By Christian Ogbonna
Chunks Edeogu, Professor of Nutritional and Technological Biochemistry, at Ebonyi State University, says it is impossible to entirely avoid stress in human life, but can be managed by identifying the factors that cause it.
He made the assertion during the 22nd Inaugural Lecture he delivered at the Information Technology
and Communication Centre of the university on Thursday in Abakaliki.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was held under the destinguish Chairmanship
of Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, the Vice-Chancellor of the University entitled “Biochemistry of Oxidative Stress: The
Mitigating Role of Herbal Plants.”
Edeogu, a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry, described stress as a disturbance in an individual’s
homeostatic balance, with which the body attempts to cope.
He explained that stress could be acute, that is, immediate response to stressor, or chronic, a state caused by a constant stress stimulus.
He said “the factor or event that causes stress is called a “stressor” which include physical or physiological or biochemical
changes in the body, environment, life events or behaviours.
“Stress response system in human body begins from the brain and to other organs.
“Stress can affect the body in many ways and not limited to one or two organs, or systems. Stress affects both physical and
“The effect of stress on the body may differ among people. It may vary depending on factors such as the genotype, sex,
age, physiological, biochemical conditions and past experiences of the person.
“Stress can reduce sex drive, increase depression, insomnia, weaken immune system, risk of heart attack, heartburn, high blood pressure, aging, among others.”
On stress management, the lecturer said the first step is to identify the causative factors, and then start a
good diet routine to keep mentally and physically healthy.
“Make regular exercise a part of your life. Keeping yourself active not only reduces stress but also helps in easing stress.
Physical exercise stimulates the body to release serotonin and endorphins, which help in relieving stress and boosting mood.
“Always try to have a little time for meditation and yoga exercise. Have a good social network because sitting alone with your problems will never help solve them.”
He commended the use of herbal medicines among people, noting that Nigeria is greatly endowed with the biodiversity of herbal plants that have been exploited in healthcare delivery system, particularly in rural settings.
He added that “available statistics show that majority of Nigerians still use herbs, and the herbal remedies are efficient in spite of the rapid expansion of conventional medicine.”
He stressed the need to deploy herbal plants like moringa oleifera in life-threatening problems, especially oxidative stress, and described Oxidative stress as “disturbance in the balance between the production of free radicals and antioxidants in favour of the oxidants.
“This can lead to cell damage at the molecular level,” he added.
Earlier in his opening remark, Ogbu, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, had tasked other professors in the school with the importance of the inaugural lecture as it promotes academic activities.