stress.  At Betr, we call this the Cycle of DISease. The DIS in DISease stands for Doubt, Inflammation, and Stress.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • The normal stress cycle: “Fight or Flight” vs. “Rest and Digest.”
  • Cortisol: The Stress Hormone
  • How Betr can reverse the Cycle of DISease

“Fight or Flight” versus “Rest and Digest”

How did you feel when you were reading the beginning of this article?

Did your heartbeat and breathing speed up? Did you feel your muscles tense? 

Was your vision sharper, more focused? 

If so, you experienced the classic effects of stress on your body, called the “fight or flight” response.  “Fight or flight” occurs when our brains perceive a threat and stimulate the release of a series of hormones that cause these physical reactions.

This response is essential in a dangerous situation. Our reaction time is improved, and our body’s energy focuses on dealing with the stressful event. 

Once the threat resolves, our bodies are designed to return to the “rest and digest” state. The “rest and digest” is when the body repairs damage and continues normal, healthy processes. Our parasympathetic nervous system controls this entire cycle, from “fight or flight” to the return to resting and digesting. 

In this day and age, the emotional, environmental, and physical stressors don’t allow our parasympathetic nervous system to complete this cycle. Chronic stress keeps us in the “fight or flight” state. This leads to constantly elevated levels of stress hormones in our bloodstream– this is the first step of the Cycle of DISease. 

The primary stress hormone that contributes to weight gain, inflammation, and poor health outcomes is cortisol.


The “Stress Cycle” is essential to responding to stress in our environment. The problem occurs when we experience chronic stress.

Cortisol: Effects of the Stress Hormone

The primary stress hormone is cortisol, which fuels our “fight or flight” response. However,  its presence at high levels for extended periods can damage our health.  Elevated cortisol levels can contribute to weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, immune disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

Weight gain and blood sugar: 

If you were facing a legitimate threat, you would need energy. Cortisol works to provide this energy by increasing your blood sugar (glucose) levels and decreasing insulin, the hormone that helps your body use glucose for energy. 

Chronically elevated cortisol significantly interferes with healthy blood sugar processing by causing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that the body’s cells don’t process blood sugar correctly. 

Insulin resistance results in chronic high blood sugar, a precursor to diabetes. Chronic excess blood sugar is also stored as fat, especially in the abdomen,  leading to weight gain. 

Inflammation and immune disorders: 

In the short term, cortisol decreases inflammation. While this may seem good, it’s important to remember that some inflammation is normal and healthy. Healthy inflammation contributes to a well-functioning immune system. 

Chronically elevated cortisol levels contribute to reduced immune system functioning and a vicious hormone cycle. 

  • ↑ Cortisol = ↓ inflammation 
  • ↓ Inflammation (over time) = ↓ immune function 
  • ↓ Immune function = ↑disease and inflammation 
  • ↑ Disease and inflammation = ↑ stress
  • ↑ Stress = ↑ Cortisol

Cardiovascular disease: 

Cortisol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in numerous ways. It increases the number of circulating fat molecules in the body, heart rate, and blood pressure. 

All combined, this can lead to dangerous inflammation and buildup of fat in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. 

We’ve covered how stress contributes to the Cycle of DISease and all of the negative health impacts of being locked in that cycle.

But what can we do about it? 


Our primary stress hormone, cortisol, can have negative impacts on our blood sugar, blood pressure, and cause ongoing inflammation and immune suppression.

Gut Bacteria: Calming DISease on a Micro and Macro Scale

Betr’s key to overcoming chronic stress and inflammation is in the community of beneficial bacteria in your gut, your microbiome. When you’re in the Cycle of DISease, your gut bacteria are overwhelmed by the inflammation of chronic stress. In addition to stress and inflammation, poor diet (often resulting from stress-based cravings) is starving your microbiome.

A well-fed microbiome produces beneficial substances like anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids and chemical precursors of hormones that support numerous bodily functions. 

Betr’s Level 1 protocol is a list of anti-inflammatory foods designed to heal your microbiome.  Our members experience improved sleep, energy, and mood in just a few days!

These benefits result from healing your gut and lowering chronic inflammation throughout the body. Your gut then supports the rest of your body by producing all of the essential substances we mentioned above. 

It’s why gut health is the key to healing chronic stress and reversing the cycle of DISease.


Healing your gut and reversing inflammation is a major win in the battle against stress! 

Putting chronic stress to rest

So, what have we learned about stress and how it contributes to the cycle of DISease?

  • Stress is more than just a “feeling,” it’s part of a cycle of chronic inflammation caused by emotional, physical, and environmental stressors. At Betr, we call this the Cycle of DISease
  • The stress hormone, Cortisol, contributes to the Cycle of DISease by causing chronic inflammation
  • Chronic inflammation causes significant physical stresses that contribute to the development of diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic symptoms and disease.
  • A healthy gut microbiome can reverse the Cycle of DISease by producing essential hormones, metabolites, and neurotransmitters that support physical and mental health.
  • We can heal our microbiome through a diverse diet of high-fiber, anti-inflammatory foods, like those on Betr’s Level 1 Food List.

If you’ve been stuck in the Cycle of DISease, it’s not your fault! It’s a cultural, intergenerational cycle that can impact all of us.

It doesn’t have to, though! 

Betr can help you overcome doubt, inflammation, and stress by unlocking the natural healing power of your gut.

After reading this article, you may be asking yourself if your own health hurdles could be related to an unhealthy gut.

Explore Betr's risk-free trial to see if you could benefit from using food as medicine to rebuild your microbiome and realize the healthy potential you never knew you were missing!