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Cortisol, the stress hormone. Less cortisol, less fat.

 Cortisol, the stress hormone. Less cortisol, less fat.

Cortisol prevents most bodybuilders from sleeping because it is a catabolic hormone. It hinders the growth of muscle mass and strength. It is an antagonist of testosterone, since its excess leads to the accumulation of adipose tissue. How do you reduce cortisol levels?

Irregular cortisol levels

We've known about drugs that lower cortisol levels for decades, so it seems easy to suppress its production. But in practice, it turned out to be much more difficult.

 Cortisol is also the most important hormone for maintaining homeostasis, that is, the balance of key factors in the body. This process requires a systemic hormone to circulate in the blood from the adrenal glands. However, cortisol is also formed in adipose tissue. This leads to the accumulation of stored fat. Cortisol is synthesized in adipose tissue by the enzyme 11-beta-HSD. It has been observed that the activity of this enzyme is significantly higher in the adipose tissue of obese people.


In the human body, 11 beta HSD and more precisely 11 beta HSD2 converts cortisol into cortisone, which acts 300 times less and is devoid of any hormonal activity. This prevents the buildup of excess cortisol, water and sodium retention, and increased blood pressure in the kidneys. This reaction also seems to be beneficial for our silhouette. Unfortunately,

 inactive cortisone passes from the kidneys into the circulatory system and enters mainly adipose tissue. Here the second form of the enzyme 11-beta HSD1 waits, which returns it to the highly active cortisol. Thanks to the activity of 11 beta-HSD1, more than two-thirds of

 the cortisol produced by the body is formed outside the adrenal glands. It acts at the place of manufacture, in adipose tissue, where it facilitates storage of spare fats and adjacent tissues, for example in muscle tissue, where it complicates the production of proteins. This is equivalent to stopping the development of the muscular system.


Blocking the stress hormone?

The researchers blocked 11 beta-HSD in the fatty tissues of mice, and the animals showed extreme enthusiasm and consumed massive amounts of calories, but almost no weight gain and none of them had a health problem. Will it be the same in humans? After reducing the activity of the two enzymatic forms - 11 beta-HSD1 and HSD2 - there will be no formation

 of cortisone in the kidneys, and on the other hand there will be cortisol in adipose tissue. The level of cortisol improves in the kidneys and decreases in fat tissue (and muscle). A decrease in the level of stress hormone leads to a very high increase in the level of adrenal androgens, the male sex hormones similar to testosterone, DHEA. DHEA facilitates fat reduction and muscle tissue development.

Blocking my 11 beta HSD form will eventually improve our figure, lower our fat level, and make muscle grow. In the worst case, there may be high blood pressure. Therefore, scientists are looking for selective inhibitors of 11 beta-HSD1, which act only on this form of the enzyme and only in adipose tissue.


11 Beta HSD Inhibitors

For some time, a few natural beta inhibitors of 11 beta HSD have already been identified, but they have been inhibitors of both forms of the enzyme. First, glycyrrhetinic acid was found in licorice and carbonxolone, the latter being a synthetic ester of this acid which is used in anti-ulcer therapy. These compounds improved some of the health parameters of the metabolic group, but at the same time they promoted high blood pressure and did not have a significant effect on reducing fatty tissue.


Other non-selective inhibitors have been found among citrus fruits and green tea flavonoids. The highest activity is observed in naringenin, especially in citrus fruits. Its supplementation led to a significant reduction in weight and adipose tissue levels. However, there was a slight increase in blood pressure and a very large (two-fold) increase in DHEA.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, mostly found in fish, have been shown to be selective inhibitors of 11-beta HSD1. DHA showed particularly high activity in the study, which led to lipolysis and atrophy of fat cells. In 2004, Rosikova fed two groups of mice, the first

 high-calorie diet with a limited amount of omega-3 acids, and the second diet with the same diet, but with a high content of these acids. Omega-3 prevented the development of obesity by reducing the accumulation of fat in adipose tissue, and also impeded the growth and reproduction of fat cells.


Collective work: Smith, Thomas, Cowett, Thorsdottir, Krebs, Kabir, and Alison Hill in relation to human studies. Most interesting was the study conducted by Noreen in 2010. In this study, two groups of volunteers were given fish oil (2400 mg of omega-3 fatty acids) or

 fish oil, sunflower as a placebo for 6 weeks. In the fish oil group, there was a significant increase in muscle growth and a significant decrease in adipose tissue mass and cortisol levels. It has also been observed that cortisol levels are clearly correlated with total lipid levels, the less cortisol the less adipose tissue.


DHEA to burn fat

Another way to burn fat effectively is to use the hormone DHEA. Athletes usually use DHEA to build muscle because it is similar to testosterone. This hormone also acts as a fat burner. Already Yena worked in 1977, giving DHEA to mice of normal weight as well as genetically obese mice. Although they consumed the same amount of food as the third

 control group, the increase in weight in both groups was that of the third control group. Then the same researcher gave volunteers DHEA for a year and noticed a significant decrease in the level of adipose tissue, while noticing significant muscle growth.

Melatonin and Vitamin B6 - A good pair of burners

Melatonin is also a very powerful cortisol mixer. In 2003, Fisher gave volunteers 5 mg of melatonin one hour before bed. This resulted in a significant drop in my peak cortisol concentration for the day. Melatonin has a good effect on the growth and activity of adult

 brown adipose tissue, which does not accumulate fat in the abdominal cavity and under the skin like white (common) adipose tissue. The more brown adipose tissue, the higher the metabolic activity of melatonin (which is the purpose of melatonin), resulting in a slimmer and more attractive form.

Vitamin B6 is a cofactor for the synthesis of melatonin in the body, so it prolongs and enhances its activity. Even a small vitamin B6 deficiency hinders the production of this hormone. Therapeutic doses reproduce certain effects of melatonin. The combination of

 melatonin and vitamin B6 reduces the concentration of prolactin and increases the concentration of somatotropin. Prolactin promotes the accumulation of adipose tissue, and somatotropin is a powerful fat burner, as well as a powerful anabolic hormone that builds muscle mass.

Other substances that reduce the concentration of stress hormones

Omega-3, DHEA and melatonin (in combination with vitamin B6) share one common property, all of these compounds block cortisol and the important mechanism of this blockage is the inhibition of the 11-beta HSD enzyme. There are also other supplements

 that, research has shown, reduce the level of this hormone that stimulates fat production and damages muscles. The stress hormone concentration is reduced by: resveratrol, soy isoflavones, glutamine, magnesium and phosphatidylserine. In the case of the first three compounds, their effect on reducing adipose tissue has also been demonstrated.

Many of us are interested in having a muscular and fat-free figure. Fat reduction and muscle appearance can be achieved thanks to the inhibition of cortisol that forms in adipose tissue due to the beta 11 activity of HSD1. However, the adrenal glands sometimes produce excess cortisol. It mainly occurs in response to stress and is therefore called a stress hormone.

 Increased exercise (particularly aerobic exercise) and low-calorie diets (particularly with low carbohydrate intake) are significant stressors. It increases cortisol production. When used together in weight loss programs, they increase cortisol levels in the body many times over.


By starting the exercises and diet to sculpt the figure, we must also fight the excessive production of cortisol in the body. Fitness practitioners often use radical methods. They usually use anti-cortisol hormones, such as testosterone or its anabolic steroid derivatives and somatotropin. They also use a powerful therapeutic agent that inhibits the synthesis of

 cortisol in the adrenal glands, and is used in clinical practice under the strict supervision of a physician, aminoglutethimide. However, it is playing with fire, because a severe (sometimes even almost complete) blockage of cortisol can have very serious consequences for health. The use of the above-mentioned cortisol inhibitors is not harmful to humans and promotes effective training, that is, the formation of a muscular figure without fatty tissue.


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