Stress Traps that Increase Cortisol Hormone Level
For most of us, stress is associated with such grave diseases as cancer, heart attack, sterility, and high-pressure. Factually, this list could go on and on and on. In reality stress increases the production of some hormones, which slow the process of fat burning. The dominant hormone that releases in this state is Cortisol hormone. It would be naive to believe that the lack of stress will save us from most health problems. We should understand that experiencing stress is a natural reaction of the body to external and internal factors. It is simply unreal to get rid of stress completely. However, we can try to avoid some “stress traps”, which causes overweighting in most cases. They usually distinguish the following stress traps:
Stress trap #1: uncontrolled eating during as a result of stress;
Stress trap #2: eating lots of sweets, bread and flour products, pasta, potatoes to settle nerves;
Stress trap#3: nutritional imbalance, in other words eating only low fat and low carb food. This causes hormone imbalance, especially ovarian hormones and thyroid hormones;
Stress trap #4: taking different over the counter hormonal agents for self-treatment of stress. Most of such medications enhance food cravings;
Stress trap #5: physical inactivity;
Stress trap #6: taking some herbal tea for insomnia, flushes, etc. It should be noted that some herbs may inhibit the thyroid hormones function in stress;
Stress trap #7: bad health habits (excessive drinking, taking drugs and smoking). They break the efficiency of such metabolism boosters as testosterone, estradiol, T3 and T4 (the thyroid hormones).
Cortisol Weight Gain Or Cortisol Weight Loss: what’s the Truth?
Some medical professionals have a number of counter-arguments. First of all, they say that most physical activities including working out in the gym, traveling and aggression sessions promote the high production of Cortisol. But who said that it’s bad for the health?
The irony is that Cortisol alone doesn’t promote weight gain, but is also the strongest releasing hormone that promotes lipolysis (it splits fats into fatty acids that are used by the cell mitochondria for energy production) and oxidation (the very process of transformation fatty acids into energy). A high rise in Cortisol helps lose fat, and this is an integral part of any intensive training.
There is one more interesting thing concerning Cortisol weight loss function: during the process of lipolysis throughout the whole body, Cortisol tends to bypass fat depot on the stomach. This partly explains the fact that people with chronically elevated Cortisol levels are obese precisely in this area.
As it happens with most of hormones, problems begin when Cortisol level is kept at a high level for too long. It was already mentioned in our article that high level of Cortisol hormone leads to insulin resistance, excess of insulin in the blood, which leads to easy weight gain. This also causes muscle degradation, metabolic slowdown, insufficient level of testosterone in women and men, and various health problems. Besides, it’s a well-known fact that people put on weight if they get too many calories; and no Cortisol will make you get fat until you spend more calories than you get. The only problem is that when metabolism slows down, the usual portions become redundant, but the person doesn’t notice it, which leads to excess weight. The scientific community has clearly established that an excessive amount of incoming calories leads to obesity, regardless of the effects of Cortisol on the body.
Cortisol Function during the Day
It’s known that Cortisol hormone refers to the group of glucocorticoids that are produced by suprarenal capsule. Like any other hormone in our body, Cortisol has its own functions. Its key task is to transport the energy and protein stored in the fat deposits to the tissues that need it, when the body is under stress. Thus, Cortisol function involves preparing our organism for the stress impact regulating metabolic activities and being responsible for weight gain or weight loss.
Cortisol has a definite diurnal rhythm of secretion:
4-5am – the time when Cortisol level starts increasing;
8-9am – Cortisol level in its highest position;
daytime – its level gradually decreases;
night-time till 4 am – the time of the trough Cortisol level.
When we are stressed, the normal daytime rhythm can be knocked down, leading to Cortisol hormone imbalance during the day. For example, the lowest level can occur in the morning, during the day it rises and the peak can occur in the afternoon or evening. Often this is observed in middle-aged women when they notice that they wake up tired, feel all right during the day but can’t fall asleep at night.
Besides, if the Cortisol level too high during the daytime, there is a high risk of:
– Rise of blood pressure;
– Increase in cholesterol and triglycerides;
– Glucose escape;
– Increase in insulin level.
All these lead to deterioration of physiologic processes that cause the following health problems:
– Weakening of immune system;
– Skin dryness;
– Decreased libido;
– Increased vascular tone;
– Muscle weakness;
– Degradation of bone tissue.
The difficulty is that not all specialists can determine the cause of these problems, leading to the fact that they begin to treat the symptoms, rather than the disease itself, resulting in a poorly treatable condition of the patient. Thus, when prescribing Nandrolone to a patient, the doctor strives to cope with muscular degradation. However, he achieves only short-term improvements, and the saved high level of Cortisol doesn’t allow to get rid of muscle weakness completely. Different types of anabolic steroids do a better job. Their main action involves improving testosterone level in blood, which in its turn normalizes Cortisol hormone imbalance thus increasing metabolic processes, libido and the muscle tissue condition. Besides, such steroids like Sustaretard, Nebido and Testoviron 250 boost weight loss and have a positive effect on the health of joints and ligaments.
Cortisol and Weight Gain: where is the Connection?
High level of Cortisol has one more after-effect, which is extremely unpleasant and unwanted for women. The excess level of this releasing hormone make most women gain weight. It’s manifested in prominent fat deposition on:
– Chest and breast;
– Upper back;
– Upper arms.
Some women also mark facial swelling. Of course, such changes in appearance do not bring joy and cause even more stress. But it should be remembered that excessive Cortisol function is a defensive reaction of the organism, which prevents brain and heart damage, renal injury. Thus, the problem Cortisol and weight gain is absolutely real and needs a comprehensive approach.
First Signs of Excessive Effects of Cortisol on the Body
Is it possible to diagnose high Cortisol level by yourself? Most medical professionals may list some signs of hormonal imbalance that should alert any woman before she put on much weight. So, excessive hormone definition is possible when:
– A woman has a craving for a definite food product. Usually these are sweets and fatty food;
– A woman is very hungry all the time;
– A woman experiences mood change and feels qualmish and nervous, especially some days before menstruation starts;
– A woman has a fast heartbeat, again before the menstruation.
Unfortunately, most doctors and patients themselves consider that this indisposition is caused just by stress and nothing more. In this case, patients are recommended to take some anti-stress drugs. But if this state is caused by low estradiol and low testosterone, all anti-stress medications will be absolutely useless and patients will continue putting on weight.