Cortisol and weight gain? Is too much cortisol bad for you? Look! Gone are the days when weight gain was simply based on the amount of calories consumed.
Nutritionists have gone a step further and long since discovered that the hormone, cortisol also plays an important role in weight gain.
But what exactly is cortisol and what is the relationship between cortisol and weight gain?
What is the Cortisol Hormone
The cortisol hormone is one of the most important hormones in the human body. Your body’s adrenal glands produce the cortisol hormone.
It is responsible for helping your body to cope with stress and daily survival. The hormone works with your brain in order to control your fear, mood, and motivation.
It is the body’s main stress hormone.
Apart from the known fact that cortisol helps to serve as your body’s survival instinct when in crisis, it also plays a number of roles in the daily functioning of your body system.
Some of these include;
- Cortisol helps to manage how the body utilizes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
- The hormone also plays an important role in reducing inflammation.
- It helps to regulate the body’s blood sugar.
- Cortisol hormone also controls your sleep and wake cycle.
- Most importantly, the hormone helps to boost your body’s energy level. This it does in order to help the body handle stress and also restore balance immediately after.
How Does The Cortisol Hormone Work
The human brain has the ability to sense if the blood contains just about the right level of cortisol.
If the brain senses that the level of cortisol is low, it increases the amount of the hormone it produces.
The adrenal glands recognize these signs and fine-tune the amount of cortisol hormone it releases into your body.
Most cells in your body contain cortisol receptors. These receptors receive and use the cortisol hormones that are released into your body in different ways.
The basic idea is that your body’s cortisol needs will always be different as the day goes by.
For example, there are days when your body is on a high alert. In days like this, the cortisol can shut down or alter other functions that can get in the way.
Some of these can even include the immune system, growth process, or even the reproductive and digestive system.
Cortisol and Stress Level, Studies
Right after your body senses that the danger or pressure is no more, the cortisol level should normally start to reduce.
The other body systems that have previously been shut down should also start resuming their normal functions.
However, there are instances when the cortisol level won’t just go down.
What if you undergo constant stress on a daily basis? What if you are always under a lot of pressure every day?
Well, you guessed right. Your body’s alarm button simply stays on.
The implication of this is enormous. Apart from the fact that it can impede the proper functioning of your body system, it can also lead to a host of other health-related problems.
Symptoms of High Cortisol Levels
However, apart from the obvious relationship between cortisol and weight gain, the hormone can also cause other problems which include;
- Concentration and memory problems
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Depression and anxiety
- Heart diseases
- Digestion problems.
For the purpose of this article, we shall look at the relationship between cortisol and weight gain.
We shall examine the impact it has on belly fat and we shall look at the various ways to get rid of cortisol belly fat.
Cortisol and Weight Gain: How to Lose Stress Weight?
Cortisol contributes to weight gain by a number of ways. When the body’s cortisol level remains high, the body assumes that the individual is going through a hard time.
The body thinks that this person may possibly starve. When this happens, the cortisol will begin to store more fat in the body’s mid-section.
By doing so, the body assumes that it is helping the individual to prepare for the period of famine. As a result of these activities, the insulin level also gets increased.
As you probably know by now, the insulin is the body’s fat storage hormone.
Also, a high cortisol is known to also increase the blood sugar of your body. The idea here is that the increased blood sugar will get you through that stressful situation you find yourself.
However, a high blood sugar just means that your sugar cravings will increase.
As you can see, virtually every process here just leads to increased fat.
This will all lead to an increase in body fat.
Most times, you wonder how possible it is that anytime you trouble sleeping, you always crave sugary foods. The logic is simple.
Even though your cortisol levels should be at the lowest at night, anytime you have trouble sleeping during this period, your body interprets it as being in a stressful situation.
The cortisol level refuses to go down and it will continually crave sugary foods in order to maintain your high blood sugar.
So what’s the problem?
It believes the high blood sugar will help you get through that stressful situation.
As you can see by now, cortisol and fat storage go hand in hand. Now the question is, “how do you reduce hormonal belly fat?”
How To Reduce Hormonal Belly Fat and Stop Cortisol Weight Gain
Hormones and belly fat go hand in hand. Gone are the days when we thought only the consumption of junks was responsible for belly fat.
It is obvious that your body’s hormones, especially the cortisol hormone, also contribute to weight gain. In order to lose belly fat, we must know how to reduce cortisol.
Given the relationship between cortisol and weight gain, it’s no wonder that various belly fat cortisol supplements have cropped up. Let’s take a look at these supplements.
Belly Fat Cortisol Supplements
Bringing your body’s cortisol level back into balance is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to cortisol and weight gain.
There are supplements that can help to accelerate these processes and stop cortisol weight gain.
We take a look at the best supplements on the market that can help in cortisol fat loss;
You might not know, but many foods you consume today contain Choline Bitartrate.
Foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, and so on have this supplement in it.
The body is also known to produce a little percentage of this supplement.
However, even though we can find this basic supplement all around us, a large percentage of the population is still deficient in it.
The supplement not only reduces anxiety and cortisol, it also helps to improve your focus and memory.
According to the research , choline may be able to lower immune inflammation and also suppress oxidative stress in asthma patients.
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract
The Ginkgo Biloba is another supplement that can help you solve the problem between cortisol and weight gain.
This effective supplement is a plant extract that has been used for decades in Chinese medicine.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract is known to help boost memory and reduce the rise of the body’s blood pressure and also limit the release of cortisol during stress.
This is one supplement you should include in your cortisol and weight gain prevention arsenal.
The theanine is an amino acid that is effective at helping to calm the body. It is commonly found in tea.
This is one of the major reasons why it is always recommended to drink tea in order to reduce stress.
Theanine not only helps to fight off stress, it can also protect your brain from the dangerous effect of the cortisol hormone.
It helps to prevent a decline in performance and memory that cortisol is usually associated with.
Next time you want to drink tea, always opt for tea that contains theanine. You can also supplement your tea with theanine.
Don’t let the complicated name scare you off. This is one supplement that can help you fight high cortisol and weight gain.
Phosphatidylserine is known as a type of fat that is commonly found in all cell membrane of the body which also contains phosphorus.
PS not only helps to reduce cortisol, but it is also known to help improve attention, cognitive function, and also memory.
Its reputation for reducing ADHD symptoms, cognitive decline and fatigue are also widespread.
You can never go wrong to include PS in your cortisol and weight gain fighting supplement list.
Before taking any cortisol supplement listed above, make sure you consult your doctor for any possible side effects of these cortisol supplements.
Weight Loss Tips: How to Loss Weight and Belly Fat Naturally
Apart from the listed supplements above that help to serve as cortisol and weight gain treatment, there are also some beneficial tips that you can make use of.
- You must ensure that you do not skip meals. This is important in order to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Consume adequate protein which will help to raise your metabolism.
- You should also add foods that contain fiber and healthy fats into your diet. Some of these foods include kale, garlic, broccoli, lean proteins, and omega 3-rich flaxseed oil, among others.
- It is advisable that you find a way to reduce the daily stress you go through. ( Try yoga)
- Always get enough sleep at night. It is recommended that you get about 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
- Lastly, always exercise regularly. This will help to burn calories, reduce the effect of stress, and boost your metabolism.
Cortisol and weight gain is one relationship that you should try to fight off. Stress, which can lead to an increase in the cortisol level, can also cause weight gain.
However, all hope is not lost. Supplements are effective at helping to control your cortisol and weight gain. We have listed 4 effective supplements that can help you to reduce cortisol and weight gain.
Again, you must remember that it is important to always consult your doctor before you decide to include any supplements for cortisol control in your food.
Don’t forget to leave us a comment if you have any question on how to lose stress weight, and share this post with friends.
I’m going through a lot right now. I have a protection now but my stress levels are none stop and my weight is going up everyday even though I’m not eating. I’ve put 7lb on in 5 days just this week, my face is bloated and my body is tender to touch. I hope this article helps.
Hell Amy. Thanks for your comment. You can also try yoga –15 Minutes Yoga Workout for Stress, Depression and Anxiety Relief and meditation.
Hello there, this has very insightful to me. I have experienced longterm stress and consequently my body is unable to switch off at night resulting in no more than 5 hours of broken sleep over the passed 3 years. I have had numerous blood tests to identify why I have weight gain and associated health issues, low vit D, high cholesterol, exhaustion, inflammation joint pain, loss of muscle tone, memory issues, motivation the list goes on and has a knock on effect of my quality of life. Can a GP test for cortisol levels as this is one that has not been mentioned?
Hello Karen. Yes, those health issues that you mentioned can contribute to weight gain if care is not taken.
I have gained 17kgs in 10 days, with cortisol at 1,201 and down to 1 after dexamethasone suppression. I am capable of losing 10kgs in one day- and for one day only- with a 12kg weight gain in less than 24H.
My tsh/t3/t4 is fine despite everyone in the family having hypothyroidism.
My Dr thinks it’s Cushings despite the successful dexamethasone suppression.
I exercise 6 times a week min (since about 17) and always ate healthy (usually weigh 53-55; 57 after Xmas/bad periods).
I’m now 72.8kg
Hello Dee. Eat more vegetables and lean protein. Also, do not just do any exercise, do high-intensity exercises such as running, HITT or weight training. Improve your body’s response to stress by practising Yoga and having quality sleep. I hope these help.