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Cortisol & Weight Gain

Cortisol Oversecretion Linked With Obesity & Fat Production

The adrenal glands secrete the hormone cortisol as a reaction to stress, in conjunction with sleep-wake patterns. One of the functions of cortisol is to trigger a glucocorticoid effect – helping the body produce blood sugar from proteins. Excess glucose is then used for lipogenesis (fat production). Thus, numerous research has linked oversecretion of cortisol with obesity and increased fat storage in the body.

Cortisol and Poor Eating Habits

Cortisol may also play a role in poor eating habits. Recently, researchers exploring eating disorders found that women who secreted higher levels of cortisol while under stress had a much greater tendency to snack on high-fat foods than did women who did not secrete as much cortisol in reaction to the same stressful event.

DHEA Adrenal Hormone – Anti-Obesity

In contrast, research shows that DHEA, another adrenal hormone, exhibits an anti-obesity effect by decreasing fat tissue, excess insulin, and food intake. Another study found that daily oral administration of DHEA to healthy men over a period of 4 weeks resulted in a 31 percent decrease in body fat and lowered cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, without affecting other lipid parameters or glucose levels.

In general, adrenal dysfunction can lead to hypothyroidism, lowered metabolic rate, and weight gain.

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