Posts tagged: health facts

Top 10 Cortisol Myths & Facts

Top 10 Cortisol Myths & Facts
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Cortisol is a type of hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands. It is responsible for a variety of processes that our body needs to operate smoothly — including metabolism, immunity, and (most importantly) stress response. Because cortisol deals with a lot of basic cellular processes, almost all of our cells have cortisol receptors that affect how they function. [1]

Cortisol and Chronic Stress

An article by the Mayo Clinic highlights the links between chronic stress and cortisol levels in the body. In order to meet the demands of a stressful event or situation, the body needs to respond accordingly – primarily with the “fight or flight response”. In the event that the body perceives a threat, an alarm is sounded and the body produces two main hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. The former boots blood pressure and energy while the latter, which is considered the primary stress hormone, causes an increase in blood glucose (colloquially termed “blood sugar”). Furthermore, cortisol suppresses nonessential functions like digestion and growth processes that are detrimental to the “fight or flight response”. [2]

When your body is in a constant state of stress, the elevated levels of cortisol can cause plenty of health problems such as: [2]

• Anxiety
• Depression
• Digestive problems
• Headaches
• Heart disease
• Sleep problems
• Weight gain
• Concentration and memory problems

Ten Cortisol Myths And Their Counterarguments

Myth #1: Cortisol isn’t important. Don’t worry about it.

On the contrary, cortisol plays an important role in the body, primarily regarding different basic processes our cells need to function — metabolism, immune response, and stress response. When the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol in a condition called Addison’s disease, a person can experience fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, muscle weakness, and mood changes. On the other hand, when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol in a condition called Cushing’s syndrome, a person can experience weight gain, slow healing wounds, and the characteristic “moon face” or fatty deposits in the face and “buffalo hump” or fatty deposits in between the shoulders. [1][3]

Myth #2: You can’t fix your cortisol levels because you can’t avoid stress.

While stressful situations indeed cause cortisol levels in the body to rise, that doesn’t mean that we can’t control our cortisol during those times. Diet is one of the best ways we can control cortisol levels and prevent over or underproduction of this hormone. There are also plenty of techniques you can use to manage stress, like meditation and even exercise. [4]

Myth #3: High levels of cortisol cause weight gain.

This is one of the biggest myths out there today that give cortisol a bad name. Cortisol itself doesn’t cause you to gain weight — it’s the effect it has on your appetite and the susceptibility to develop fatty deposits in the abdominal area (a.k.a. central obesity). In short, when cortisol levels rise, insulin levels rise and blood sugar drops — which causes you to feel hungry or crave sugary and fatty foods. Cortisol itself doesn’t cause weight gain. [1]

Myth #4: Exercise lowers cortisol levels.

The opposite is true. Exercise is considered a stressful activity which can cause cortisol levels to rise. However, moderate exercise like pilates and running all keep cortisol at healthy levels. Excessive, rigorous physical activity like triathlon training can raise cortisol levels dangerously high which can cause systematic inflammation (an effect of cortisol on the body’s tissues). [5]

Myth #5: Carbs cause high cortisol levels.

The opposite is true. According to various studies, low carbohydrate diets actually cause an increase in cortisol. When the body detects low levels of sugar or glucose, it can stimulate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which raises insulin levels in order to stimulate the urge to eat and raise the blood sugar. [6]

Myth #6: Skipping meals lowers cortisol levels.

If you read anything about cortisol lowering diets that involve cutting out carbs and sugar, you are in for a big surprise. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, which in turn stimulates cortisol and insulin production — similar to what happens when you don’t eat carbs. [6]

Myth #7: Cortisol makes you lose muscle.

When you search online about the relationship between cortisol and muscle mass, you will often find that most studies conclude that the two have a direct relationship— that means the higher your cortisol level, the more likely you are to lose muscle. However, why is it that exercise, an activity that raises cortisol, helps build muscles? This is because high levels of cortisol that is enough to cause muscle wasting only occur when a person has a disease characterized by increased cortisol production. In fact, cortisol actually helps with lipolysis, or fat burning, which is essential in losing weight and building muscles. [7]

Myth #8: You need to take pills to get your cortisol under control.

Don’t believe all the advertisements you read or hear. There is no such thing as a pill, drink, or similar product that will help you keep your cortisol levels normal. If you have been diagnosed with either Cushing’s or Addison’s disease, proper medical management will be discussed with you by your physician. Otherwise, no magic pill is needed for healthy individuals to keep their cortisol levels optimal.

Myth #9: Exercising for more than hour causes cortisol levels to skyrocket.

You won’t find any studies, published online or otherwise, that will state that after 60 minutes, your cortisol levels will reach dangerous levels. The most important factor that you have to weigh in when it comes to cortisol is the intensity of the exercise you are performing. Unless you are overworking your body and exercising (dangerously) for prolonged periods of time, you won’t be able to get your cortisol levels high enough to cause damage. Hill, et. Al. in 2008 actually concluded that low intensity exercise was able to reduce cortisol levels. [8]

Myth #10: Low cortisol levels cause adrenal fatigue.

First of all, there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue — it is a condition that doesn’t exist in the medical world. Your adrenal glands continue powering on unless they are affected by a disease like Addison’s disease (a.k.a. adrenal insufficiency) that causes adrenal gland dysfunction. Otherwise, your adrenal glands don’t get tired no matter what your cortisol levels are. [9]

References:

[1] Society for Endocrinology. Cortisol. http://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/cortisol.aspx

[2] Mayo Clinic. Chronic stress puts you health at risk. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

[3] Mayo Clinic. Cushing syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cushing-syndrome/symptoms-causes/dxc-20197177

[4] Stahowicz, M. & Lebiedzinska, A. (2016). The effect of diet components on the level of cortisol. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-016-2772-3

[5] Filaire, E., et. al. (1996). Saliva cortisol, physical exercise and training: influences of swimming and handball on cortisol concentrations in women. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00377450?LI=true

[6] Roizman, T. (2015). Cortisol and carbohydrates. http://www.livestrong.com/article/456724-cortisol-carbohydrates/

[7] Djurhuus, C., et. al. (2002). Effects of cortisol on lipolysis and regional interstitial glycerol levels in humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12067858

[8] Hill, E., et. al. (2008). Exercise and circulating cortisol levels: the intensity threshold effect. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787373

[9] Nippoldt, T. Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue? http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/addisons-disease/expert-answers/adrenal-fatigue/faq-20057906

★ Amazing Uses And Benefits Of Lemons ★

#2 in our new series of quick tutorial videos.

Music by Alcyone Blackfeather

10 Reasons To Love Lemons:

1. Potent Germicide
2. Efficient Surface Cleaner
3. Food Preservative
4. Fights Dandruff
5. Helps Remove Rust Stains On Metal
6. Clearer Skin
7. Lemon Water to Aid in Weight Loss
8. Lemon essential oil aroma is calming and refreshing.
9. Lemon Peel (topical) to clear up Eczema
10. Lemon Juice to Repel Insects

Top 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Lemons:

1. Makes Green Tea Healthier
2. Inhibits Cancer
3. Promotes Oral Health
4. Fights Fungi
5. Reduces the Risk of Inflammatory Polyarthritis
6. Controls Cholera Outbreaks
7. Reduces Kidney Stone Formation
8. Alleviates Depression
9. Increases Iron Absorption
10. Prevents or Alleviates Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

5 Reasons To Drink Lemon Water In The Morning:

1. It balances pH
2. It keeps skin clear and glowing
3. It kickstarts the digestive system
4. It supports a weight loss diet.
5. Healthy substitute for coffee

How To Make Lemon Water:

Ingredients:
– a glass of cold spring water
– 1 lemon
Instructions:
1. Slice 3 or 4 pieces of lemon.
2. Drop the lemon slices into your glass.
Enjoy! 🙂
Tip: Use a straw to keep the acidic lemon off your teeth.

Lemon Essential Oil:

Used For:
• Mood elevation, revitalizing
• Antiviral & Antifungal
• Neurodegeneration
• Mosquito repellant
• Heartburn and reflux
• Antioxidant
• Analgesic
• Gallstones
• Action against colon cancer cells (lab)
• Food flavoring agent

Lemon peel contains many health benefits in the form of antioxidants and pectin. Lemon peel can be incorporated in food through lemon zest. Should you wish to prepare food with lemon zest, always make sure you use organically grown lemons.

Adding fruit juice to green tea allowed for better antioxidant absorption by the body compared to green tea alone. Lemons were the best kind of citrus to add to green tea, followed by orange, lime, and grapefruit. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17688297/

The leaves of the lemon tree are used to make a tea and for preparing cooked meats and seafoods.

How To Make Lemon Water
How To Make Lemon Water. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Photo © AdobeStock (under license)

Amazing Uses And Benefits Of Lemons

Probiotics: A Science-Supported Antiviral “Secret Weapon”

Probiotics - A Science-Supported Antiviral Secret Weapon
Image – Pixabay (PD)

Scientific Studies Have Shown That Probiotics Reduce Pneumonia 25% In Critically Ill Patients. So, Why Is The Media Silent On This Potentially Life Saving Information?

While probiotics – aka the “good bacteria” – are associated by most with restoration of balance to the gastrointestinal system, many studies now support them as antivirals with overall benefits to the immune system.

POTENTIAL LIFE SAVER?? – Actual Human Trial Finds That Probiotics May Prevent Severe Pneumonia: A 2016 human trial (small scale, 150 patients) with Lactobacillus rhamnosus found that probiotics significantly decrease the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and the overall incidence of infection in critically ill patients. It was theorized that probiotics potentially inhibit pneumonia by enhancing intestinal barrier function and reducing the load of pathogenic bacteria. [1]

The 2016 USA and Canada-based human trial found that probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus was beneficial in preventing VAP and other infections in critically ill patients. The report stated that “Probiotics constitute a promising method to prevent infection in critically ill patients.” [1]

More studies: Many other scientists have in fact TESTED probiotics in previous hospital ICU pneumonia scenarios and there have been numerous studies supporting the use of probiotics to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia intensive care unit mortality. A meta-analysis of 23 randomized controlled trials suggested that administering probiotics to critically ill mechanically ventilated patients is associated with a 25% reduction in the incidence of VAP. Probiotics significantly decrease the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and the overall incidence of infection in critically ill patients. The study concluded that “administering certain strains of live bacteria (probiotics) to critically ill patients may restore balance to the microbiota and have positive effects on immune function and gastrointestinal structure and function.” [2]

This could be HUGELY important right now… and nobody is talking about it! We are in the middle of a pandemic where it is KNOWN that cases that turn to pneumonia are those causing most of the fatalities; we have a scenario where the number of intensive care units available is being stretched to the limit, and we have a commonly available supplement that has been associated by numerous studies with significant reduction of pneumonia-associated intensive care (and it’s associated mortality – millions of people per year, not just thousands)… and… nothing is being done. Why?

How Probiotics Can Help Produce More GOOD Bacteria And Help Prevent Viruses

Our tip? Just get some now. While the antiviral effects of probiotics are still not fully researched and understood, there is much encouraging scientific research to support the use of probiotics as general antivirals; a brief summary of this is below.

More Important Science For Probiotics: Probiotics May Lead To Increased Antiviral Response: An important 2017 scientific review reported that there is significant evidence from numerous studies that probiotics enhance immune response. Administration with the well known probiotic strains Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus exert a beneficial effect on mucosal immunity. [3] Other studies have also reported that these probiotic strains have the ability to decrease viral infection. [4]

Scientific evidence suggests that probiotics have the therapeutic potential to shorten the length of common respiratory conditions. A recent meta-analysis reported that, at least in adults administered vaccinations to protect against influenza viruses, the co-administration of probiotics and prebiotics was efficacious. [5] The effect is “perhaps attributed to a fine–tuning of the mucosal barrier and metabolic system”.

Probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri has also been found effective against influenza in mice: A 2014 scientific study reported that this probiotic increased their influenza survival rates by up to 40%: “The body weight losses were lower with the [Lactobacillus gasseri] administration after the PR8 virus infection. At 5 days after the infection, the virus titer [amount of the virus present] was significantly decreased, as was the amount of produced IL-6 in the lung tissue, the number of total cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was reduced by the [Lactobacillus gasseri] administration. The expression of the Mx1 and Oas1a genes, critical for the viral clearance in the lung tissues was increased by the pre-treatment with [Lactobacillus gasseri]. These findings suggest that the [Lactobacillus gasseri] administration is effective for the protection against influenza A virus infection by the down-regulation of viral replication through the induction of antiviral genes expression.” [6]

Now this is potentially highly relevant in the case of coronavirus also because IL-6, mentioned in the above study, is particularly upregulated by SARS-group viruses as part of the “cytokine storm” that can be potentially fatal. So while noting that this is only an animal trial, lowering IL-6 by the use of probiotics would make sense logically.

Probiotics are widely available – go here to pick up our chosen brand and in “this is not medical advice” fashion I think I can state would be a highly worthy addition to your antiviral protective arsenal!

But the way science works in these cases is SLOW. These studies are beginning to be taken seriously, but it will be years before it gets the official stamp – and this is too slow for the current pandemic. And the media missed them entirely, focusing instead on scaring the hell out of people; rarely do they give people any form of actual measures they can take to protect themselves and boost their own health naturally.

As we know, there are (simplified) two general outcomes from COVID-19. If your immune system is strong, you get a cold/flu type bug for several days, possibly quite intense but you then recover. However the other outcome, associated typically with those who have compromised or weaker immune systems, is that it hits you MUCH harder and that you can quickly end up in ICU with pneumonia symptoms as the filling of the lungs with fluid causes greater and greater difficulty in breathing, potentially causing fatality.

So now tell me: Did you hear ANYTHING from the media lately about how to keep your immune system strong and healthy naturally…..?

I counsel my friends not to look at mainstream media ever again but there they are the next day, at it again. They cannot comprehend that they really could be lied to on such a mass scale. So I say one thing: Read the scientific studies. Just actually read them and learn. If you read the actual studies (not just the ones we link to in our articles, but others too) you will get a different and much more detailed picture to the one the media tells. You will see how the media CHERRY PICK what they want you to know about and what they don’t. Their goal is to terrify you because that makes BANK for them. This scenario is literally their perfect storm.

Youtube, Facebook and the rest in fact have had so much web traffic with everyone staying at home and locked into a sort of trance state, consuming fear-based stories all day long, that they had to downgrade the bandwidth of their video streaming due to the unprecedented demand!

That means the media giants are making unprecedented ad revenue as the rest of the world goes bankrupt.

Don’t rely on the media to guide you to health and safety. Rely on actual science. This Single SUPER-STRAIN Probiotic Could Be The Most Powerful Nutrient For A Faster Metabolism And Ultimate Defense Against Viruses

Note: Most people are fine with probiotics but they may be contraindicated in patients with gut perforation. Other patients i.e. catheterized may need special precautions with probiotic use. Pls check with medical professional.

More research: We recently covered Herbs And Natural Remedies For Coronavirus Infections in full. Our research on that topic led us to probiotics and we felt it was too important not to cover in a dedicated article.

References:

[1] Probiotics: Prevention of Severe Pneumonia and Endotracheal Colonization Trial—PROSPECT: a pilot trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970233/

[2] Probiotics in the critically ill: a systematic review of the randomized trial evidence. (2012) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22975886/

[3] Adjuvant Probiotics and the Intestinal Microbiome: Enhancing Vaccines and Immunotherapy Outcomes (2017) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748616/

[4] Interactions of macrophages with probiotic bacteria lead to increased antiviral response against vesicular stomatitis virus (2007) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17512614

[5] Effect of Probiotics and Prebiotics on Immune Response to Influenza Vaccination in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (2017) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707647/

[6] Oral administration of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 is effective for preventing influenza in mice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3982165/

Note – we may make commissions on sales of natural health products linked to in this and other articles on this website.