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Scientists have found that protein diets, and, accordingly, foods, lead to an increase in the level of cortisol in the human body.
Diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which aim to gain lean muscle mass or lose weight, can turn out to have the exact opposite effect. When large amounts of proteins get in the body, the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, increases. This leads to changes in metabolism, loss of muscle mass and the accumulation of fat in the abdomen.
An increase in the level of this hormone is facilitated by the intake of hydrolyzed protein, and not whole. It was also found that if you inject the protein in the form of injections, the level of this hormone will not change, as when taking proteins through food or in the form of biologically active additives.
However, you should not think that absolutely all easily digestible proteins lead to an increase in cortisol levels. Upon receipt of protein with carbohydrates, this hormone remains at the same level. For example, potatoes with meat are much more beneficial for weight loss or gaining lean muscle mass than pure meat, which activates the formation of excess cortisol. After training, you need to eat whey protein or any other fast protein plus a simple protein that is easily and quickly absorbed. Such nutrition will prevent the synthesis of this hormone and provoke growth processes in muscle fibers.
Immediately after training, it is necessary to supply the body with simple carbohydrates, and then connect whole milk products, nuts or legumes, which are slowly digestible carbohydrates in order to avoid a decrease in sensitivity to insulin.
Author: Pashkov M.K. Content Project Coordinator.
How to increase cortisol levels without drugs
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. It is necessary for the normal functioning of the brain, maintaining sugar levels and pressure, is an integral part of the immune system, helps coordinate the sleep-wake cycle and supports the metabolic rate.
The sudden appetite at the time of a strong experience indicates just that the level of cortisol in the blood increased, and with it the level of sugar.
When cortisol is normal - it protects our body, when it is elevated - it destroys. According to statistics, people with high levels of cortisol and live much less than others. Cortisol has a very strong effect on women's health, making pregnancy unlikely and impairing appearance.
But, as it turned out, maintaining cortisol in the norm is not so difficult, all you have to do is .... take care of yourself. This hormone is one of the few that you can “make friends with” simply by changing your lifestyle, and for the better.
Cortisol is elevated in people deprived of inner harmony, restless, fussy, thinking little about themselves, full of fears and worried about every occasion.
Caring for yourself, self-development and self-improvement, gaining a hobby and diverse interests in life, mastering relaxation methods and maintaining the shape of your body - all these measures by themselves will allow the cortisol to be within normal limits.
Studies have shown that meditation, yoga, walking in a park or forest, a warm bath, massage and communication with animals (especially those that can be squeezed) reduce cortisol no worse than drugs.
To reduce this hormone, you must definitely lose weight - without this in any way. You should also give up coffee and alcohol, eat a lot of high-grade protein (cooked meat, spirulina), drink plenty of fluids (from 2 liters per day), and always get enough sleep.
In addition to all these measures, there are wonderful absolutely harmless, natural remedies and vitamins that lower cortisol.
While rebuilding your lifestyle, be sure to use them daily.
Rhodiola rosea (golden root, Siberian ginseng)
Adaptogen and antidepressant, increases resistance to infections and stress, adverse effects (environmental pollution, germs and viruses, heat and cold). Improves physical and mental performance, accelerates recovery.
Rhodiola rosea allows the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland system to work in a preserving regimen during stressful situations and not overproduce cortisol.
In other words, taking Rhodiola rosea you will not care
Rhodiola extract is sold in every pharmacy; there is also grass in bulk.
St. John's wort
I can only say that this herb is now being studied all over the world, and its all-new healing properties are being discovered. A simple infusion of St. John's wort will save you from stress, depression and any strong experience.
Omega 3 normalizes the adrenal glands and reduces the secretion of cortisol. The effect appears after 3 weeks of administration. In addition, omega 3 improves the skin.
Weaker than Rhodiola rosea, but, in principle, has the same properties.
The main regulator of the adrenal glands. But its action still cannot be clearly defined. On the one hand, licorice supports the body with hypofunction of the adrenal glands, that is, when there is too little cortisol. On the other hand, many foreign phytotherapists recommend it with increased cortisol - to normalize its level.
With polycystic licorice, in addition, lowers androgen levels.
In any case, 1 cup of tea with licorice root will not hurt, but only help relieve stress (drink the course for a maximum of 4-6 weeks, after which take a break).
Muscle relaxant and anabolic, increases resistance to stress, lowers blood pressure. Magnesium also exhibits antiandrogenic activity. By itself, the trace element magnesium lowers cortisol, but it works best with orotic acid.
Vitamins of group B, C, trace element zinc
Ginkgo extract improves brain activity, memory and concentration, dilates blood vessels, protects chromosomes from damage, strengthens veins. To obtain lasting results in reducing cortisol, ginkgo is drunk for at least 6 months.
Phospholipid, which reduces the secretion of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). It has long been used by athletes - athletes.
In some cases, lowers testosterone. Safe: in addition to individual intolerance, it has practically no side effects.
Available in the form of dietary supplements, for example, "Phosphatidylserine / Phosphatidyl Serine" from NOW Foods and "Brain Complex" from Vitaline.
Strengthens, protects against stress, rejuvenates the body, eliminates insomnia.
Anabolic, increases resistance to any negative factors (even magnetic storms), lowers pressure and soothes, regulates the menstrual cycle.
In addition to cortisol, it normalizes estrogen levels and reduces the production of androgens. Ashwagandha dietary supplement is in the range of NOW Foods and many manufacturers of Ayurveda preparations.
Part 1 Low Cortisol
- Check if you have symptoms of cortisol deficiency.
Many people find that high levels of cortisol are bad because they lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other symptoms. However, low cortisol levels also adversely affect the body. With damage to the adrenal glands, blood pressure and the immune system cannot be maintained at the proper level. The most common symptoms of cortisol deficiency include:
- weight loss and loss of appetite,
- low blood pressure
- vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain,
- a strong desire to eat salty foods,
- hyperpigmentation (dark spots on the skin),
- muscle weakness or pain
- irritability and depression
- apathy, lack of enthusiasm,
- in women: hair loss and decreased libido.
If you suspect you have low levels of cortisol, make an appointment with your doctor to get a referral. Cortisol levels change throughout the day: the maximum level is observed in the morning, and then it gradually decreases. Therefore, your doctor may ask you to take a cortisol test twice in one day. If you have low cortisol or Addison's disease, then this analysis will show it.
- There are several ways to check cortisol levels: a blood, saliva, or urine test. In addition, your doctor may direct you to test for other hormones, such as thyrotropin, free hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), total thyroxine, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and 17-OH-progesterone, which can be cortisol precursors, that is, to participate in its development.
- The normal level of cortisol for adults and children in the morning is 5–23 μg / ml or 138–635 nmol / L, and in the evening 3–16 μg / ml or 83–441 nmol / L.
- After obtaining the results of the analysis, consult with your doctor. A rapid saliva test, which can be done at home, is less accurate than a laboratory blood test.
- There are a large number of factors that can change cortisol levels, so re-testing may be required. For example, such factors include stress, pregnancy, or taking certain medications.
After obtaining the results of the analyzes, it is necessary to determine the factors affecting the work of the adrenal glands. Your doctor will prescribe a treatment that will be more dependent on the cause of the low cortisol level.
- Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome observed when the body cannot cope with daily stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep or emotional trauma, as a result of which the adrenal glands are overloaded and their work becomes ineffective.
- Primary adrenal insufficiency, or Addison’s disease is a disease in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol due to their damage. Damage to the adrenal glands can be caused by an autoimmune disease, tuberculosis, infection, adrenal cancer, or adrenal hemorrhage.
- Secondary adrenal insufficiency - This is a disease, primarily the pituitary gland, which controls the production of hormones by the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands themselves can be healthy, but the pituitary does not stimulate them to release enough cortisol. Secondary adrenal insufficiency can occur when the patient abruptly stops taking corticosteroids.
Part 2 Treating Cortisol Deficiency
- Start by changing your lifestyle.
The first step towards normalizing cortisol levels is a healthy lifestyle. This can include a variety of measures, from changing your sleep routine to reviewing your diet. Here are some ways to change your lifestyle:
- avoid stress
- go to bed and get up at the same time, even on weekends,
- give up caffeine and alcohol,
- to exercise
- do yoga, meditation, positive visualization,
- eat avocados, oily fish, nuts, olive and coconut oil,
- Avoid sugar, processed foods, and microwave oven-cooked foods.
The most common treatment for cortisol deficiency is hormone replacement therapy. If your cortisol level is below normal, your doctor will prescribe synthetic corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, prednisone, or cortisone acetate. Taking hormones every day according to the doctor’s recommendations, you will increase the level of cortisol.
- You need to be tested regularly for cortisol during replacement therapy to make sure the dose is correct.
- Oral corticosteroids have some side effects: weight gain, mood swings, and others. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of correcting them.