How does stress negatively affect the body and weight?
1/Definition of stress
It is often said that stress causes weight gain, but how is it done and how to fight against this phenomenon?
Stress is a fairly broad word that initially means “stretched”, it is not necessarily negative at first since it allows us to cope with emergencies such as jumping backward in the face of danger.
Stress then becomes chronic, and this stress is very harmful to health, especially since it is often invisible.
Most people are stressed without knowing it because everything becomes a source of stress and especially the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.
Running after the bus, missing the train, arriving in front of a closed door, eating on the desk, reading one’s professional emails at home, the lack of time, the number of visual messages seen per day are all stress experienced by the body every day. Scrolling down” or scrolling through social network news feeds is not an insignificant gesture. It exposes your brain to thousands of pieces of information per minute and it wears it out. For the organism, mental, physical, and moral fatigue is stress just like a cold or indigestion.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. When stress increases, the secretion of cortisol increases to cope with different situations. Then one day, the adrenal glands are exhausted, it is the burnout.
The adrenal glands will have to be rebuilt to ensure that they can once again provide sufficient cortisol secretion.
As you will have understood, excess cortisol is not good because it leads to exhaustion that will be very difficult to recover.
2/How do you know if you are stressed?
-Symptoms of stress (excess cortisol)
- Persistent fatigue in the morning and afternoon
- Sweet cravings, especially at 5 pm.
- Puffy face
- Poor digestion
- Abdominal weight gain (fat belly)
-Symptoms of burnout (cortisol deficiency due to adrenal exhaustion)
- Extreme fatigue despite hours of sleep
- Salt and sugar compulsions
- Low back pain
- Inability to manage stress
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Allergies, frequent flu
- Confused and awkward
- Lack of concentration
3/The blood tests that verify it :
It is possible to take a blood test to check if you have too much or too little cortisol.
-Cortisol Free at 8 am, the moment when cortisol is at its highest it should be around 15 ng/l.
-DHEA-sulfate allows seeing the stock of Dhea
-CBG or transcortin, cortisol transport protein, it allows seeing if a lot of cortisol has been secreted over the previous days.
Associated deficiencies :
-DHEA the hormone of youth is present in large quantities at the beginning of life, then decreases naturally. In the event of burn out, the stocks are exhausted.
-Vitamins and minerals are also exhausted by stress, “everything is consumed” to fight. Notably, magnesium is the main anti-stress mineral.
4/ Weight and stress
Localized fat in the belly comes from excess cortisol. This causes the insulin level to rise in contact with the sugar and immediately stores it in the viscera. The visceral fat forms, it is dangerous because it surrounds the organs. This can lead to complications such as diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiovascular problems, hormonal problems, sterility.
5/ Natural solutions
To fight excess cortisol, you need to :
– Magnesium in the form of malate, bisglycinate, citrate at least 300mg per day.
– Rhodiola (soothing adaptogen plant)
– omegas 3
– vitamin D
– proteins in the morning for the synthesis of serotonin, the hormone of pleasure and morale.
– rest, relaxation, moments of relaxation, meditation, sophrology, yoga, psychotherapy, etc.
6/How do you know the difference between depression and burn out?
–Depression is a deficiency of serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, vitamin D, and other substances.
A person can go on vacation and stay depressed on a sandy beach.
The neurotransmitters in question are intimately linked to food, serotonin is secreted at 95% by the cells of the intestine. If the diet or digestion is poor, this can lead to depression.
Deficiencies in tyrosine, tryptophan (which are derived from proteins), and vitamin D are implicated in this phenomenon.
Relational depression can be triggered by a traumatic event, a shock. Depression that does not react to an event is very often due to dietary deficiencies and a poor lifestyle.
Depression can have an effect on weight since the demoralized person will tend to eat poorly, either not at all or in a compensatory manner. Physical activity also decreases and dependence on alcohol, tobacco, and medication plays an aggravating role.
–Burnout is a deficiency in DHEA and Cortisol, it is psychological, moral, and physical exhaustion.
A person with burn out feels immediately better during a vacation with rest but becomes badly affected by stress and work again.
There are professional burnouts due to overwork, family burnouts due to numerous household chores but also burnouts due to adrenal deficiencies (lack of DHEA, age, dysbiosis, magnesium deficiency, too much intense sport).
A person can accumulate the 2 problems by deficiencies in neurotransmitters and cortisol.
If you have any questions on these subjects do not hesitate to ask us your questions via Foodvisor.
The article was written by Elsa Orivel, a dietician at Foodvisor