When your body has been exposed to some kind of stress itreacts by producing cortisol. This so-called stress hormone is secreted byadrenal gland, and may be induces by some physical as well as emotional stress.
It alerts the body, creating the reaction which is alsoknown as “fight or flight” response. As the part of this reaction, cortisolincreases blood pressure and glucose in the blood and restrains immune system. Cortisolalso regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat and the production of insulinin the human organism. It is also responsible for the decrease of inflammationand healing of damaged tissue in the body.
What’s the Relation between Weight Gain and Cortisol?
Adrenal glands respond to the stress producing and releasingadrenaline and cortisol. Weight problem occurs when the body is exposed toconstant everyday stress, since their adrenal glands keep producing cortisol allthe time. Cortisol, on the other hand, increases the blood glucose levels and thatmight cause many health issues. Indigestion, sleeping difficulties, skinproblems and memory issues are all associated with the increased level ofcortisol. Weight gain is also one of these potential problems.
People experiencing increased level of cortisol due to thestress have constant urges to eat carbohydrates. Their body craves for carbs tocompensate for the physical tiredness. Exercise is a great way to relieve these symptoms,but most people rarely engage in any physical activity. Instead, they reach forcarbs which usually lead to weight gain, specifically around the stomach. Thereis something about the fat cells around that area of the body, and they aremore sensitive to cortisol. Because of that, people tend to buildup the fat aroundthe belt area, which has been proven to be the most dangerous kind of fat you couldhave. Metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus and heart problems are scientificallyfound to be most likely to occur in people with this kind of fat distribution.
Healthy diet, proper and regular physical activity andenough sleep should be enough to lower the level of cortisol in the blood, preventthe weight gain and decrease the stress you are experiencing on a daily basis. Herbal,mineral and vitamin supplements might also be very helpful.
Other Causes of Cortisol-Related Weight Gain
Cushing ’s syndrome is also caused by the increase level of cortisol,but it is not stress induced. In most cases, Cushing’s has been linked to theuse of steroid medications, or tumors occurring on adrenal gland, pancreas,lung or pituitary gland. Tumors are usually not cancerous, but they cause theraise in level of blood cortisol and may lead to weight gain in patientssuffering from them. Alcoholism, depression, panic attack or even obesity maypresent symptoms similar to Cushing’s syndrome.