Cortisol & Its Impact on Your Health
Cortisol has been talked about quite a bit over
the past couple of years. Many commercials have
made the connection between cortisol and
‘belly-fat.’ They emphasize the fact that
excess cortisol ‘signals’ your body to store fat
in the midsection.
Cortisol does have an effect on your ability to
lose body fat. However, many people don’t
realize that cortisol is also important for a
number of other functions.
- Blood Sugar
It is important
to note that cortisol is one of your primary
stress hormones. It is produced to help your
system deal with stress, which may originate
from a number of areas:
- Fear &
(in air, food and water)
- Poor Sleep
- Bad Diet
As you can see,
there are many sources of stress that we
probably don’t think about. In addition, stress
has a cumulative effect on your health.
ongoing stress begins to deplete and exhaust
your adrenal glands. This can cause imbalances
in other areas, including:
- Thyroid – millions
of people suffer from thyroid problems,
which can result in a lack of energy, weight
gain, cold hands/feet, brittle nails, etc.
Many are taking thyroid medications to help
their thyroid function. However, whenever
possible, it is better to try natural means
of supporting thyroid function. Getting the
adrenal glands healthy can have a very
positive impact on thyroid function.
cause of poor thyroid function can often be
attributed to stress,
which overworks your adrenal glands.
your adrenals are making extra cortisol (to
deal with lots of stress), they don’t have
enough capacity to properly supply other
important hormones, i.e. progesterone,
testosterone, DHEA. These other hormones
have dramatic impact on your energy, ability
to lose weight, fatigue, memory, aging, PMS,
menopause symptoms, etc.
Important Note for Ladies: As you
approach menopause, your ovaries begin to
stop functioning. It’s now up to your
adrenals to produce estrogen, progesterone,
testosterone and DHEA. However, if your
adrenals are exhausted, how are they
supposed to compensate for the extra that
the ovaries aren’t producing anymore?
Note for Men: You
also make estrogen and testosterone. The
only difference is you make more
testosterone, while women produce more
estrogen. Remember, libido
is determined by our testosterone levels! If
you’re making too much cortisol, you may not
be making enough testosterone, which can
explain a drop in libido…it could be stress
Sugar Imbalances - Cortisol
can cause your cells to be more resistant to
insulin. This means your pancreas will have
to produce even
to stabilize your blood sugar. Since
insulin triggers fat storage – you will tend
to gain even more fat. You will also have
less energy, decreased mental abilities,
mood swings, etc.
about balance…too much, or too little
cortisol is not good. Healthy adrenal
function will help keep things in balance.
Function - Millions
of people suffer from bloating, gas,
indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux and
other irritable bowel problems. All of
these can be linked to stress and cortisol.
Excess cortisol erodes the lining of your
digestive tract via inflammation. Constant
stress also inhibits your stomach from
digesting foods properly.
- Immunity –
Elevated cortisol reduces the number of
disease fighting antibodies in your system.
Remember, more than 60% of the immune system
is located in the digestive system. If your
digestive tract is full of inflammation,
your immune function will be severely
compromised. As you can see, so many of
these functions are intricately connected.
- Sleep –
two common sleep problems are associated
with stress & cortisol.
Waking-up during the night. Many
times it’s also difficult to go back to
sleep. This is a sign that your
cortisol levels are probably low. Your
adrenals release cortisol while you
sleep to gently modulate blood sugar
levels. If your adrenal glands are
exhausted, and are not producing enough
cortisol… adrenaline will
be released to raise blood sugar. The
problem is that adrenaline is a powerful
stimulant, which quickly wakes up the
brain. No wonder you awake with all of
those stimulating thoughts!
Are you exercising, but not getting the
results you’re looking for? It’s surprising
to see how many people are
overtraining…exercising too hard. This
ultimately creates more stress, which
creates more cortisol and adrenaline –
interfering with the release of growth
hormones. Reduced growth hormones = reduced
muscle growth & recovery!
automatically assume that your cortisol is
too high, and it needs to be lowered. In
fact, people who have been suffering from
stress for long periods of time may not be
producing enough cortisol. The symptoms for low cortisol
can be similar and it may need to be raised.
This is why it’s so important not to
randomly take one of the products designed
to simply lower cortisol.
help support adrenal
function, rather than just dealing with a
One of the
be so helpful, is it contains