Cortisol - The influence of stress on weight
Reduce cortisol to reduce belly fat
Cortisol is created in the pituitary gland of the body and helps produce energy, regulate blood sugar and inflammation, and aid the immune system. As a result, when people have high levels of cortisol in the body, they may experience weight gain (especially in the abdomen), advanced aging, stomach ulcers and a weakened immune system.
Cortisol is released in larger amounts during times of stress, producing the "fight or flight" response. Since it is a survival hormone, cortisol stimulates glucose production and triggers a hunger response in the brain, while signalling cells to store as much fat as possible. Weight gain due to excessive cortisol levels tends to accumulate in the belly. In order to lose belly fat and reduce cortisol levels, some changes in lifestyle might be required.
· Get eight hours of sleep. Lack of sleep is a common stressor that can be easily rectified. Those who get less than eight hours of sleep are far more prone to produce higher levels of cortisol. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, natural remedies like chamomile tea, valerian root or melatonin might help.
· Eat a small meal containing protein and complex carbohydrates every two to three hours to keep your metabolism steady and your blood sugar stable. Excessive dieting or going without meals for long periods of time places undue physical stress on the body, which can elevate cortisol.
· Reduce or eliminate stress from your daily life. This might require you to delegate some of your
· responsibilities to other people or reduce your work load in other ways. If emotional stress is a factor, seek counselling to help resolve or alleviate those issues.
· Eat healthy foods. Reduce or eliminate caffeine, since it stimulates cortisol production. Ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of protein, fibre and greens. This is important since cortisol promotes cravings of fat and sugar, which might limit intake of healthy foods and increase belly fat.
· Avoid a calorie-restrictive diet. Too few calories will stress the body, which will produce more cortisol and trigger a fat-retention effect.
· Regular exercise, four to five times a week, can naturally lower cortisol levels and maintain a healthy weight. Excessive exercise, however, can increase cortisol levels.
· Nourish the adrenal glands with the following House of Health products: Mega B&C - 1 x tablet twice a day, Spirulina 2 x tablets three times a day. Lecithin 1 x capsule just before bedtime, Super Cal Mag – 3 x tablets just before bed time.
· Some anxiety and stress management techniques that work for you... listening to relaxing music, a brisk walk, gardening, petting your cat (or dog), yoga, meditation, tai-chi, breathing exercises, therapeutic massage, a hobby, journaling, or any other enjoyable activity that kicks your endorphins and makes you release stress, - except eating, of course!!.
Adrenal Fatigue and High Cortisol Symptoms to watch for when you have high cortisol levels are:
Medical research also lists among the high cortisol symptoms a condition called Cushing's Syndrome. While in men it manifests as a loss of libido and low fertility level, in women the symptoms can vary from growth of hair on the face to irregular menstrual cycles. In fact, under intense and prolonged stress, women may even experience premature menopause.
Submitted by Stuart Wilson