Cortisol is steroid hormone commonly known as the stress hormone. Whenever you become stressed, whether it's physical or psychological, your body will release this hormone as a survival mechanism. It increases blood sugar levels and slows metabolism to encourage fat storage. From a biological standpoint, this prepares the body to withstand a variety of situations ranging from scarce food to extreme conditions. This would have been useful hundreds of thousands of years ago, but today it only causes problems.
In many parts of the industrialized world, stress rates are out of control. People struggle to manage their job, family, expenses and personal life. At the same time, they're constantly bombarded with the news outlets' representation of the world than can make it seem as if there's no good to be found. Add to that too little sleep and a diet of processed foods and it's easy to see how high cortisol is such a common phenomenon.
Cortisol, despite its role as a survival mechanism, has some nasty effects when it stays too high for too long. Without some form of stress relief or the help of a cortisol blocker, it can eventually cause heart disease, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, hair loss, depression and digestive ailments.
Weight is another problem that can stem from high cortisol and may be treated with a cortisol blocker. Because of its effects on metabolism, energy and blood sugar, cortisol can cause weight gain or make weight very difficult to lose. Some of the hormone's other effects are decreased muscle mass and fat deposits around the hips, belly and thighs. These factors can combine to give you a frumpy and out-of-shape appearance.
Did you know that high cortisol could make you sick? Cortisol directly suppresses the immune system, leaving your body wide open to pathogens which could make you ill. People with excess cortisol can benefit from taking a cortisol blocker during flu season, or any time year round to help with keeping the immune system functioning at its best.
High cortisol can also result in dysfunction of the reproductive system, often causing infertility in both men and women. Once cortisol levels are brought under control with a cortisol blocker, the reproductive system typically resumes normal function. However, the cortisol blocker should not be used during pregnancy as the hormone plays important roles in fetal development. As always, it's important to consult with a doctor before beginning any sort of supplementation.
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