BENEFITS, TRADE-OFFS AND LIMITS, AND BATTLES!
The two "stress hormones", adrenaline and cortisol, keep us going and save our lives when we need it. They are especially useful in the "fight or flight" response, which is a "turbo" response system - but one so powerful that we can't afford to misuse it.
Constant stimulation from "stressful" situations (anger especially, and, of course, "small stuff" made into big (faux) threats creates a "burnout from the constant demand.
Cortisol is the messenger for the body to being to break down muscle for fuel (during those stressful times of famine in our caveman days). Since more lean muscle mass drives us to have a higher metabolism, this loss will help create weight gain by reducing the number of muscle cells to use up the sugar - which means more of the sugar intake will go into fat storage! Cortisol also sends a message to the brain to "refuel" for emergencies, which leads to "stress eating"!!!
Because of the breaking down of bodily proteins at a higher level, the body reacts to this because it must protect itself from too much of it. To protect it, it sends in "reinforcements" - in the form of insulin, to counter the "catabolic (breaking down) processes" in order to save the ship! So insulin is trying to rebuild while the other is trying to tear down.
The wasteful battle: Insulin <----> Cortisol
And then cortisol will cause you to use up serotonin! This causes cravings for sugar and carbohydrates - a sort of (largely irresistible) "chemical mandate" And then you get fatter and more dysfunctioning reinforces the imbalance - on down into H---. If you don't sleep, are stressed, and when you are using stimulants (sugar, nicotine, caffeine), you use up more and more serotonin - and you lose your sense of well-being - reinforcing your need to "act" in order to get the feeling back, but we act in the wrong way, for the short term, and then we lose more and more and more and more.
A KILLER PLUS IT MAKES YOU DUMB
The effects are severe, not mild, not "tolerable" - they are severe, causing you to suffer physically in a build up over time plus you become less able to manage your life for your happiness - you become dumb. And then you die early, after living painfully in your last years.
Excessive cortisol kills. It impairs your functioning, as it has one feel confused, reduces ability to see what is important and what is not, causes narrow thinking, memory loss, inability to think clearly, can't see patterns, lowers ability to solve problems and actually reduces IQ. Any excess eats away at your tissues (aging you and also causing malfunctions).
It is vital, vital, vital, vital that you control this killer chemical! (In normal small doses for short term emergencies that are legitimate, such as a tiger in the vicinity, it serves a purpose - and then it dissipates. If any excess is left, it will damage you!
WHERE ARE YOU? HEALTHY? SYNDROME X?
This is the range for your cortisol:
Healthy Functioning ------------------------------------------------- Syndrome X
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (Ugly consequences)
Where are you? Score: ___
To help you judge, check off which of the following is true. Then it is your choice: to do something about it or suffer and die early.
__ Fat around mid-section?
__ Tired or exhausted?
__ Don't sleep well?
__ Sugar craving?
__ Needing a "hit" from excitement, smoking, shock?
__ Stressed alot?
__ Very busy?
__ High blood pressure?
__ Insulin resistance: __ beginning; __ mid; __ diabetic?
__ Shrunken thymus gland?
__ Enlarged adrenal gland?
Healthy functioning is zero of these factors. Three or more and you're on the wrong road. 5 or more and you're on the road to hell.
CORTISOL IS GREAT!
It kicks off adrenaline when we need energy to fight or flee, a vital function for survival. This creates a feeling of excitement and feeling great. It produces energy by stimulating the release of fats, glucose, and amino acids.
It helps to control, in normal doses, excessive inflamation, blood pressure, and maintain connective tissue - along with a sense of well-being. In its normal 24 hour cycle, the highest levels are early morning, decreasing gradually from there to its low at midnight.
BUT TOO MUCH KILLS!
When we are under prolonged stress (firing off the fight or flight signals) we create too much cortisol in an uncontrolled flow resulting in the progression through the Stages Of Stress (see detail in Effects of Stress) to cardiac problems, diabetic/insulin problems, quicker aging, more cancer, being overweight, memory loss, bone loss, immune system decline, depression etc. and etc. - it creates a form of relative death while still alive.
The body's emergency storage of fat around the midsection causes an incredible amount of toxic releases, poisoning the body. That's what unregulated cortisol can set up, as the excess sugars are converted to fat (for future emergencies in caveman days). This must not be allowed as it kills!
Since cortisol is a result of firing off the danger signal and since it is what sets us up for fight/flight, we would follow the Rx For Stress , which essentially is the opposite of fight/flight, with its emphasis on peace, pacing, and rest. On Carbs (shows the effect of throwing the body out of whack:
Metabolic Syndrome - A killer! Dramatic increase in heart attacks, drop in energy, loss of limbs, and an increase in weight with lots of toxicity in the fat cells.
Insulin And Metabolic Syndrome - Insulin resistance so can't control glucose levels in blood and the absorption of glucose into the cells so that they can create energy. (Glucose does not good floating around in the blood.)