We are hearing a lot about Cortisol lately. A number of over the counter diet pills are touting the blocking of cortisol as the remedy for weight gain in the abdomen. But most people who need to lose weight actually have LOW cortisol levels.
Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands that sit on top of our kidneys. When exposed to any stress, our adrenal glands are supposed to release Cortisol in preparation to "fight or flight". When a Cortisol surge is followed by some kind of exercise, our body works stronger and more efficiently until the stress is gone. If we continue to be exposed to stress without any form of stress release and proper nutrition support, then our adrenal glands become overworked resulting in overproduction of cortisol. It is this overproduction of cortisol without exercise that causes the accumulation of belly fat, carb cravings, spikes in blood pressure and blood sugar, and difficulty falling asleep at night.
However, when stress continues even longer, or when other hormone systems in our body are unbalanced, the adrenal gland becomes unable to produce enough cortisol to respond to even the smallest stress. The result is called adrenal fatigue. These people now have foggy thinking, irritability, and are tired most of the day, but have trouble sleeping at night. They will often get uncontrollably drowsy at breaks during the day, or while driving home from work. If you need caffeine throughout the day just to function, then you could have adrenal fatigue. Once the adrenal gland is in fatigue, frequent doses of caffeine are craved just to get a tiny burst of energy from your depleted adrenals. Up to 60% of Americans may have some sort of Adrenal Fatigue.
Cortisol-blocking diet supplements will actually make the person with adrenal fatigue feel worse and even gain weight. Believe it or not, people who have adrenal problems can lose weight and feel better with restoration of natural balance than with diet pills!
The answer lies in your individual testing. With super-sensitive saliva testing, we can best determine your cortisol output at four times in the day.
Then we can help your body handle stress better and lose weight with the proper adrenal support or suppression as indicated by your testing. This coupled with some small dietary alterations and well-timed exercise will end your cravings and allow you to lose weight in the healthiest manner for the long term!