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Cortisol Levels and Weight Gain


Elevated levels of cortisol and weight gain, unfortunately, go hand in hand.

People who undergo stressful situations on a daily basis constantly release adrenaline and cortisol into their blood streams. The problem with this is that while adrenaline goes away when the anxiety eases, cortisol lingers in the body and causes people to want to eat more carbohydrates as a means of quenching the empty feeling that was left by the original energy exertion.

Typically, weight gain from high cortisol levels tends to collect around the stomach. Because fat cells in the stomach are especially sensitive to cortisol and store energy at most, this is where the fat that comes from high cortisol levels tends to accumulate.

The most common way of measuring cortisol levels is via blood test; however, saliva samples are also an accepted way of determining the levels of cortisol that a given person has. Salivary cortisol levels have traditionally been shown to be an index of blood cortisol levels. Generally speaking, an individual’s highest cortisol levels are typically early in the morning around 6-8 a.m., and the lowest are somewhere around midnight.

Via Advanced-Health.com, here are some effective measures that people with abnormal cortisol levels can take in order to battle back against their condition:

One of the best known and most effective ways to lower excess cortisol levels is with the nutrient Phosphatidylserine (PS). Phosphatidylserine is believed to facilitate the repair of the cortisol receptors in the hypothalamus. It is believed that the cortisol receptors get damaged by high cortisol levels reducing the ability of the hypothalamus to sense and correct high cortisone levels. Because Phosphatidylserine helps repair the feedback control apparatus, it is useful in correcting both high and low cortisol levels. Phosphatidylserine is also useful for preventing short-term memory loss, age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Typical dosages are one to three 100 mg. capsules per day.

Adaptogens are an entire category of herbs that assists the body in coping with stress by restoring hypothalamic cortisol receptor sensitivity. Ginseng Adreno-Build 4050 is one such blend of adaptogenic herbs. It is a combination of eleuthero, American ginseng and rhodiola, all researched for their effects on increasing stamina, mental alertness and work performance. Botanical catalysts support the action of the formula by enhancing endurance and nourishing the adrenal glands, featuring ashwagandha, Chinese licorice and rehmannia. Typical dosages one tablet (4050 mg. herbal blend) per day.

Relora® is a patent pending plant extract of Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis that may help to relieve stress and minimize stress-induced eating. Weight gain can be associated with emotional over-eating for people with stressful lifestyles. Preliminary research suggests that Relora® may help regulate cortisol levels in the body that are associated with stress-related weight gain. The bark of Magnolia officinalis has been used in traditional Chinese Herbalism for centuries for stress reduction and muscle tension.

DHEA is a hormone which acts as a precursor for many other hormones. DHEA levels decline drastically with age. Many anti-aging physicians and programs advocate DHEA supplementation for individuals over 40 years of age. There is some medical controversy regarding this practice. If you are considering taking DHEA supplements, it would be a good idea to use the tests to both determine the need for it and get the dosage adjusted properly. DHEA can also be used empirically to alleviate the symptoms of excess cortisol or hyperadaptosis. DHEA can improve glucose tolerance, convert excess body fat to lean muscle mass, alleviate depression, increase energy and decrease pain in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients, decrease joint pain and fatigue in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, improve mental clarity and enhance overall immune function. Typical doses for DHEA are 10 to 25 mg for women, 25 to 100 mg for men, taken in the morning to mimick the bodys natural rhythm. Note: Dosage should be adjusted based on test results. It is important for men to take a prostate PSA test before supplementation. DHEA supplementation could potentially complicate prostate cancer, so professional medical advice is necessary if the PSA level should be elevated.

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