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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.

  • Thyroid
  • Hormonal
  • Blood Sugar
  • Digestion
  • Immunity
  • Sleep
  • Exercise Recovery

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:

  • Worry
  • Fear & Anxiety
  • Intense Exercise
  • Chemicals (in air, food and water)
  • Illness
  • Poor Sleep
  • Bad Diet
  • Digestive Issues

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.

Ultimately, 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.

The real cause of poor thyroid function can often be attributed to stress, which overworks your adrenal glands.

  • Hormonal – If 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?

Important 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 related. 

  • Blood Sugar Imbalances - Cortisol can cause your cells to be more resistant to insulin.  This means your pancreas will have to produce even more insulin 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.

It’s all about balance…too much, or too little cortisol is not good.  Healthy adrenal function will help keep things in balance.

  • Digestive 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.

    1. Inability to fall asleep.  This is a sign that your cortisol is too high, you are still in the fight or flight mode.  This produces stimulatory brain messengers, which keep you from going to sleep.

    2.  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! 

  • Exercise Recovery – 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!

Important Note:

Don’t 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.

One of the reasons Adrenal Fuel can be so helpful, is it contains ingredients that help support adrenal function, rather than just dealing with a symptom.

 

 
 

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