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Video - The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body

Video - The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body


Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 09 October 2018

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The Effects of Cortisol on the Body

The Conscious Evolution Institute

On this webpage, we will discuss one of the most significant factors which speed up the aging process, preventing us from living our life to the full extent Cortisol. We will also discuss what can be done to prevent this often-rogue hormone from devastating our lives. When cortisol levels are either too high or too low, it prevents the body from functioning optimally, and this causes the body and mind to grow older at a faster rate.

Cortisol and the Adrenal Gland

The Adrenal Gland is the endocrine organ responsible for Cortisol Secretion. These glands sit right on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands receive more blood from circulation than almost any other organ or type of tissue in the body. In addition to this, the adrenal glands are also the bodys store-house for Vitamin C, holding more than any other organ.

What is the Composition of the Adrenal Gland?

The Adrenal Gland is made up of two primary sections. The outer part of the adrenal glands is called the cortex, and it releases a number of hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, and aldosterone. DHEA is one of the key hormones in the production of Testosterone, Estrogen, and the other sex hormones. The central, inside part of the adrenal glands are known as the medulla. The Adrenal Medulla releases the hormones norepinephrine and adrenalin. These two vital hormones are part of an endocrine group known as catecholamines. In common parlance, most people would understand these hormones as the hormones responsible for the fight or flight response that is a central aspect of animal and human behavior.

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What is the Adrenal Circadian Rhythm and what is its Importance?

Like many other organs and systems of the body, the adrenal glands release their steroid hormones at different rates throughout the day. This normal pattern of adrenal hormone release is known as the Adrenal Circadian Rhythm. The Adrenal Glands release Steroids such as DHEA and Cortisol in cyclical patterns throughout the day. The Adrenal Glands are at their most active during the early hours of the day. They are least active at night.

This cycle is one of the central enforcers of the circadian rhythm which controls so many of our physiological responses. When the Circadian Rhythm becomes unbalanced, it negatively effects the release of Adrenal hormones. When Cortisol and other hormones are released in a sub-optimal manner it can create major issues all throughout the body. It alters sleep patterns, increases fatigue, and hinders the immune system, among other things.

Energy and the Adrenal Glands

When the adrenal glands are not functioning properly this causes the body great fatigue both at the conscious level and the physiological level. At the physiological level, it reduces the ability for human cells to reproduce and undergo the vital functions which support your organs and therefore your entire body. At the conscious level, this makes you feel tired. It reduces your capacity for work and prevents you from making the most of your life. If you have a lot of trouble waking up in the morning and getting your day started you are likely having issues with your adrenal rhythms.

In addition to this, fatigue will also prevent you from making it through the workday without succumbing to exhaustion. It can also hinder your ability to exercise. If you dont have enough energy, your capacity for physical exertion will be greatly hindered. There are tons of people all across America that suffer from Circadian Rhythm malfunctions and dont realize it.

How Do The Adrenal Glands Effect Muscle and Joint Function?

Low levels of Cortisol and other Adrenal Gland Hormones can also have a devastating impact on tissue healing processes. This greatly affects the joints and the muscles, making people who have adrenal deficiencies much more prone to injuries. Over time, this can even lead to chronic joint and muscle pain. It is relatively well known that steroid abuse can damage the shoulder and hip muscles, but it should also be recognized that the opposite is true as well. If you dont work out your muscles hard enough you can also weaken your body. This doesnt just mean exercise.

Bad posture ruins the muscles and damages joints by underutilizing them even in a sedentary position. Sitting too much, having bad posture, and engaging in a sedentary lifestyle all lead to increased cortisol production which reduces the bodys natural production of sex hormones such as DHEA and Testosterone. This also leads to increased secretion of catecholamines into the bloodstream also. Adrenal malfunction can lead directly to Testosterone Hormone Deficiency.

Although it seems natural that lack of exercise would hinder natural Testosterone production, why does bad posture cause the body to release catecholamines and cortisol?

This position is sometimes referred to as the Neanderthal Posture. In this stance, the shoulders and hips are situated in a flex position. This position is very similar in many ways to the arrangement of the body caused by the fight or flight response. When catecholamines are released and the body assumes a position to fight or run, the body tightens the muscles and prepares for quick action, whether it be toward or away from a source of distress.

Cortisol and the Neanderthal Stance

Although catecholamines and cortisol encourage the body to enter this Neanderthal Stance, just assuming the stance can encourage the increased release of these hormones. Todays sedentary school and office culture propagates the release of amplified levels of cortisol. When we sit at a desk or in a cubicle eight hours a day or more it encourages the body to produce significant amounts of these hormones. Day after day to year after year of this lifestyle can completely wreck your circadian rhythm and proper adrenal function.

Martial Arts such as aikido and jujitsu recognize the negative effects of the catecholamine response on an effective, conscious, and concerted fighting style. It is a necessity in these martial arts programs that students keep their spines straight and their shoulders back. One of the primary reasons for this is that when a fighter is positioned for fight or flight, catecholamine is released which fills the body with frantic energy which can prevent the fighter from performing the delicate art of battle.

Cortisol and Chin Position

Another aspect of posture which effects adrenal response and the aging process is chin positioning. If you sit or stand with your neck forward and your chin jutted out this can speed up the process of aging, especially in the area of cognitive function. When your chin is jutted forward, like when your head is down looking at a keyboard, your skull is tilted downward and this sends signals to the spinal cord to ignore responses from the midbrain and cortex. This is a form of fight-or-flight short circuiting in which the body is preparing itself to move based on perception and reflex rather than through conscious motivation. When the chin is jutted forward, this encourages the cortex and midbrain to perform less actively.

How does Good Posture Increase Brain Activity?

Proper head posture encourages cortex activity, however. When the skull is in an upright position, the impulses from the spinal cord and brain stem travel more efficiently to the midbrain and cortex, encouraging both cognitive and physiological activity. Sitting upright helps you think clearly and maintain an innovative mindset. Physiologically, this increased cognitive ability increases the health of the brain, encouraging the gray matter to produce more vital proteins. It will also help the brain utilize those proteins, converting them into hormones which ensure that we live long lives with healthy minds.

When the jaw is jutted forward and the skull is pointed downward, this prevents the cortex from functioning and optimal capacity, and therefore the stimulative effects of cognition are retarded and if this effect is severe enough, the brain will lose its ability to optimally produce hormones.

Also, if the cortex does not receive enough stimulation, the proteins in the brain start to break down. As these proteins break down, the proteins release their charges, changing the electrical makeup of the brain, causing it to become more positive over time as the negative charges held by the proteins are released into the brain. As this composition in the brain changes, it can cause severely detrimental issues later in life.

What are Action Potentials?

Action potentials are the primary way in which neurons interact with one another. There is a rest level at which the neurons are not active. When the neurons reach a certain level of electrical activity, they release a burst of energy. When the resting potential of the brain has too much energy, it causes the neurons of the brain to fire off at more and more random intervals, causing many neurological issues. When the neurons are firing abnormally, it can lead to significant issues such as tics, spasms, pain, and seizures. In addition to this, it can lead to other major neurological disorders as well.

Ensure Good Posture to Preserve Brain Health!

Also, the proteins in the brain start to break down, and this causes the organ to shrink and atrophy over time. This atrophy is the direct result of underutilization of the cortex and midbrain. When you sit in a jutted forward position too often, this can reduce your cognitive abilities not only while you are in that position, but also later in life as well. It follows the simple and logical idea that what you dont use you are destined to lose. In this way, the brain is a muscle just like any other in the body. In order to maintain physical health, its important to undergo an exercise routine which involves your entire muscular system. If you dont use a particular muscle or group of muscles, then they will start to atrophy and decline. Using your entire brain is important as well. This is why its vitally important to maintain proper posture in addition to simply exercising your cognitive faculties.

In addition to this, there is growing evidence that osteopathic and chiropractic vertebral realignment and mobilization can increase blood flow, allowing the cortex to maintain optimal blood flow and neurological connection the brain stem and spinal cord.

Adrenal Function and Bone Health

The Adrenal Glands are also incredibly important in maintaining the health and structural integrity of the bones. Abnormal cortisol rhythms can break down the strength of the bones. If your cortisol rhythm is reversed (i.e. you release your highest levels of cortisol at night) the bones do not rebuild themselves efficiently. Cortisol levels become high over time and your body does not produce sufficient levels of testosterone and estrogen, then the processes of osteopenia and osteoporosis can set in. The bones slowly become porous and overtime the body becomes highly susceptible to fractures and breaks which can be detrimental to a good life if not absolutely life threatening.

If cortisol production is too high, then even the usage of calcium supplements cannot counteract the negative effects of this hormonal imbalance. When cortisol levels are elevated for an extended period of time, this causes organs known as osteoclasts to break down calcium at an enhanced rate. This increased rate of calcium breakdown causes the body to actually break down its own bones in spite of the devastating consequences. This process is known as bone demineralization.

Organs known as Osteoblasts are responsible for rebuilding bone, but this organ can only function at a certain rate. Because of this, the osteoclasts can easily sap the bones of calcium faster than the body can replace it because of elevated cortisol levels. Often, this causes issues such as kidney stones and other more harmful issues when the calcium leached from the bones is deposited or trapped in other parts of the body.

Cortisol and the Immune System

When cortisol levels are too high, it breaks down the immune system. High cortisol also reduces the ability of the mucous membranes all over the body from functioning properly. Increased cortisol causes there to be a lower number of surface antibodies in these membranes. These anti-bodies are known as Secretory IgA. These antibodies serve the immune system by filtering toxins, bacteria, viruses, and plasmids out of the body. Patients who have high levels of cortisol are much more likely to have mucous and serosal membranes which are not as effective at warding off outside contagions. Because of this, these individuals are far more likely to be plagued with issues such as kidney infections, bladder infections, acid reflux, yeast infections, ulcers, gallbladder inflammation, coughing, sore throat, chronic bronchitis, pink eye, and earaches.

Immune Health and Cortisol Case Study

A young woman we will call Samantha went to visit six separate physicians over the course of the last month. Her eye doctor prescribed her eye drops to resolve a persistent eye infection. Her gynecologist provided her with a medical ointment in order to resolve a yeast infection. Her family doctor prescribed her with expectorant in order to resolve her coughing fits. She also had to visit a gastroenterologist and received an H-2 blocker to resolve her worsening acid reflux. In addition to all of this she also had to take an anti-biotic in order to relieve a sinus infection. She received this medicine from an ear, nose, and, throat specialist. She was further inundated with medication when she had to rush to a rapid care medical office in order to obtain a separate anti-biotic in order to stop a bladder infection that was making it painful for her to urinate.

Although all of these afflictions affected separate parts of the body, they could all be attributed to breakdowns in the mucous membranes which prevent our bodies from succumbing to illness. Before she came to us, she said she felt that there had to be a connection between all of her persistent medical issues and she was coming to us for help. We informed her that her issues were very likely caused by an underlying hormone issue preventing her immune system from working properly. We performed a battery of tests and confirmed that this was the case.

After we confirmed that her issue was rooted in a hormone imbalance, we provided her with a month of hormone balancing care in order to restore optimum hormone balance. Her cortisol levels were through the roof, so we provided her supplements to lower her cortisol levels and normalize her estrogen levels. In addition to this, we worked with her to create nutritional and exercise guidelines in order to help restore her circadian rhythm and normal adrenal gland secretion. After she went through our Natural Therapy Plan, she told us that all of her issues had cleared upEvery Single One. All of this was done without Hormone Replacement Therapy as well, although in many cases, and especially for those suffering from Testosterone Deficiency or Human Growth Hormone Deficiency, Hormone Treatments may be necessary to restore hormone balance.

The Effects of Low Cortisol on Immune Health

Although high levels of cortisol are associated with poor immune response, low levels of cortisol also create major immune issues as well. Patients who have low cortisol tend to have amplified immune responses to otherwise normal stimuli. Cortisol is an immune suppressant. When cortisol levels are normal, this creates an immune balance, preventing us from getting sick by targeting foreign cells which can make us sick while also ignoring outside stimuli which are harmless or even potentially beneficial.

In some cases, high cortisol levels can make us highly sensitive to common allergens. In other cases, it can actually make our immune system perceive its own cells as a threat. This is one of the causes for the relatively common medical issues of psoriasis and dermatitis. When the immune system is over-responsive, it taxes the ability of the entire system to do its job properly. The human body only has a limited amount of energy to work with and when the immune system is over-reactive it takes energy away from other more vital processes, degrading our health as a result. There are a number of other immune disorders which can result from low cortisol, including lupus, Sjorgrens syndrome, and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Cortisol Levels and Sleep Quality

The natural sleep cycle is highly predicated upon healthy cortisol rhythms and balance. Cortisol in many ways acts as an activity generator. When our cortisol levels are low, it prompts the body and mind for sleep. There are a number of disruptions that can occur which can disturb sleeping patterns, however. If cortisol levels are high when they should be low, it interrupts the vital early stage of sleep known as REM-sleep, or Random Eye Movement Sleep. When this phase of sleep is broken up, it takes away from the restoration and refreshment of sleep, leaving us tired and exhausted even after 8 hours of rest.

Many times, this early morning fatigue is misdiagnosed by both patient and physician as a clinical depression. In these cases, patients are often provided psychological medications that they simply dont need and that can in some cases lead to dependence or even make things worse in some cases. Depression that has been caused by cortisol and poor sleep is not properly solved by medications which treat serotonin and norepinephrine imbalance. Always make sure you talk to your psychiatrist about your sleeping habits before you consent to taking anti-depressants, because you may save yourself a lot of money and preserve your health and happiness more efficiently.

Cortisol Case Study Two

The case of a second young womanlets call her Mariashows us how a disturbed circadian rhythm can intensely effect individual well-being. When she was a child she had numerous issues in regard to attention and behavior stability and her parents couldnt figure out what was wrong. Maria was a different girl at different times it seemed. One semester she would excel in a class, the next semester her grades would plummet. She would go from completely unmotivated to cheerful and happy just through the course of a school day. Her parents finally decided to take her to a professional because they realized that something simply wasnt right. Their daughter underwent psychological testing and it seemed that she was just a normal young girl. There was nothing that set off any alarms.

At first, it seemed no one could unravel her erratic academic performance at school. Initially, they thought it might be an aspect of her personality, but the testing seemed to disprove that theory. Next, they thought it might be the result of outside influences such as the particular teaching style or gender of her professor, but the problem persisted even when the teachers were the same gender with the same teaching style. They toyed with the idea that she may simply have been a rebellious little girl, but that answer just didnt seem to cut it either.

High School Only Made Things Worse

Although her problems were bad in middle school, they only got worse once she entered high school. Her mom and dad said that it was a nightmare trying to get her out of bed in the morning. Sometimes they would literally have to take her by the wrist and yank her out of bed. Once they finally managed to get her out of bed and dressed, she was still not fully awake it seemed. She was edgy and ill-tempered, and she was incredibly sluggish as well. Her report cards in high school seemed to be effected even more markedly.

In her first semester of Algebra, her professor noted that she was frequently tardy, showing up minutes after class had begun. In addition to this, she often came in with nothing but her textbook, forgetting many of her necessary and required supplies. She was slow to respond in class and kept to herself for the most part. She often forgot to do her homework, and her teacher was incredibly concerned.

But Then Something Changed: The Power of Hormonal Balance

Things soon changed completely for Maria, however, and her teacher (and Marias parents) were stunned. In the second semester, the young girls performance in class improved tremendously. Her instructor said that she was among the most active and mathematically inclined students that he had ever had the chance to instruct. In addition to this, Maria was very active in the classroom, going out of her way to help other students who were having trouble comprehending the material. So what changed? How did this miraculous turn of events occur? She was taking the exact same class as the previous semester. The textbook was the same and she still had the same professor as she did a month earlier.

What was causing her behavior to change?

The time that the class began

Her second semester of high school she took Algebra after her lunch break. In addition to this, Maria had Gym class first period, the same time that she had taken math the semester before. This semester, her behavioral issues affected her performance in gym rather than mathematics. She was keeping to herself in gym, and was half-heartedly participating in physical exercise if she participated at all. In addition to this, she would frequently come in without gym clothes, in which case she would be forced to sit on the wall, separate from the other students.

Maria Visits a Specialist

With this new set of data points, her physician made the decision to send her to an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist performed blood tests on her both in the morning at 8am and during the afternoon after lunch at 1pm. It was then discovered that Maria was suffering from a significant cortisone imbalance, with levels much lower than normal during the am hours. Because of this, she was incredibly fatigued until nearly afternoon when her cortisol levels would finally normalize and she would become more active, friendly, and motivated.

The Debilitating Effects of Low Cortisol

Low cortisol can have incredible effects upon the daily life of an individual. For some men and women, cortisol deficiency can be so debilitating that the government will actually approve disability support for some of these patients. The levels of fatigue can be so severe that it prevents a person from holding a steady job or making it through the day effectively.

Thankfully for Maria, the effects were not so severe, though it is clear that the condition was having a terrible effect on her educational opportunities. The endocrinologist said that, physiologically speaking, waking up Maria at 6:30 in the morning was tantamount to waking up a normal girl at 2:30 in the morning and expecting them to perform like a rational and well rested person. It was almost too much to ask of a young girl. By the time that lunchtime approached, Marias cortisol levels were finally balancing out, and she was able to be the young woman that she was perfectly capable of being.

The physician prescribed her a low dose of cortisol therapy and helped the parents adjust her sleep, exercise, and dietary habits in order to effectively reset the young girls biological clock so that cortisol levels were at their lowest just before bed and peaked just as she was to wake up and seize the day. The results were simply astonishing. The highly motivated girl that appeared in the afternoon was now available from sunup to sundown, and her performance in school in both academic and physical ventures improved dramatically. She became a bright and cheerful girl, acing her classes and dreaming of her college career. By the time she began her second year of high school, she was waking up at 5:45am in order to attend student council meetingsshe was elected class representative by her classmates!

Diagnosis: Prenatal Hormone Imbalance

After the issue had been resolved, they had one last question. Exactly when did Marias cortisol imbalance take root? Marias mother and father said that she had been amazingly easy to take care of as a child. She didnt become ornery and tearful as night approached, ready to be put to sleep at 8pm like most other children. In addition to that, she never seemed to have significant issues come morning either. In this way, she seemed the complete opposite of her older sister, who would wake up with energy after a nights rest. It seemed that Maria developed her imbalanced cortisol levels at a very early age, perhaps even before she was born!

As the doctor contemplated this point, Marias mother informed him that while she was pregnant, she worked second shift at a highly competitive and demanding workplace. Sometimes she wouldnt get in bed until two or even three in the morning. Although it would be nearly impossible fifteen years later to pinpoint if this were the exact root cause, it seems incredibly likely that Marias mothers work habits altered Marias circadian rhythm prenatally, leading to a childhood and adolescence of late nights and hard mornings.

Cortisol and Skin Regeneration

In addition to bone and muscle regeneration, the skin also rehabilitates itself at night for the most part as well. If the body generates too much cortisol, then skin health starts to deteriorate as a result. A healthy Adrenal Hormonal Rhythm is necessary for the skin to remain optimally healthy. High levels of cortisol play a big role in acne as well, as both adolescents and those who abuse Testosterone can report.

One common reason that many folks suffer from skin conditions is because they have too much copper in their bodies and not enough zinc. Excess copper levels cause dopamine to be converted into adrenaline and norepinephrine. Dopamine is the endocrine hormone associated with pleasure, and is the primary reward provider of the brain. Dopamine spikes lead directly to positive feelings and when you do things that the body is pleased with, the brain rewards you by giving you more dopamine. When you engage in actions that the body considers harmful, dopamine is converted into other hormones like adrenalin and norepinephrine, which both provide short term benefits while preparing the body to defeat outside negative stimuli.

When adrenaline levels increase, this causes cortisol and catecholamine levels to increase is well. Cortisol levels increase in order to decrease the effect of pain stimuli, and catecholamine levels increase in order to prepare the body for fight-or-flight. Although for short periods of time this is incredibly beneficial, it can lead to catastrophic issues when cortisol levels remain elevated frequently for extended periods of time. Long term high cortisol issues can hinder the bodys ability to produce dopamine, which is a direct cause of both Parkinsons and Alzheimers, as well as many other neurological disorders.

In addition to cortisol imbalance, excess copper levels can also exacerbate gluten intolerance, which is a physiological response to gliaden, a compound found in many grains. Gluten allergies are also commonly linked to skin issues such as eczema.

Thyroid Function and Cortisol

Cortisol is the primary factor of thyroid hormone secretion at the molecular level. Cortisol imbalances can lead to many severe issues which are the direct result of hypothyroidism like fatigue, abnormally low body temperature, and issues with weight loss. For patients who do not receive benefit or only receive temporary relief from the issues of hypothyroidism, cortisol imbalance may be the underlying cause of their deficiency.

Gluten Intolerance, Cortisol, and Stress

For patients who suffer from a condition known as gluten intolerance, the digestive system responds negatively to the digestion of gluten grains. These grains produce significant levels of inflammation within thirty minutes of the consumption of grains such as oats, barley, spelt, and rye. Although for the majority of patients who have gluten sensitivity, the physical symptoms of pain are not altogether too severe, for some patients it creates significant amounts of pain throughout the digestive tract. It has been compared to a feeling of sore throat which seems to be 30 feet long.

This form of gluten sensitivity is common among young babies and it is known as colic. It takes a couple of years for the human digestive tract to develop tolerance for all of the foods that adults normally consume as a part of their normal diet. Certain digestive bacteria and internal processes have to fully develop before the body is able to fully process an adult diet. The common assumption used to be that all kids eventually outgrew the condition of colic, but it is clear to day that is in no way the case. The body slowly develops a resistance to gluten agitation in normal children, but for a significant number of people, the body never fully gains the ability to process gluten.

For patients who are sensitive to gluten but not highly symptomatic, the problems can still negatively impact the body in major ways. For these people, the body is able to mask the inflammation associated with gluten grain consumption by producing cortisol. The body trains itself to produce cortisol whenever gluten is consumed and this can create a significant cortisol imbalance dependent upon the amount of grain that a gliaden-sensitive individual consumes. In a large number of these patients, another chemical is released by the body in addition to cortisol which has even more significant pain reliving effects, and carries many similarities with the highly addictive substance morphine. For this reason, wheat consumption can become both harmful and addictive in many individuals. The bodys natural aversion to negative stimuli is high-jacked by this complicated physiological process.

Gluten Sensitive Patients Release Cortisol and Other Painkillers

After this morphine derivative is released by the digestive track it is then taken directly in by the blood stream where it is circulated through the body to the brain. In the brain, this pain killer attaches itself to the same receptors responsible for the painkilling powers of morphine, and the molecule creates the same symptoms of addiction as well. This is why the human brain can develop addictions to certain foods which are physiologically damaging to many individuals, such as grain or dairy products which illicit a negative response of inflammation.

There are many who argue that dairy and gluten-sensitivity are far more widespread than we have been lead to believe, and that it is possible to actually see the hallmarks of addiction in those who commonly consume gluten-wheats and milk-based dairy products. It is believed that the consumption of these foods creates high levels of cortisol and hormonal instability which create a rollercoaster of ups and downs directly attributable to diet. They also argue that many people who try to forgo milk and dairy products suffer from significant symptoms of withdrawal as a direct result of their food addictions.

Elevated Cortisol Levels and Diminished Sex Drive

When our bodies manifest an excessive amount of cortisol in response to negative stimuli, it keeps our bodies from producing sufficient levels of other hormones such as Estrogen, Testosterone, and DHEA. The body produces cortisol in order for the body to essentially fight through pain. It is not generally meant to be a long term way to manage pain. In order to manufacture cortisol in order to counteract pain and inflammation, the endocrine system uses energy and proteins that would normally be used for the maintenance of the sex hormones and uses those resources in order to create even more cortisol. The primary sex hormone that is used for cortisol conversion is a sex hormone precursor known as progesterone.

Cortisol and Abnormal Sex Hormone Dominance

This decreased amount of progesterone in the body leads to a situation in which female estrogen male testosterone and female estrogen become dominant in comparison to serum levels of progesterone. This causes a number of issues related to estrogen dominance and testosterone dominance. Throughout our lives, the sex hormones participate in a delicate balancing act in order to provide maximum benefits to the human body. Issues such as high cortisol disrupt this homeostatic balance and create major issues throughout the body.

Both Estrogen and Testosterone dominance have been correlated with a number of behavioral issues such as irritability, violence, and aggression. In women, feminine hormone dominance can lead to other issues such as aggravated pre-menstrual syndrome, benign fibroid tumors in the uterus, and increased incidence of uterine and breast cancer. On top of that, it can lead to blood clotting and heavy flow during menstruation. For pregnant women, progesterone deficiency is also dangerous because increases the odds that a women will undergo miscarriage. As you can see, low progesterone levels are no laughing matter.

Also, progesterone balance is incredibly important in males because its presence prevents Testosterone from being broken down into DHT. DHT is an important male hormone which serves vital purposes, but, like cortisol, DHT causes major issues when it is released in excess.

Progesterone Deficiency inevitably leads to Low-T over time. This leads to excess levels of DHT, decreased sex drive, balding, and increases in prostate size, which creates issues with bladder health and control. Also, Testosterone-Cortisone imbalance increases the frequency and severity of migraines.

What Causes Cortisol Imbalance?

There are many activities and risk factors which raise cortisol levels. Among these are:

1. Skipping BreakfastBreakfast is supposed to be the meal which kick-starts the metabolism, preparing us for a busy day. Eating breakfast also satiates the body, reducing the spike in cortisol levels associated with waking us up in the morning. A healthy and regular breakfast anchors the circadian rhythm.

2. Skipping other mealsCortisol is one of the primary indicators for hunger in general. Skipping meals, whether due to a busy lifestyle or for the purpose of weight loss, prevents slowly rising cortisol levels from going through the process of rebalancing. In addition to this, skipping meals slows down the metabolism, decreasing the rate at which the body consumes calories ambiently. It is always better to eat smaller meals more often in order to both suppress hunger and cortisol levels.

3. Eating more carbohydrates than proteins over the course of any 5 hour timespanCarbohydrates are complex sugars that, although necessary for proper human function, are grossly over-consumed by the majority of Americans. High levels of carbohydrates wreak havoc upon both HGH and Sex Hormone Balance. In addition to this, for those with gluten intolerance or sensitivity, carbohydrate digestion leads directly to excess cortisol secretion.

4. Bad postureStaying in a stance in which the shoulders are slouched or flexed forward, sitting with the hips bent, or staying in a position in which the head is tilted forward with the chin down are all examples of bad posture. All of these positions are associated with the fight or flight response, which increases the production of both catecholamines and cortisol, unbalancing sex hormone production.

5. Going to sleep late (i.e. after 10pm)This is one of the worse culprits for excess cortisol production. The body is naturally tuned to produce the least amount of cortisol at night when the body is preparing for bed. Staying up too late causes the body to produce more cortisol later, and this is exacerbated dependent upon how long the bad sleeping habits have persisted. Staying up later also pushes back the morning cortisol peak which causes people with bad sleeping habits to be groggy in the morning, sometimes for hours after they wake up. This Circadian Rhythm Malfunction also causes metabolism to atrophy, leading to a buildup of body fat and reduction in muscle mass.

6. Experiencing emotional distressAny form of pain corresponds with an increase in cortisol production, whether that pain be physical or emotional. Long term anxiety or depression, anything that has a negative effect on well-being and positive mentality, has the ability to increase cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can also contribute to these feeling of depression and anxiety by reducing natural sex hormone levels. Testosterone and Estrogen are natural anti-depressants when they are properly balanced, and when cortisol eats away at hormone production, this leads directly to more emotional issues.

7. Undergoing any type of painThis is what the majority of Americans understand as the primary function of cortisol. Cortisol is a potent form of pain relief provided by the body to aid it in physical and mental endurance while under short term duress. Cortisol levels spike dependent upon the intensity of the pain, reducing the bodys negative response to this stimuli in order to prepare the mind and body to escape that pain by any means necessary. When pain and stress are temporary this is an amazing way that our bodies help us cope with temporary issues. The problem is that cortisol production creates many problems when the body utilizes the hormone for long term pain management. Chronic pain also triggers a Cortisol response as well, which can be far more problematic. Long term pain causes the body to produce excess levels of cortisol over an extended period of time, which can be damaging both cognitively and physiologically.

In addition to this, long term levels of high cortisol production slowly eat away at the precursor hormones that combine to produce this vital pain reliever. After a certain period of time, the body no longer has the ability to produce enough cortisol to cover the demands placed by the body, which over time can leave the body and mind susceptible to increased levels of pain. This nadir of cortisol production is the bodys way of telling you to ease up and give yourself time to recuperate.

Healthy and low cortisol levels slow down the rate at which the body ages, helping you live a longer and healthier life while looking and feeling younger. Although low levels of cortisol do produce Anti-Aging effects, it also causes many other physiological issues which counteract those benefits, so it is in your best interests to maintain healthy cortisol levelsdefinitely not too high, but avoid allowing them to get too low.

How can I slow down aging? What does aging have to do with Cortisol?

Eat breakfast early

Eating breakfast early (preferably around 8am) increases metabolism throughout the day and decreases cortisol levels which spike around the time you wake up in the morning.

At breakfast, eat at least as much protein as carbohydrates, and consume protein every five hours

Protein has a number of positive effects on the body, and these nutrients are the building blocks of a healthy life. They contain fewer calories per gram than carbohydrates and the stomach works harder to process them. Your body uses protein to refuel the body and to manufacture the building blocks of your enzymes and hormones.

About five hours after your last meal, cortisol levels begin to be secreted at high levels, prompting feelings of hunger. In order to minimize cortisol production, it is important to satiate this cortisol response with a healthy and nutritious meal as soon as possible. The eight hour period of sleep Is a form of fast, and in healthy individuals, our cortisol levels slowly rise until we awake in the morning. Cortisol provides us with the energy we need to wake up even when our stomachs are empty. Eating dinner after 8pm can upset this natural rhythm of the adrenal glands. If you eat later, your cortisol levels spike later and your body prompts you to wake up later than normal.

If you wake up before your body tells you that you are fully rested, you experience grogginess and fatigue even if you theoretically had a full nights sleep. This can lead to energy issues which last for the entire day. Once cortisol rhythms become unbalanced, it can be very difficult to restore proper balance without a concerted effort, or without assistance provided by Hormone Replacement Therapy. By the time cortisol levels reach their high point, it is already fairly late in the day. This completely alters the pattern of human hunger and encourages self-perpetuating poor sleeping and eating habits which completely dirupt the normal circadian rhythm.

Dont skip meals

Many people who suffer from fatigue and tiredness unconsciously skip breakfast in order to raise cortisol levels in order to spur feelings of awareness and mental acuity. This activity does indeed increase the production of cortisol, but it also increases the level at which adrenalin is produced, which shares many similarities with cortisol. Adrenalin is intended by the body for short term use in order to resolve immediate critical issues, but when adrenalin is secreted frequently and for long periods of time it disrupts the delicate balance of hormones within the human endocrine system. Over time, high levels of serum adrenalin lead to physiological breakdown and enhance the rate at which aging occurs.

Another reason that it is unhealthy to starve oneself before bedtime is that the brain needs an internal supply of glycogen in order to power the brain and govern internal processes over the course of the night. Glycogen levels increase whenever we eat protein or when we consume foods which have a low glycemic index. This is why the frequent consumption of healthy proteins is vital to mental and physiological health and well-being. Whenever we skip a meal, or whenever we eat an unhealthy meal in which we consume far more carbohydrates and sugars than proteins, our body has to consume more of its own internal store of precious glycogen. Glycogen that the brain uses for fuel is stored inside the liver.

Limit Starches and Sugars

Eating too many sugars and starches, or skipping meals as a habit, can disrupt the circadian rhythm and raise cortisol levels while decreasing internal store of brain fuel. For patients who are in the process or restoring normal sleeping habits, they might need to eat a very small amount of protein before bedtime in order to ensure that the brain has enough energy to perform all of its vital nighttime functions. If the brain is starved of glycogen, this creates numerous issues. The brain no longer has the energy it needs to support healing functions, and the body starts to age and atrophy. In addition to this, the brain stores data and internalizes learning at night, so memory and cognition also break down for the same reason.

Support Brain Function by Building Glycogen Stores

There is a ton of debate about which foods most effectively increase glycogen levels in the liver. One of the primary reasons for this confusion began in the seventies when athletic trainers and coaches encouraged their athletes to undergo a process known as carbo-loading in order to maximize energy levels for sporting events. Although the coaches didnt realize it, they were actually putting their athletes at a severe physical disadvantage. In addition to this, one of the most talked about fad diets of the decade was to only eat fruit before lunch. Inadequate protein consumption had the unintended effect of actually reducing athletic performance.

In addition to this, it had a negative effect on weight loss for dieters as well. Protein has fewer calories per gram than carbs or sugars, so proteins are the healthiest for the body to consume. Depleted glycogen stores deplete hormone production, including Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone. These hormones are vital both to optimal athletic performance, physiological repair, and weight loss outcomes. The idea during this period of time was that high-glycemic foods lead directly to increased levels of glycogen in the liver, and now we realize that the digestive system simply doesnt work that way. Because of this, an entire era of athletes and dieters suffered from fatigue and exhaustion. Although the concept of carbo-loading has been thoroughly discounted today, there are still may people who believe in its efficacy.

Control Pain Swiftly to Lower Cortisol Levels

Pain is the most pronounced determinant factor that leads to high levels of serum cortisol. A single migraine headache can boost cortisol release by many times the average baseline. Patients who suffer from long-term pain issues have been proven to experience symptoms of the aging process more quickly as a result of elevated cortisol levels. Physiological and cognitive fatigue sets in and the muscles begin to atrophy. In addition to this, the body begins to accumulate adipose fat around the midsection. He stomach becomes more prone to complications, and in many cases, diet becomes restricted as a result.

Also, the body becomes quicker to bruise and slower to heal. Full and restful sleep becomes nearly impossible. The immune system starts to break down because of cortisol-suppression, leading to increased complications and occurrence of many common medical ailments. The body begins to take on water weight, also referred to as edema. This is a short list of physiological complications caused by long term cortisol elevation. They are varied, yet entirely interconnected, and the only way to meaningfully resolve the majority of the issues is through efficient pain management.

Get In Bed Early to Stabilize Cortisol Rhythms

Ben Franklin was really on to something when he said that those who have proper sleeping habits are those most likely to find success both financially and academically. The time at which a person is most likely to experience the most rejuvenative sleep is between the hours of 10 and 3. There is even evidence that individuals who only sleep during this time are more refreshed than most individuals who stay up until 3 but sleep a full eight hours.

Another key concept to remember is that some activities of immune health do not initiate until an individual has rested for at least seven hours. This is why individuals who are significantly ill tend to sleep longer than eight hours a day. Individuals who wake up before they have slept a full eight hoursespecially younger men and womensuffer significantly in regard to immune health if they do not get a full nights rest.

Resolve Cortisol Issues by Restoring the Natural Circadian Rhythm

There are a number of methods that can be used in order to restore a proper Circadian Rhythm. The ultimate goal of this form of treatment is to bring back natural cortisol balance and optimization in order to redevelop a normal and healthy pattern of rest, rejuvenation, and activity. There are a number of herbal health products which can be of great benefit, but it is important to use them with caution and precision. One dietary aid which has been shown to lower cortisol is deglycerinized licorice.

Also, the root of the licorice plant has been shown to elevate cortisol levels also. By using both parts of the licorice plant, one can stabilize the cortisol release pattern by eating the licorice at night and the root in the morning. One medical compound that has been proven to provide balance to the circadian rhythm is phosphorylated serine. This compound has the ability to increase IgA levels which boost the immune system by optimizing the health of the mucous membranes. It is believed that this form of serine has the ability to alleviate high cortisol, thereby resolving immune issues caused by SigA suppression.

Consuming a dose of phosphorylated serine around 7pm can be a knockout remedy for restoring healthy sleep patterns by managing cortisol levels.

More Cortisol Today Means Less Cortisol in the Future

Although Cortisol is highly beneficial at controlling pain, it is detrimental to long term pain management to have elevated cortisol levels for long periods of time. Cortisol imbalance at an early age can lead to cortisol secretion problems later on. Medical decisions and life choices at a relatively early age can cause frequently elevated cortisol levels. If the body produces excess cortisol for too long, this can lead to the depletion of pregnenolone, a key component of cortisol. Pregnenolone is utilized by the body in order to create Estrogen, Testosterone, Cortisol, and other sexual hormones. When cortisol production gets out of hand, the body begins to make so much cortisol that other hormones suffer as a result, and as pregnenolone levels decline as a result of long-term high cortisol levels, then the body becomes less able to alleviate pain issues, actually creating greater levels of perceived pain as a result.

What Can I do to Preserve My Health and Maintain Cortisol Balance?

Each day of our lives we make a number of vital decisions whichalthough each is minor in and of itselfhave incredible effects on our long term health and vitality. Poor pain management, sleeping habits, posture, and stress response all have an adverse effect on long term health and hormone production. If we take control of our health and our lives today, we will not only be happier and healthier in the present, we will live longer and more fulfilling lives as a result. If we take the easy way out and refuse to change our ways, then the results can be disastrous to our health, and we will age at a rapid pace. Choosing to control cortisol production today preserves human vitality by ensuring that hormone production remains stable throughout our lives and that we live by natures rhythm as best we can.

Cortisol and Catabolism

When cortisol is released at too high of a rate, the body undergoes the processes related to catabolism more quickly. Catabolism is a term that describes processes within the body which break down cells, proteins, and tissues. When catabolism outpaces the rate at which the body rejuvenates itself, then the aging process accelerates and the body begins to break down. Catabolic processes break down bone, leading to reduced mineral density and osteoporosis. It also leads to vascular breakdown which can cause blood to pool in the extremities rather than circulate efficiently throughout the body. It also leads to the atrophy of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons which support the body.

When catabolic processes, especially those related to cortisol, become dominant, they cause a number of medical conditions that are detrimental to the body. These medical issues create a vicious cycle in which the body responds to negative physiological stimuli by producing even more cortisol. As cortisol levels reach unhealthy levels, they greatly increase the incidence of ocular issues such as cataracts and glaucoma. Cortisol is also linked to high blood pressure which increases the risk of blood clots, aneurisms, and cardiovascular disease.

It can also lead to exceptionally high intraocular pressure behind the retina, which, if left untreated, can result in migraine headaches or even blindness. Long term excess cortisol levels also contribute to poor skin health, causing the skin to bruise easy and heal slowly. Stretch marks are more prone to appear and the skin becomes thinner and more prone to cuts and scrapes.

How Can I Develop a Healthy Circadian Rhythm?

Again, there are a number of precautions you can take in order to balance your Circadian Rhythm and lower your cortisol levels to a healthy state. To live a healthier and happier life with balanced cortisol levels, follow these simple rules to the best of your ability:

1. Go to sleep earlyPreferably around ten at night

2. Eat a healthy breakfast which includes a significant amount of protein

3. Consume starches and sugars more cautiously

4. Make sure you eat a small, yet satiating meal at least once every five hours, which has a low glycemic index, and contains more protein than carbohydrates.

5. If you suffer from a gliaden sensitivity, avoid or limit gluten consumption

6. Sit up straight, and frequently take breaks from sitting in order to rest the muscles

7. Take care of pain quickly and effectively

8. Make efforts to remove or alleviate sources of stress from your life. Learn new patterns to cope or see a psychiatrist

Controlling Cortisol is a Key to Good Health

Cortisol is a necessary, yet potentially debilitating hormone that flows through each and every one of us. If you live your life meaningfully with respect for your body, you will live a longer and happier life, and you will maintain control over your cortisol production.

There is no reason to throw your life away over short term, ephemeral pleasures. Self-control and intelligent living can add years and years to your life.

Video - The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body

Video - The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body

Video - The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body

Video - The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body

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