Stress - Cortisol


Sagging muscles << >> Insulin resistance

Persistent stress is one of the main causes for the development of too much internal abdominal fat.

During acute stress, the well-known stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline are released.

About half an hour after each stress situation, the hormone cortisol is released to compensate for the consequences of acute stress.

Often you can really feel how cortisol affects the body.

After feeling excited and extremely lively in an acute stress situation, a feeling of a knotted stomach and thought blockade remains after a while. You can't think clearly and it feels like a little monster is romping around in your stomach.

This reaction is particularly unfavourable if you are in an examination situation or have to hold another important conversation.

At first you get excited because the exam or the interview is coming up. After a while, a lot of cortisol is released. The thinking processes are blocked. You don't know what to say or write anymore. Everything is wiped out. Many people know such reactions of your body and brain.

But what is the point of cortisol knotting the stomach and blocking the thought processes?

This reaction may have made sense in the Stone Age. Directly after a stress situation the body is not yet able to digest new food, therefore the digestive system is slowed down.

As a Stone Age man, one should not give much thought to the stress situation, but react as effectively as possible. Thinking through a situation extensively would be rather hindering in combat situations.

But nowadays a stress situation hardly ever consists of an attacking lion or a horde of savages, but rather of an angry boss or customer, to whom one would have to react as quick as possible. So a flexible mind is needed rather than a fighting body. The thought blockade by cortisol is rather harmful than useful nowadays. But evolution did not yet have enough time to adapt the physical reactions to the present time.

Apart from the noticeable effects, cortisol has several other functions that one does not feel directly.

Cortisol promotes the growth of internal abdominal fat. However, in order to understand this mode of action, one must first know what cortisol does and what it does in the body.

Like the other stress hormones, cortisol is produced in the adrenal gland.

Cortisol increases the blood sugar level so that the body has enough energy to repair the damage caused by the stress situation and to recover.

In addition, inflammations and excessive immune reactions are slowed down.

These effects of cortisol are therefore quite meaningful and useful. Some amounts of cortisol are even vital.

In autoimmune diseases, after transplants, allergies and other serious diseases, cortisone is administered, which is cortisol in medicinal and slightly modified form.

The typical side effects of this hormone are known from long-term treatments with cortisone and from diseases with chronically elevated cortisol levels (e.g. tumours of the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland).

The best-known side effect of cortisol is the so-called obesity strain. The affected person gains a lot in the abdominal cavity, but arms and legs remain slim. Cortisol therefore causes a considerable increase in internal abdominal fat.

In addition, there is a full moon face, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, defensive weakness, osteoporosis, reduced muscle mass and the skin becomes thinner and more sensitive.

Of course, the full development of all side effects does not occur through occasional stress situations.

But when you are constantly under power, too much cortisol is constantly being released. This may well lead to a slightly weaker picture of the side effects.

Typical consequences of cortisol excess due to permanent stress are:

  • Increased internal abdominal fat
  • hypertension
  • insulin resistance
  • immune deficiency

Not only a stressful life full of hecticness can lead to increased cortisol levels, but also many worries or depressions.

If the adrenal gland has to produce too much cortisol over a long period of time, the adrenal gland may become exhausted. Then there is a cortisol deficiency which is also harmful to health.

Cortisol deficiency makes you feel weak, is often ill and suffers from a whole spectrum of different complaints.

Cortisol and internal abdominal fat

The hormone cortisol is closely linked to the internal abdominal fat.

The internal abdominal fat is able to store a particularly high amount of cortisol. The cells of the inner abdominal fat have particularly many receptors for cortisol.

The cortisol accumulates in the abdominal fat and the abdominal fat grows as a result.

This interaction becomes particularly fatal if one is stressed and worried about one's thick belly, which in turn promotes the release of cortisol, which causes the belly to grow even more.

Remedy against cortisol problems

There are two ways to avoid health problems caused by cortisol.

One way is to avoid permanent stress.

This sounds like the optimal solution at first, but is often not so easy to implement in practice. In the long run you should arrange your life in such a way that stressful stress is the exception, but in today's world this usually cannot be done overnight.

Therefore the second possibility is offered.

The physical reactions to stress situations were originally very helpful in coping with these situations.

But since the world today is completely different than in the Stone Age, the stress reactions no longer function as they used to.

One can, however, think about how the stressful situations were in the past.

Stress used to arise when a wild animal or a horde of enemy humans attacked. The meaningful reactions to it were fight or escape, also in any case a reaction with much movement. Through the fighting or flight reaction, the body's hormonal fireworks were sensibly torched until one was exhausted and satisfied relaxed at the end, as soon as the enemy had been beaten into flight.

In order to adjust this expiration today, one does not have to let oneself attack by a wild tiger.

It is enough to move intensively shortly after a stress situation.

After an appointment with the boss or a call from an angry customer, you should put in an intensive exercise session.

This can be a short run through the park, climbing the stairs several times or a dance, as long as you move vigorously. Then the body can let off steam and the hormone situation calms down again.

Afterwards you are relaxed and satisfied and can think clearly again.

The cortisol trap has been successfully tricked.

Sagging muscles << >> Insulin resistance

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