Controlling weight should be one of our nation’s top priorities considering diabetes and obesity are running rampant in this country. The role that the Cortisol hormone plays in relation to abdominal fat is a hot subject. Without stress reduction, Cortisol balance cannot be achieved. This article will give you some help.
Cortisol is a normal hormone found in the body. When it is in balance, it presence is necessary and positive. It is when it is over produced on a chronic basis that it becomes a problem. Stress and the average American diet filled with drinks fortified with caffeine are a big part of this problem. Caffeine stimulates the production of Cortisol unnaturally. This stimulated Cortisol production leads to an over-production which leads to fat storage especially around the stomach. There are a lot of supplements that say they reduce cortisol production. This article is to review several herbs that lower Cortisol production by lowering your stress level.
To reduce cortisol production you must get control of your stress with exercise, and the elimination of caffeine from your diet. Cortisol supplements may help but to achieve lasting success you need to change your negative patterns and lifestyle. Exercise is important to lower stress and cortisol production. Exercise also helps to balance an over production of Estrogen as well. Health comes from changes that start from within. In America, it seems to be that we demand quick fixes, a pill, or a magic wand to lose weight or improve health. It really needs to start with the basics. Herbs are tools for healing along with living a healthy life style.
At times in our life, life style changes may not be enough and we need additional help to get control of stress. I do not believe that drugs are the best choice unless nothing else works. They have side effects and are addicting. You don’t want to be under the control of addicting drugs replacing one problem with another. Here are a few herbs that will help you bring your stress level down a few notches which will lower cortisol production as well. This will help you lose weight.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): Indian herb used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to treat depression and anxiety. Gotu kola has been the focus of quite a few research studies here and thousands in China and India. Gotu kola also helps with food cravings and in those who binge eat. Gotu Kola is not the same thing as kola nut used as stimulant.
Rhodiola Rosea: One of the adaptogen herbs from Siberia. Has been used for centuries to boost immune function and to increase resistance to physical and mental stress. In Russian clinical studies, it is shown to be highly effective in the treatment of depression, mental fatigue, and stress. It helps the body to take up and use more oxygen. It has been shown to help in short-term memory, concentration, and audiovisual perception. There are no ill effects with it. A very safe herb.
Suma (Pfaffia paniculata): Plant comes from Central America. An adaptogen herb used to build up the body, improve immune function, and fight against stress and anxiety. Usually combined with other herbs for stress. Very safe herb with no known adverse effects.
Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis): Used in Chinese medicine to promote vitality and strength. Use for the treatment of stress, mental, and sexual function. Lignans are one of the main compounds in Schisandra. In tests Schisandra improves heart health and physical endurance.
Magnolia Bark: Used in traditional Chinese medicine since A.D. 100 to treat stagnation of qi resulting in low energy, and health problems caused from emotional distress. Of the 15 different compounds found in Magnolia Bark, the two most important are magnolol and honokiol. These two compounds according to Japanese research are 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E as an antioxidant. They are also shown to influence brain neurotransmitters in a positive way to help those with depression and stress. They are not as strong as Valium in sedation but 5 times stronger in their ability to lower stress and anxiety. Magnolia Bark according to the research does not cause drug dependence, central nervous system disruption, or a drugged up feeling.
Magnolia bark is either purchased as a tea or in cap or pill form. It helps lower cortisol production by lowering your anxiety and stress but has been proven to directly lower evening Cortisol levels. It also helps to relieve insomnia.
Green Tea: Among the many benefits to drinking green tea is its Theanine content. Theanine is an amino acid found in the green tea leaves. Theanine content depends on the time of year the green tea is harvested.
Theanine relaxes the body without making you feel sedated as Valerian root. It is great for lowering stress, tension, and anxiety. It takes 3-4 cups of green tea to give you enough Theanine (dosage of 50 to 200 mg per day) to lower stress. Theanine also improves focus, concentration, and performance. It is not a central-nervous-system depressant such as Valerian Root or Kava. Theanine increases the Alpha waves in the brain so that you feel awake, relaxed and focused. Alpha waves are present when the brain is effectively working but not in high gear. Often because of stress the normal balance between delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves are disturbed by stress, lack of quality sleep, and over work. We end up so stressed out we accomplish less. The ability to concentrate just goes downhill.
Decaffeinated green tea contains little Theanine because it is destroyed in the caffeine removal process. If you are on a no-caffeine diet than a supplement would be your choice.
The Cortisol Connection, Shawn Talbott, PH.D., FACSM, Hunter House Publishers, pps.199-225