Stressed and Wired or Stressed and Tired?
STRESSED AND WIRED OR STRESSED AND TIRED?
Cortisol has two primary functions:
“Regulatory” – promoting the coordination of circadian events such as the sleep/wake cycle and food intake
“Reactive” – providing the ability to react to, cope with, adapt to, and recover from stressful events and triggering episodes
In a Regulatory mode, cortisol peaks in the morning allowing a natural awakening response that provides a balanced sense of energy where one would report waking “well rested”. A healthy cortisol response will gently cascade throughout the day allowing for a deep uninterrupted sleep in the evening. If the body is not taxed or overworked by physical or emotional stress which drives the reactive mode, the individual will maintain optimal energy, sleep, and immune function.
In the Reactive mode, cortisol does not have a predictable cascade or optimal flow. The peaks of cortisol are in response to emotional or physical stressors. Emotional or mental stress can be from an argument, worrying about a parent or a child, financial woes, or professional struggles. Where as, physical stressors can come from recovering from an accident or injury, carrying a child, and even exercise, especially HIIT (high intensity interval) which can be perceived by the adrenals as running from a cheetah, so the body goes into cortisol surge through fight-or-flight response! In this fight-or-flight response, the blood pressure rises, the breath becomes shallow, blood sugar spills out from the liver into the blood stream, and digestive processes shut down. In fact you are either in rest-and-digest or fight-and-flight and the body only makes 1/4 the amount of digestive compounds when in fight-or-flight mode leading to bloating, indigestion, weight gain, inflammation, and increased susceptibility to food sensitivities!
It is important to acknowledge that many of us thrive on adrenaline or fight-or-flight mode based on lifestyle, external demands, or the way we react to stressors. This fight-or-flight response is regulated by the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal system which plays an intimate role on sexual hormone (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and adrenal output (DHEA, norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol). These hormones play a significant role in belly fat, fatigue, cravings, and even immune function. Excessive estrogen has been proposed as potential cause to autoimmune disease while cortisol inhibits histamine response, so when cortisol levels are low in adrenal fatigue often an individual will have increased allergies, food sensitivities, and inflammation.
Working virtually or in-person with your Naturally Nourished practitioner you can create a customized Adrenal Rehab or Hormone Reboot program. In your initial assessment your dietitian will do a thorough assessment and may recommend a lab that will aid in interpretation of where the imbalance lies. Then in your follow-up session you will review the results and make successful intervention plans with food-as-medicine and targeted natural formulas.
4 Signs of Excess Cortisol:
-Apple body or excess abdominal fat
-immune resistance less susceptibility to cold/virus and potential autoimmune reactivity (hyper-immune response)
4 Signs of Insufficient Cortisol or Adrenal Fatigue:
-increased histamine response (more susceptible to seasonal or food allergies/sensitivities)
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