How Cortisol Imbalance Can Cause Weight Gain
What is Cortisol?
Many of you may already be aware of Cortisol, a stress combating hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands in your body. Besides fighting stress, Cortisol is also involved in taking care of the smooth operations of the following functions in the body:
• Regulating glucose metabolism
• Regulating blood pressure
• Releasing insulin for maintenance of blood sugar
• Ensuring proper immune function
• Ensuring timely response to inflammations
• Keeping stress and anxiety under control
Cortisol and Your Body
Cortisol is present in higher levels in your body during the morning while during the night its levels are the lowest. Each time your body experiences stress, Cortisol hormone is secreted into your bloodstream, hence earning it the name ‘stress hormone.’ Due to its nature, this hormone is known to be responsible for many changes related to stress in your body. Small levels of Cortisol are known to enhance the following:
• Energy levels in the body for survival
• Memory functions
• Body pain
• Maintenance of homeostasis
Cortisol and Stress
Often times, if Cortisol is secreted in higher quantities it may lead to Cortisol imbalance in your body. One of the main reasons for this is excessive stress and anxiety. Scientists have found out that humans tend to eat more when they are stressed or anxious due to imbalance in blood sugar levels making it one of the main reasons for weight gain and obesity in the world. Essentially, the adrenal glands release Cortisol in order to help your body relax so that the bodily functions can start working normally once the stressful event is over. Unfortunately, today everyone lives in a high anxiety and stressful culture leading to increase in the number of times your body has to respond to stress. That means that your body doesn’t always get enough relaxation time to regain its normal state leading to ‘chronic stress’ condition.
Chronic stress condition is responsible for high Cortisol level in your bloodstream leading to negative effects like:
• Damaged cognitive functions
• Decreased thyroid function
• Imbalance in blood sugar levels or Hyperglycemia
• Lower bone density
• Lower muscle tissue
• High blood pressure
• Lower immunity
• Lower response to inflammation
• Slow wound healing and
• Significant increase in abdominal (stomach) fat that leads to several health problems such as heart attacks, heart strokes, higher level of “bad” cholesterol or LDL that in turn, can lead to several other serious health problems!
Cortisol and Weight Gain
If you constantly face stress, your body will produce Cortisol in higher level so that ‘glucocorticoid’ is produced in a larger quantity, which would lead to generation of high quantity of blood sugar. And, you may well know that excessive amount of glucose in your body may lead to fatty deposits thus, leading to weight gain or even obesity.
So, in order to remain healthy and prevent unnecessary weight gain, you must strive to keep Cortisol levels under check. Learn to relax your body by following effective stress management techniques and make significant lifestyle changes.