Cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone, comes into play with regard to blood sugar regulation, too. When your body is stressed from constant blood sugar imbalance, you produce chronically high levels of cortisol.Your emotional stressors are probably already causing an excess of cortisol production. Like our ancestors, we are wired to handle fairly acute stressors, followed by periods of rest or recovery.
Unfortunately, the lifestyles we lead today tend to put demands on our bodies to produce marathon-like levels of stress hormones, placing us at a constant systemic stress level of 4 or 5 out of 10. We can handle a level of 7, 8, 9 or even 10, but only if it is followed by a period of very low levels of stress. Few of us get that rest period.
Add the physical stress of your body’s response to carb overload, and you have even more chronically elevated cortisol, which can also create a state of chronic inflammation and disease. Furthermore, since your hormonal (endocrine) system is interdependent, and all of your stress hormones “talk” to your sex hormones and every other hormone in your body, this condition can lead to other endocrine problems. These problems include inhibited adrenal or thyroid function, low testosterone, and even infertility.
Dysglycemia is one of the biggest contributors to over-production of cortisol. Since you may not always be able to control your emotional stress levels, it makes sense to reduce your cortisol levels by controlling blood sugar through better diet and lifestyle choices.
Dysglycemia is a constant state of high or low blood sugar. It contributes to countless hormonal and systemic issues, as well as many chronic inflammatory conditions.
Cortisol is released from your two triangular-shaped adrenal glands, which sit right on top of your kidneys. It works with insulin and blood sugar in a loop or circular fashion, meaning if one is high, it pushes the other one high. This, in turn, pushes the other one high yet again. As a result, high blood sugar causes high insulin release, which causes high cortisol release. Since high cortisol release tells your body it’s time to “fight” or “flee,” your body senses danger, and the entire loop starts over again. Your body is simply trying to prepare your muscles for fighting or fleeing by supplying them with sugar.
So what if you’re stressed out all the time but want to keep your insulin levels in check? Lowering your carb intake will take you far, but it won’t get you the entire way. Your hormones need to play nicely together to create this equation: fat burning = moderate insulin release + higher glucagon release + healthy cortisol release.
When sugar takes its toll
Both high and low blood sugar can have profound effects on your ability to think clearly and maintain a positive mood. When your blood sugar levels are high, you feel foggy-headed or sleepy. People often refer to this as a “food coma.” How do you feel after a lunch of a few slices of pizza, a bowl of pasta, or even rice and beans? Typically, you feel tired, full, and not quite sharp. You may sit at your desk wishing you could take a nap rather than work on the report that’s due.
Read more: Blood Sugar And Cortisol