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Stress is on the increase and day to day life is becoming more and more stressful.

A study done looking at the year of 2006-2007 reported 420,00 people in the UK where of work due to stress related illness. It has been estimated that 75%-95% of all doctor's visits are due to stress related illness, so a it's very important issue.

Science behind stress

Stress is an inevitable fact if life and put bodies have to be able to deal with stress, hundreds of thousands of years ago stress came in a different form than today. Back then a stressful situation was a saber tooth tiger fancy you for lunch.

Therefore it is very important t that our body has a response to this stressful situation known as the fight or flight response. Stay and fight the tiger or run as fast you can! This response prepares out body to take action. The same is happening today in situations we find stressful such as work, paying bills relationships etc.

Here is what happens

The adrenal glands are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of numerous hormones, including cortisol and adrenalin. Healthy adrenal glands secrete these hormones, which together allow our bodies to deal with the physical and emotional stresses of life.


One of the hormones secreted is - Cortisol a VERY important hormone. It is considered one of the primary "stress hormones", cortisol is released in large amounts in response to physical, physiological, and/or psychological stress. If this stress persists many functions in the body can be inhibited. Excess amounts of cortisol can adversely affect weight control (increased fat storage), bone health and muscle tissue, cardiovascular function, immune defence, thyroid function, sleep, glucose regulation, energy levels and ageing. Over a period of time when cortisol is high, our bodies don't respond to stress as they should and this needs to illness, depression and increased fat storage to name but a few.

Another important hormone regulated by the adrenal glands DHEA the sex hormones (Testosterone and Oestrogen.

Over time cortisol can affect the regulation of the bodies sex hormones which has an effect on impaired immunity, depression, insulin resistance, Cancer, Panic Disorder, obesity, Cardiovascular Disease and could be a cause of infertility.

Link between fat storage and stress

When the body is under stress there are more demands placed upon it, the body requires more fuel to cope this increases fat oxidation and promotes protein degradation. This is because cortisol has a major regulatory role in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose within a narrow optimal range. Cortisol also teaches the body to store fat around the stomach and it is very good at it!

Posted on 24th January 2012

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