In the last part of this blog, I will introduce you to the role of another hormone, ‘cortisol’.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that cortisol is a stress hormone and is released during prolonged stress.

Adrenal Glands When the amount of cortisol released increases, it steals resources from a separate hormonal pathway. It steals the hormone pregnenolone to make progesterone, which is a precursor to cortisol. This mechanism is known as Pregnenolone Steal. Now, the downside to this is that DHEA, testosterone and estrogen (our growth hormones) levels are reduced.

As the growth hormones reduce, the ability to increase or maintain muscle tissue and therefore, metabolic rate is reduced. As metabolic rate is reduced, the ability to use fat as fuel reduces. Also, you may remember that testosterone and estrogen also inhibit lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL being the enzyme that helps to store fat in the fat cells.

So as estrogen and testosterone levels drop due to prolonged stress, the ability to store fat goes up!

When our bodies are under stress for a prolonged period of time the Adrenal glands (the glands that secrete cortisol) find it more and more difficult to respond to the stress due to fatigue (Adrenal Fatigue). As the amount of cortisol starts to reduce, energy levels go down, so you won’t have the energy to exercise.

Whilst the cortisol levels reduce, the growth hormones remain low too, i.e. they don’t bounce back. So you don’t have the energy to exercise and you have a body set-up hormonally and enzymatically to store body fat.

Physiological Aspects of Cortisol In addition, Cortisol and it’s relationship to DHEA plays a significant role in the control of a number of systems in the body. For instance it plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, hormone balance, detoxification and other systems that directly affect fat usage and storage.

So if your Cortisol/DHEA ratio is out of balance, then you’ll find it hard to lose body fat.

Thyroid Pathway In addition, when cortisol is high, it also inhibits thyroid function which plays a major role in your metabolism. So if you’re stressed for long enough, it’s likely your thyroid will slow down (hypo-thyroid) and you’ll find it easier to gain fat and harder to lose fat and have the energy to exercise.

Causes of chronic stress (known as adrenal fatigue) are very varied, but in today’s society it nearly always includes a parasitic, bacterial and/or fungal infection.

Once the infection is removed and healthy lifestyle behaviours are in place, your eating right for your metabolic type, your gut is healed, your cells are detoxified and your steroid hormones are balanced, your body will slowly return to normal, including your normal weight and body fat percentage.

I hope this blog series has been helpful to you and that you realise that calories in versus calories out is just very poor science and doesn’t work in the long term.

If you would like more information on how you can finally achieve your ideal size and weight, please click here.