Cortisol & Fat Loss

  1. Cortisol & Fat Loss

    Why stress makes us fat

    Clinical studies from Yale University, the University of Miami, the University of California, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Chicago have shown that lowering stress levels and returning cortisol levels to normal can reduce body-fat levels, control blood sugar levels, and control appetite. The best news is that numerous studies have shown that yoga, massage, exercise, eating right, and using certain dietary supplements can all deliver an antistress and cortisol controlling benefit in a variety of stressful circumstances--so you have lots of choices for getting your stress and cortisol levels under control.

    Stress leads to weight gain primarily because of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone. When we're under chronic stress, the amount of cortisol circulating in our body stays elevated. Cortisol acts as a potent signal to the brain to increase appetite and cravings for certain foods, especially carbs and fats (because of their high calorie levels). Cortisol also acts as a signal to our fat cells to hold on to as much fat as they can and to release as little fat as possible, even in the face of our attempts to reduce calorie intake for weight loss. If that weren't already bad enough for our weight loss efforts, cortisol also slows the body's metabolic rate blocking the effects of many of our most important metabolic hormones, including insulin (so blood sugar levels suffer and carb cravings follow) ; serotonin (so we feel fatigued and depressed) groth hormone (so we lose muscle and gain fat); and the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen (so our sex drive falls and we rarely feel "in the mood" when we're stressed out and awash in cortisol).

    All these metabolic factors combine when we're under stress to create a situation in which we eat more food, burn fewer calories, and store more fat. this isn't good in terms of weight gain, the link between cortisol and deranged metabolism is seen in many ways.


    Loss of muscle mass

    * Breakdown of muscles, tendons, and ligaments (to provide amino acids for conversion into glucose)
    * Decreased synthesis of protein (to conserve amino acids for conversion into glucose)
    * Reduced levels of DHEA, Growth Hormone, IGF-1, and Thyroid stimulating Hormone (TSH)
    Drop in basal metabolic rate (i.e., a reduced number of calories is burned throughout the day/night)

    Increase in Blood Sugar levels

    * Reduced transport of glucose into cells
    * decreased insulin sensitivity
    * Increase in appetite and carb cravings

    Increase in Body Fat

    * Increase in overall amount of body fat (due to increased appetite, overeating, and reduced metabolic rate)
    * Redistribution and accumulation of body fat in the abdominal region

    Dietary Supplements For controlling Cortisol

    When it comes to dietary supplements for cortisol control, the first line of defense comes in the form of a comprehensive Multi VIT/MIN supplement. The most effective choices are products that offer a balanced blend of key vitamins and minerals that the body needs in order to mount an appropriate stress response. In particular, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and the full B-complex group are of the highest importance from the standpoint of their direct involvement in the body's stess response, but all of the essentils and semi-essentila vitamins and trace minerals are needed as well. A comprehensive multi VIT/MIN supplement, when used as a part of a regimen of balanced diet and regular exercise, represents the antistress foundation on which you can add the targeted cortisol-control supplements i will list below.

    Among the supplements with the best scientific evidence for direct modulation of cortisol levels during periods of high stress are phosphatidylserine, beta-sitiserol, magnolia bark, and theanine. These four natural compounds are the most effective choices for cortisol control.

    Dietary supplements to control cortisol levels

    * Magnolia Bark - Controls cortisol and has general effects as an antianxiety and antistress agent.
    * Beta-Sitosterol - Balances ratio of cortisol to DHEA (one of the sex hormones), especially following the stress of exercise.
    * Theanine - Modulates brain waves for optimal physical and mental performance during stressful events.
    * Phosphatadylserine - Has a direct cortisol-lowering effect, especially after intense exercise.


    1. Controlling stress and thus minimizing cortisol exposure is the first and foremost factor influencing healthy and successful weight loss and long life.

    2. Stress makes us fat primarily because cortisol stimulates the overall appetite and also specifically triggers cravings for sweets and fats.

    3. Cortisol also sends a potent signal to the abdominal fat cells (those in the belly region) to store as much fat as possible--and hold on to it.

    4. Any form of stress--whether physical, environmental, or psychological (even dieting) can increase cortisol levels and lead to weight gain.

    5. Supplements for cortisol control include a daily balanced multi VIT/MIN (B-complex, Vit C, magnesium, and calcium), plus specialized herbals such as Magnolia Bark, Theanine, Beta-sitosterol, and Phasphatadylserine.

    Bottom Line: Cortisol blocks your weight-loss efforts

    It's not entirely clear if cortisol really does cause weight gain, etc. but it seems that most studies lean towards that theory. If anything, cortisol DIRECTLY might not be affecting your physical state but more so your mental state and the things you do when you're not thinking straight (overeating, not eating, etc.) can definitely lead to negative effects.

  2. Doesn't cissus inhibit cortisol as well?

  3. I'm not familiar with Cissus but I know Muscle Link's "'Cort-Bloc" claims to block cortisol.

    Relacore is used for the same thing as well.

  4. Sounds great man....can you pls cite where you got it from?
    E-Pharm Nutrition Representative

  5. Lean Extreme, anyone?

  6. Yes, cortisol is famous for putting on fat. A few years back I had to take a dreaded drug called prednisone, which is a cortisol medication, and put on...well, let's just say I had no idea about the effects of cortisol at the time and I packed it on. (It's the one Jerry Lewis was on when he gained so much weight back when.) My doc said a fifty pound fat gain is normal for people on cortisone. Put it this way, cortisol is a CATABOLIC hormone, which breaks muscle down, and raises insulin levels, making fat storage inevitable. Reducing stress is crucial to healthy body building. I use meditation, and self-hypnosis.


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