Stress is something we are hearing about more often. Lets face it, we are under a constant barrage of stressors daily. There are a multitude of health-related illnesses that are a result of stress, but the one I see often with my patients is weight gain.
Many women ask why they are gaining pounds when they are not changing anything in their diets or exercise routines. One very important player in weight management is a hormone known as Cortisol.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and is known as our “stress” hormone. It increases our energy and metabolism and converts protein into necessary blood glucose. Cortisol helps our body cope with stress, but if we are under chronic stress, our brain can “forget” to shut off cortisol production. Excess Cortisol can increase blood sugar and stimulate fat to be deposited.
This means you could gain weight, have less energy and raise your risk for heart disease. Women who secrete higher levels of Cortisol while under stress also snack on higher fat foods (see the study below).
Adrenal hormones can be measured by a blood test or through saliva testing. I believe all women should be tested over age 35. There are many alternative treatment options to support adrenal hormones including supplementation, lifestyle changes and acupuncture.
Lost Extra Weight? Stress May Help Gain It Back: “If you’ve lost excess weight (or want to do so), upgrading your emotional coping skills may help keep those pounds off for good.”
(Via WebMD Health Headlines.)