Have some stubborn pounds that, like certain houseguests, won’t leave? You can blame it on chronic stress. Stress induces the body to release a steroid hormone called cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands using cholesterol as a resource. As with anything else, though, cortisol, when in healthy amounts, does a body good. And as the adage asserts, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Too much cortisol has been found to induce weight gain, and insulin resistance, among other issues.
One way in which weight is gained is as storage as visceral fat, which is located in the abdomen under the muscle. Cortisol, when it has nothing else to do, can relocate triglycerides into tummy fat cells, and it also speeds up the maturation of fat cells! By the way: there are more cortisol receptors in the visceral fat than in the fat under the skin (subcutaneous, or swimsuit-ruining).
And cortisol has yet another ugly side – studies have shown that there is a strong link between excessive cortisol and stronger appetite and cravings. The very idea of “comfort food” is likely based on this science-shown connection!
Researchers recently found that not only does chronic stress contribute to weight gain but makes it harder to lose. The team, which examined data collected from men and women aged 54 and older taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing that began in 2002, used hair samples of 2,537 men and women to measure cortisol levels. The team also took measurements such as waist circumference, BMI, and weight. They found that participants with more cortisol were also more likely to have excess fat around their abdomens.
They also found, when they analyzed the weight and body fat data from four years prior, that those with the highest cortisol levels tended to remain overweight or obese. This study was recently published in the medical journal, Obesity.
At Herbsea, we are big believers in attaining healthy balance, which lessens stress symptoms. Everyone has stress, but if you learn how to handle stress in a healthy manner, you can also manage other aspects of your physical health and overall well-being. We encourage you to assess your stress and learn how to manage it. Let our Fucosea family of supplements help!