We talk about all the important hormones for muscle building, Testosterone, Human growth hormone, insulin, to name but a few. But how often do we spend talking about the ones that are extremely catabolic? the ones that ruin us? the ones that can destroy a weeks work in just a few minutes. Not very often is it? And why is this? Perhaps some of our time would be better spent on these hormones and how to LOWER them in our body. it’s great having tons of test running through us but if cortisol is high that test will be worthless. Fact!. But if we have alot of test and low cortisol we’d have the body of our dreams and much easier too mind you! below I am going to talk about one of the worst hormones in the body and how to control it
Estrogen, no. Cortisol yes. Cortisol can be a very dangerous and potentially deadly hormone. Here are a few ways you can control your cortisol levels.
First, here’s a brief description of cortisol:
“Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol levels increase when the pituitary gland releases another hormone called ACTH. A cortisol blood test may be done to detect problems with the adrenal glands or pituitary gland.”
From a Woman’s World article, Nutritional Biochemist Dr. Shawn M. Talbott states:
- “Studies at research centers across the country have now determined that stress—or more specifically, exposure to the stress hormone cortisol — can up your risk of obesity, memory problems, depression, diabetes, chronic headaches, even osteoporosis and heart disease!”
And earlier Talbott was quoted in Men’s Health (May 2002) as saying, “Over the longterm, elevated cortisol may be as detrimental to overall health as elevated cholesterol or elevated blood sugar.”
So we can now safely gather that elevated cortisol levels can cause several huge problems, all of these problems related either directly or indirectly to stress! But how can you control this nasty little hormone?
1 – Get enough quality sleep, This one is key! research shows that men over the age of 25 “men experience a decline in deep sleep that accompanied by a drop in GH production. GH deficiency is related to reduced muscle mass and strength, increased fat tissue, weakened immunity to infection, and other health declines.” How much sleep is enough? Numerous studies have shown that consistently getting seven or eight quality hours of sleep a day are the key to balancing adrenal glands. Tho that doesn’t mean if you have the oppertunity to get more you should cut out, if you find you feel great after 9 hours sleep then take it!
2 – Supplementing with DHEA and 7-keto-DHEA have shown to lower cortisol levels, somewhat. The research on DHEA lowering cortisol is out there, however, it is not always consistant. What is consistant is the fact that DHEA seems to work much better for women than men. Typically 30-90 mg a day in postmenopausal women will work just fine.
3 – Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Everyone that knows me, knows that I am religious about eating six meals a day and here’s another reason why! Studies have shown that eating a small meal once an hour, as opposed to three meals, lowered cortisol levels on an average of 17%! Not bad. If that leads you to an increase of strength by 17% it’s not bad is it.
4 – Get out in the sun! Unfortunately, as humans most of us work inside for eight hours a day… or we live in a country/city where the sun coming out is as likely as seeing your step mothers breasts out is to give you an errection. A simple solution would be to spend an hour a day outside, and even more time than that on the weekends! There are a ton of fun activities that can take place outside, a group sport, hiking, grilling, reading. Take advantage of this during the summer when it’s nice outside. The reason you need to get out in the sun to manage you cortisol levels. Scientists tested this on hampsters and here’s what they had to say…
“In the scientific team’s experiments, hamsters living in short-day conditions maintained higher blood levels of various immune-system cells than their summer-living brethren did. The short-day animals also had greater concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol.
What’s more, under acute stress, immune cells in the short-day animals were quicker in manning their posts in the skin and other key points of defense against injury and infection. Such “trafficking” of immune cells is mediated by hormones called glucocorticoids, which include cortisol.”
5 – Number five directly corelates with number four, however, sometimes you just can’t get out in the sun (i.e.: the winter)! What can you do to trick your body into getting the sun’s benefits? Supplement with a high quality fish oil. I personally switch back and forth from cod liver oil and salmon oil. This is of extreme benefit in the winter because fish oil contains good amounts of vitamin D, which your body produces more naturally during the summer months, but not the winter. During the summer I usually supplement with flax oil, while I switch to fish oil around mid-october.
So in summary, don’t let cortisol get the best of you. Following my recommendations will help you keep your adrenal glands in proper balance.