Cortisol: A friend or an enemy hormone

Cortisol is a gluco-corticoid hormone released from the adrenal cortex of the adrenal gland. It is also known as the stress hormone for various reasons but first lets discuss about the actions of cortisol in the body:

  •  It acts as a free fatty acid mobilizer, i.e elevated levels of cortisol which basically means more floating fatty acid in the system.
  •  It also activates the process of gluco-neo-genesis when the blood sugar level drops during exercise or during sleep.
  •  Cortisol also help you to lower down the inflammatory processes in the body which is very essential for our body.

The peak secretion happens 7:00-9:00 AM in the morning as well as evening. It is important to test both the values if we are checking for cortisol levels.
So if all the effects are positive then why is it called a stress hormone and why we should be aware of its elevated levels?

This is because your body does not differentiate between physical stress/ emotional stress/ psychological stress etc.
Which means not just physical but any kind of stress will lead to higher amounts cortisol in the body. At an acute level cortisol is an excellent state but when there is a consistent release or a chronic release of the hormone, it creates a disaster in the body.

– It will make sure for more fat deposition around the visceral region that means our pre-disposition to heart diseases or diabetes will rise.

– Higher cortisol levels also causes the atrophy of a part of the brain called “HIPPOCAMPUS” , this part is responsible for taking the short term memory and storing it as a long term memory for a later use. That means people with elevated cortisol levels might have memory related issues.

– Due to its impact on an another part of the brain called “PRE-FRONTAL CORTEX” it leads to poor concentration and depression.

– Elevated levels of cortisol for a prolong period of time might lead to a condition called Adrenal fatigue , where the adrenal glands are fatigued by the over stimulation .

– Lower inflammatory and immune responses with higher and prolonged cortisol effect.

– In the last stages of adrenal fatigue, the levels of cortisol falls that leads to an increase in the pro-inflammatory response that means chances of auto immune dieases, chronic pains and chronic fatigue would be common.

Stress is a part of our life but managing that stress is equally important. As a professional you should work on your clients stress levels as well, do not just focus on increasing the physical stress sometime you have to focus on releasing the stress.

Ways to fight stress:

  •  Increase dark color fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  •  Focus on a healthy lifestyle.
  •  Make exercise a part of your life.
  •  Yoga and meditation sessions can help you fight off the stress.
  •  Certain aroma’s are thought to be really beneficial, like lavender.
  •  Avoid caffeine
  •  Add dark chocolates for more benefits.