Cortisol and Stress
Cortisol is a hormone present in your body as a reaction to stress of any kind. Cortisol levels are sometimes measured to determine how much stress you are experiencing. Unrelenting stress can cause increased cortisol levels. Cortisol helps the body respond healthfully to stress and it also helps the body break down food for energy by stimulating metabolic functions. Cortisol also regulates blood sugar, supports levels of energy you may feel, reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system.
You will want to keep your cortisol balance in check. If your body is not producing enough cortisol, you will most likely feel tired and may develop a disease called Addison's disease. If your body produces too much cortisol, you may have an under-functioning immune system, resulting in ulcers, rapid aging and weight gain, particularly belly fat gain. When your body has high levels of cortisol on a regular basis, it has a tendency to gain belly fat and to have a limited ability to fight off infections and illness.
Cortisol and Weight Loss Products
The link between cortisol and belly fat has led to the advertisement of several medications claiming the ability to reduce cortisol levels and therefore inhibit weight gain or even promote weight loss. However, these diet medications that claim to be able to lower cortisol levels or inhibit cortisol production have been proven to be ineffective. Correcting your cortisol level is indeed helpful if you are under a lot of stress and are struggling with your weight and your ability to remain healthy, but weight loss drugs aimed at reducing cortisol levels, such as CortiSlim, have been proven to be ineffective.
How to Lower Your Cortisol Levels
You can lower your cortisol levels by learning methods to manage stress. Practicing yoga, meditation, exercise and attitude adjustment therapy are all positive, easy ways to lower your cortisol level. Maintaining a low glycemic diet also seems to lower cortisol levels, as high glycemic levels in the bloodstream stimulate the production of excess cortisol.
In part two of this series, I mentioned our upcoming family vacation. Well, we survived (thanks to many, many breathing exercises) and actually managed to create a few happy vacation memories.
In India, ashwagandha has been used medicinally for more than 3,000 years. Ayurvedic medicine recommends it alone and in combination with other herbs for musculoskeletal conditions and as a tonic to increase energy, improve overall health and longevity, and prevent disease.