In addition to helping us manage stress, cortisol performs ALL KIND of tasks in the body. It is highly anti-inflammatory, which is why people take prednisone (a synthetic corticosteroid medication) or get cortisone shots when they are in pain or why cortisone creams are used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It works by preventing the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. But we all know there can be too much of a good thing, what happens when your cortisol goes crazy?
So, my dear, if you have any gut issues like parasites, fungus, leaky gut your intestines are inflamed and will scream at your brain to command the adrenals to release cortisol. And if you ever used antibiotics, birthcontrol, have allergies, bloating (look like you are pregnant by the end of the day), food intolerances or constipated most likely you have leaky gut.
And from here we get to another problem: cortisol also helps regulate blood sugar. When blood sugar levels drop too low, cortisol induces a process called gluconeogenesis in order to increase blood sugar and help provide adequate glucose to cells for energy. Cortisol and insulin go hand in hand. When your body releases cortisol in order to cool down the inflammation which, in turn, promotes insulin release. So if you are on a zero carb diet but your gut is compromised your body will start “eating up” your muscles in order to get glucose (sugar) from your muscles. And when your body gets tired of chronically high insulin, you cells become insulin resistant which leads to FATTY LIVER. Fatty liver = estrogen problems = toxicity and STUBBORN GAIN.
Eventually your brain will become numb to all the “screaming” for cortisol and levels go down which is one of the reasons for “adrenal fatigue.”
Cortisol also aids digestion by stimulating gastric acid secretion, assists in the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and regulates blood pressure. So low cortisol = bad digestion = no energy = all the functions in your body slowing down = thyroid problems= STUBBORN WEIGHT.
Like with any other hormone too little is bad and too much is not good either and we have to find that BALANCE.
Low levels of cortisol can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, pain and inflammation, allergies, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), dizziness, lightheadedness (especially when rising from a sitting or lying position), inability to handle stress, social anxiety, anxiety, depression, brain fog, insomnia, cravings for salty foods, low thyroid function, low libido, and PMS symptoms.
While we want a sufficient amount of cortisol secreted by the body, we don’t want too much either. Too much cortisol can be as problematic as too little cortisol. High levels of cortisol in the body suppress the immune system, slow wound healing, reduce calcium absorption and bone formation, impair learning, inhibit memory retrieval, increase abdominal fat, elevate blood pressure (by contracting mid-sized blood vessels), and disrupt sleep (by suppressing melatonin).
In post-menopausal women, whose ovaries are no longer producing estrogen and progesterone, the adrenals become responsible for the primary production of sex hormones. Cortisol problems are responsible for many of the harsh menopausal issues that effect women.
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