Wednesday, October 4, 2023

How To Reduce Cortisol In Menopause

What Hormones Affect Menopause Weight Gain

Does cortisol keep you from losing weight?

For starters, the principal reproductive hormone estrogen plays an instrumental role in metabolism and body fat accumulation. Throughout women’s reproductive lives, the hormone is responsible for distribution of body fat. Then, with drastic fluctuations as fertile years come to an end, fat moves from the hips to the abdomen, triggering perimenopause weight gain.

Also, cortisol – the stress hormone – is responsible for some of the menopausal weight gain that women can experience in their 40s and 50s. When cortisol prepares the body for a stressful situation, it often signals the breakdown of fatty tissue to release energy. As such, chronic stress from menopause symptoms and other life events has been associated with increased fat around the midsection.

Interestingly enough, women with fat concentrated in their centers tend to secrete more cortisol than women with lower central fat in high-stress situations. This can create a vicious, never-ending cycle. In addition, cortisol prompts cravings for “comfort food,” which are typically high in carbs and saturated fat. Routinely acting on these cravings can also lead to weight gain.

Satisfy Your Core Nutritional Needs First

Having a nutritional deficiency is a physical stressor, so its imperative that you meet your daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, and particularly, essential fatty acids.

Stress is a notorious nutrient drain and virtually everyone under stress could benefit from a high-quality multivitamin-mineral supplement and an omega-3 supplement in the form of fish oil or krill oil.

Most multivitamin supplements are relatively low in magnesium, so consider taking additional magnesium separately.

Magnesium is extremely important for combating stress and its estimated that 75% of us have an inadequate intake.

Cortisol And Stress: The Basics

Cortisol is one of several hormones the body produces naturally. Cortisol levels do go up when youre stressed. But it doesnt deserve its bad rap.

Cortisol supports overall health, Dr. Lin says. It helps us wake up, gives us energy during the day and lowers at night to help us sleep and rest.

The problem arises when chronic stress keeps cortisol levels high for the long haul. High cortisol levels over weeks or months can lead to inflammation and a host of mental and physical health problems, from anxiety to weight gain to heart disease.

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Dress In Light Layers

Regardless of the weather, dressing in layers can help manage hot flashes at work but still keep you within dress code policy. Opt for light clothing made from cotton, which is more breathable than polyester blends or other synthetic factors. Avoid tweed and wool, which hold in heat. When the weathers exceptionally bad, wear a base layer made from wicking material. Designed to draw moisture away from the body, these shirts keep you comfortable if a hot flash hits while youre bundled up.

Tips For Managing Menopause On The Job

Pin on Women

It doesnt matter if youre at home or work, when youre suffering from the symptoms of menopause, it can make even the little things hard to do. At Womens Healthcare of Princeton, in Princeton, New Jersey, our team understands how menopause impacts your life.

Instead of letting sleep disturbances, fatigue, hot flashes, and memory issues impact your career, learn to manage menopause on the job with these nine tips.

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Pay Attention To Frequent Muscle Or Joint Injuries And Illness

Cortisol causes muscle breakdown. Your thyroid eventually also cant fully function when youre allowed yourself to be stressed for long periods of time. Poor thyroid function can be related to your ligament health. There are a higher number of injuries among midlife women. Those frenzied workouts, or those that lack progression even too quickly using intervals of long work duration and short recovery duration, and instructions to do as many reps as possible in a specific time all encourage poor form especially as you tire.

Your immune system will be boosted if youre exercising appropriately for your adrenal status. But youll be constantly fighting the next cold or flu if youre not using exercise instead to restore and to support. Exposure to an illness alone does not mean illness. A weak immune system does.

What Is Moderate And Vigorous Intensity

Moderate intensity exercise should raise your heart rate. Your breathing increases to a level where you can talk but not sing. Examples are brisk walking, bike riding, water aerobics or even pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous exercise raises your heart rate, and your breathing changes to only being able to say a few words between breaths. Running, swimming, hockey, football, netball, fast cycling, aerobics or swimming are some options.

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What Is The Function In The Body

Cortisol is made in your adrenal glands which are the triangle-shaped organs at the top of your kidneys.

Cortisol plays a significant role in a number of areas that contribute to your body functioning. Its release into the blood and is then transported around the body.

Every one of your cells contains receptors for cortisol, so cortisol can have lots of different actions depending on which cell it is acting upon.2

For example, cortisol:

  • Regulates blood sugar, or glucose
  • Helps control your sleep/awake cycle
  • Provides energy so you can cope with stress and restore balance after stress

A comparable type of this hormone, known as corticosterone is produced by rodents, birds and reptiles.

What Happens When Cortisol Is High

Cortisol, belly fat and caffeine in menopause

Over the last 20 years, studies have increasingly revealed that moderate to high cortisol levels may lead to an array of health issues, such as :

  • Chronic disease. Long-term increased cortisol may increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases.
  • Weight gain. Cortisol may increase appetite and signal the body to shift metabolism to store fat.
  • Lack of energy/difficulty sleeping. It can interfere with sleep hormones which may impact sleep quality and length.
  • Difficulty concentrating. Also referred to as brain fog, some people report trouble focusing and lack of mental clarity.
  • Impaired immune system. Increased cortisol can hamper the immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections.
  • Cushings syndrome. In rare cases, very high cortisol levels can lead to Cushings syndrome, a rare but serious disease.

Elevated cortisol levels can be caused from many underlying issues such as overactivity or cancer of the pituitary or adrenal glands, chronic stress, and medication side effects .

Further, existing chronic disease may lead to higher cortisol levels, causing a chicken or the egg type of scenario .

Therefore, its best to work with a qualified health professional to establish the root cause of your health issues. Along with this, you may want to introduce some effective lifestyle habits that may help you better manage your cortisol levels. Here are some recommendations:

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How Can Nutritional Supplements Support Your Adrenal Glands

  • High-quality vitamins and minerals help support a healthy metabolism and hormonal balance, which contribute to adrenal health. Our Essential Nutrients, with 30 vitamins and minerals, is an easy-to-take formulation that builds a strong nutritional foundation.
  • Specific herbal supplements, such as astragalus root and eleuthuro , are effective at reducing the negative side effects of stress. Others, such as passionflower, produce calming effects and encourage sleep. Many of these herbs are found in our natural formulations Adaptisol and Serinisol.

High Cortisol Levels Vs Cushings Disease Vs Cushings Syndrome: Whats The Difference

When the pituitary or adrenal glands produce abnormally high levels of cortisol for a duration of time, a doctor may diagnose a serious, chronic disorder called Cushings disease.

Cushings disease is usually caused by tumors on the adrenal or pituitary glands and often causes symptoms like rapid weight gain, a swollen face, fatigue, and water retention/swelling around the abdomen and upper back. It impacts women between the ages of 25 to 40 most often, although people of any age and gender can develop this condition.

Diagnosable Cushings disease caused by an overactive adrenal gland is considered much rarer than just having generally high cortisol levels. In other words, you have a much greater chance of experiencing high cortisol at certain times due to increased stress in your life than you do of ever being diagnosed with Cushings disease. While people experience at least somewhat high levels of cortisol at one time or another during very stressful episodes , rates of Cushings disease diagnoses are still very low compared to other hormonal/endocrine conditions like thyroid disorders or diabetes, for example.

Low Cortisol Levels: Addisons Disease and Adrenal Fatigue

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Cortisol Response To Cpt

The working memory task occurred ~21 minutes after stress onset, when free cortisol levels typically begin to peak . Saliva was collected immediately prior to behavioral tasks. Cortisol analyses focused on this time frame to test differences in approximate peak levels.

Free cortisol levels significantly increased in the CPT session, not the control session . A time by stress interaction revealed cortisol levels increased only in response to CPT. There was a significant interaction of time and treatment with an increase in cortisol over time only observed in PL. Neither treatment nor initiation factors significantly affected free cortisol levels during the CPT or control sessions.

Analysis of the CPT session alone, collapsed across initiation groups, confirmed the previous patterns. Free cortisol levels increased from pre- to post-CPT . A time-by-treatment interaction was driven by PL participants experiencing significant increases in free cortisol and ET participants experiencing no change in cortisol levels . The same analysis testing the control session revealed no main effects or interactions .

What Are The Negative Side Effects Of High Cortisol

Pin on Effects of Hormones On The Uterus

Having the right balance of cortisol levels is essential for human health. So, it should come at no surprise that too much cortisol can lead to negative side effects.

“When placed in a stressful situation, our body responds by releasing hormones, including cortisol. As more cortisol is released, it raises blood sugar levels, which can lead to weight gain, mainly around the abdomen and face,” says Bonnie Balk, RD a registered dietitian and Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics.

And there’s even more to it than that. “Although there are many studies suggesting the connection between stress levels and weight gain, the connection may be from another cause,” Balk adds. “As people experience stressful situations, they tend to turn to their ‘therapist,’ which is often cakes, cookies, or other sugar/salty/oily comfort food, which leads to weight gain. As abdominal fat seems to raise cortisol levels, it contributes to this unhealthy cycle.”

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Why Reducing Your Cortisol Level Is Important

Its one thing when your cortisol surges over the course of an hour or soas the result, say, of a near miss on the roadway or from trying to stop a child from running into traffic here and there, its no big deal.

Problems begin when stress is constant everyday, and your sympathetic nervous system is always on. I call this being in a state of sympathetic overdrive.

Once you go into the overdrive state, the stress-related changes become inflammatory and can lead to arterial damage, atherosclerosis, and even heart attacks. In fact, a study published in the journal Stress reported that men who have heart attacks are likely to have elevated cortisol levels during the three months prior to their event.

Of course, heart disease isnt the only health concern associated with higher cortisol levels. The hormone has also been linked with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, suppressed immune function, weight gain and depression.

Art Music Or Another Creative Activity

Want an excuse to make a mess or turn up your favorite music? A 2015 study that compared participants cortisol levels before and after 45 minutes of art-making recorded improvements occurred in three-fourths of them.

The participants in this study worked with paper, pens, and modeling clay, but I wouldnt worry too much about which type of art you focus on. Music, photography, model-building, wood carving, writingjust do something creative. Interestingly, the strategy was especially effective in younger people, so if youre a parent who struggles with helping a child relax, you may want to try this as a way of rerouting their energy.

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How To Lower Cortisol And Relieve Adrenal Fatigue

In our experience, women with mild to moderate adrenal imbalance have several options that can help them feel significantly better while keeping symptoms from becoming more severe.

The key is taking the right steps to normalize cortisol levels and restore healthy adrenal function. You can take immediate action by asking yourself these simple questions:

How Else Does Perimenopause Influence Stress Levels

All About Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

Stress is a common reaction to certain perimenopause symptoms. Due to hot flashes and hormonal changes, perimenopausal women may have disrupted sleep. A lack of sleep increases feelings of fatigue which in return results in feelings of stress. While it has been proven to have positive benefits when felt in small amounts, stress is damaging to your health when it becomes chronic. When your body is under continuous and large amounts of stress, your immune system is weakened.

Not only does stress impact your health, but your relationships, work performance and general quality of life may also take a hit. According to Mayo Clinic, common effects of stress on your behavior include angry outbursts, social withdrawal, exercising less often and changes in sex drive.

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How To Know If Your Cortisol Levels Is Too High

Unfortunately standard tests of adrenal function arent very helpful. If your primary care practitioner calls for a typical laboratory cortisol test, it will be difficult to see anything more than the most severe cases of adrenal dysfunction, such as Addisons disease or Cushings syndrome.

We recommend finding a practitioner who is willing to do salivary cortisol testing, which measures cortisol levels and a hormone called DHEA throughout the day.

A lab test isnt necessary to determine if you have adrenal fatigue or high cortisol, however. You can simply check in with how you feel. If your energy level is verylow in the morning but seems to increase right around the time everyone else is getting ready for bed, your cortisol cycle is probably out of whack. Its a good indication that you will reap huge benefits by taking steps to rebalance your adrenal glands.

Causes Of High Cortisol Levels

Wondering what underlying conditions could be contributing to your high cortisol levels? Cortisol tends to go up as perceived stress goes up, so anything that triggers a negative mind states things like anxiety, worry, anger or frustration contributes to high cortisol levels. Medication use, inflammation, poor sleep and a poor diet can also trigger high cortisol levels by altering hormonal balances and negatively affecting the immune system.

Corticosteroid medications like hydrocortisone, prednisone pills or other medications used to treat inflammatory-related diseases or symptoms are common causes of high cortisol levels. Aside from corticosteroids, other major factors contributing to higher than usual cortisol production include:

  • recent surgery, illness, injury or whole-body infections

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How Stress Affects Symptoms Of Menopause

Stress can cause a range of emotional and physical responses. Where these responses are emotional, feelings can be caused by how we think, perceive, and respond to a situation.

We may feel overwhelmed, or anxious. The body can also experience a physical response, such as a raised heart rate, changes in body temperature or changes in our gut health.

Who You Ask For Advice Matters

How to Reduce Cortisol

Be sure when asking in a group where you dont know the experience, expertise of the responders that you filter the information very selectively. You put yourself at risk if you treat everything you hear from strangers as a round-up of good ideas. If you have a specific problem, unique background, it makes sense to get a specific recommendation made by consideration of history, status now, and relationship with an expert you trust.

Just a bit more: I want to point out and be sure you understand all is said with respect we want to be careful simply asking in a group for random suggestions without fully knowing the background, depth of the knowledge of contributors, or certainly any responder has all the information they need to respond, can lead you to faulty information. There are two things Ill address in this short episode:

  • Lowering cortisol levels and improving sleep
  • Asking the right question

Member of the Flipping50 Insiders group? Heres how to access or join this free group.

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Best Supplements To Reduce Cortisol

Last updated September 13, 2021.Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

These supplements are proven to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that, in excess, is often the cause of physical and mental health problems.

Cortisol is your primary stress hormone.

Its useful during emergencies, but chronic stress can create an outpouring of cortisol all day long and thats a problem.

Excess cortisol leads to a host of physical health problems and puts you at greater risk for anxiety, depression, memory loss, and cognitive decline.

The majority of research on cortisol and supplements that affect it has been carried out on animals.

And a surprising number of clinical trials measure how various substances affect the cortisol level of athletes in extreme circumstances, such as running an ultramarathon.

If you think that that kind of research isnt applicable to the average person, youd be right.

Lets take a look at the best cortisol supplements those shown to reduce cortisol in average humans under ordinary circumstances.

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