The Cortisol Connection

In the era of the quick fix and outsourcing our dilemmas to experts, perhaps it is time to embrace a little on-site repair and rebuilding at head office. Truly, it is a labour of love that takes time and cannot be hurried, for it has taken a lifetime for the body to degenerate into that stressed and short-fused state that most of us know and neglect. Remember that there is a self-healing expert in all of us just waiting to get out and live!

Clarity of brain function and unlimited energy stores are tools that we all yearn for in the high-octane business world and personal lives. We expect a good performance from our employees and desire to be healthy and energetic in our own bodies, yet we continue to camouflage our true E (energy) potential with the usual synthetic boosters: coffee, alcohol, processed foods, which result in disrupted sleep patterns and big energy swings.

Nothing sets you up better for a highly effective day than a sound night’s sleep, a healthy intake of quality, unprocessed, foods and the utilisation of our own energy resources rather than those provided by the faux-caffeine society that we are accustomed to turning to when we feel tired.

The hormone cortisol is produced in the adrenal cortex in response to adrenal cortical stimulating hormone (ACTH) produced in the pituitary gland. Cortisol plays an important role in regulating blood sugar, energy production, inflammation, the immune system, and healing.

If you have too little cortisol, you may suffer from fatigue, chronic fatigue, exhaustion and a disease of the endocrine system called Addison’s disease. If your adrenal glands are producing too much cortisol, you may develop conditions such as weight gain, especially around the abdomen, depressed immune function with all of the consequences, accelerated aging and stomach ulcers.

Cortisol and Stress
Cortisol is elevated in response to stress. The adrenal glands are not particular, any kind of stress will do. Your stress reaction may be physical, environmental, chemical or imaginary and your primal hard drive is hard-wired with automatic  responses to protect you from harm, hazard and danger.

While the B vitamins (B3 Niacin, B1 Thiamin, B2 Riboflavin, B6, biotin, pantothenic acid, B12, folic acid) are our defense against stress – by soothing the nervous system, creating pathways to the key chemical messengers we call neurotransmitters – it is the antioxidants that are even more vital for smooth biomechanical and emotional peace.

During the stress response, many things occur. Firstly, the adrenal glands enlarge and begin to secret large doses of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol (adrenal cortical hormones).
When this happens the usual inflammatory responses are suppressed and the body becomes constantly ‘on guard’ ready for the attack. This is a well-documented biochemical reaction known as the Fight or Flight response.

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