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Jarod Barker
11-21-2010, 03:30 PM
I tend to oversimplify things or jump to conclusions when I read different things, so I thought I might run this one past the PM board to see if I'm track.

I read this study: http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/reprint/89/1/281.pdf

And although I don't really want to take about the study in particular, one thing I pulled from the article was the idea that cortisol breaks down body tissue in order to free up nutrients for use in maintenance and repair. I suppose this makes sense to me since exercise can cause high cortisol levels and cortisol spikes blood sugar, so it makes sense then that cortisol is actually freeing up nutrients.

I apologize to those of you who already understood this mechanism, but it was a lightbulb moment for me.

In any case, here comes my conclusion, could you then actually lower your levels of cortisol release by eating more? If the reason the body is releasing ACTH which triggers cortisol release is because the body needs to mobilize nutrients, could you avoid that response by simply increasing calorie totals and eating more food so that your body now has an excess of nutrients to build and repair with?

Like I said, I tend to oversimplify then jump to conclusions, but that makes sense in my twisted little pretzel of a brain.

Steven Low
11-21-2010, 04:47 PM
What are you trying to ask?

Yes, eating turns on parasympathetic functions and turns of sympathetic (cortisol being a sympathetic hormone)

This is all part of normal function but once it gets out of whack (aka too much exercise e.g. too much sympathetic stimulatino) you may have issues.

That's why to recover you eat more and sleep more... parasympathetic functions

Nothing new or amazing

Jarod Barker
11-21-2010, 06:15 PM
Hey Steven, I know I didn't word it well. What I am trying to ask is, can you lower cortisol levels by eating more?

I've long been trying to manage my cortisol levels, I seem to spike them quite easily, I'm just a high stress worrying individual in general, so working out probably just adds to my cortisol level, and I've been dosing phosphatidylserine in what I thought was large amounts (800mg) and I've now bumped it up to 1.6g after talking to Dr. G. However, I read the article I posted, and for the first time, I think I understand the role of cortisol.

So even though I'm sure it's nothing new for people who already understood it, it's a new concept to me, and I just wanted to make sure I was understanding what I was reading and not just jumping to a conclusion that doesn't exist.

Garrett Smith
11-22-2010, 05:21 AM
In general, eating more decreases cortisol, while eating less (than the body needs) increases cortisol.

Emily Mattes
11-22-2010, 05:43 AM
In general, eating more decreases cortisol, while eating less (than the body needs) increases cortisol.

This is one of the reasons sleep deprivation can lead to serious munchies.

Steven Low
11-22-2010, 06:31 AM
Yeah, cort is released when there's no dietary stuff to take advantage of metabolically because your body needs ot maintain certain levesl of fatty acids and glucose.

Feed yourself less cort is gonna b e released in the long run.

Only problem is ify ou eat too much you'll just start gaining weight so...

Jarod Barker
11-22-2010, 10:11 AM
Aha! It's all coming together suddenly. I don't know why I was getting this before, maybe I just needed to read it in a different context.

So this is RRARF, the refeeding specifically, can actually lower cortisol levels. For the longest time I could not make sense of how my output could exceed my input and I'd gain fat as a result. It's the classic marathoner effect, lose muscle, gain fat.

It all makes so much more sense now.

Gary Ohm
11-22-2010, 11:43 AM
Great questions here. This is one of those things that's not intuitively obvious until it's made clear and then all of a sudden you slap your head and say "DOH!!!"

It is a difficult balance if you are trying to cut fat weight.

Is the 1lb a week for fat loss about the fine line between "starvation induced" cortisol boosts and not?

Steven Low
11-22-2010, 01:36 PM
Depends on body fat percentages probably.... deficits of 300-500 kcal tend to work fine for most people

Jarod Barker
11-22-2010, 02:06 PM
I'm sure there's probably also a point where increased food intake would not blunt cortisol anymore.

I wonder though if IF would have a hormetic effect that might prevent high cortisol levels on a calorie restricted diet.

Jane Michel
12-17-2010, 10:06 PM
Just came across this thread, and found it useful Chad :) Thanks for posting.

My cortisol levels seem to spike quite easily too and I'm a worrier that goes into fight-flight easily. A year ago or so MOD was recommending to me BCAAs but I found them too expensive and instead experimented with Vit C. Vit C helped a little but had quite limited effects. I also tried eating meat throughout the day but it didn't seem to help much and I ended up gaining some weight.

A week ago I finally decided to give BCAAs a shot, and am surprised and very pleased with how well it is helping. I think it is well worth the cost! And with your AHA moment, I understand better why Vit C couldn't too much, and meat couldn't help that much either. Both were just not enough.

Garrett Smith
12-18-2010, 06:39 AM
Alicia,
Based on what you just said, you might consider two things.

Holy basil as an adaptogen.

Phosphatidylserine to lower cortisol specifically.

Oh yeah, since we're on the subject of cortisol (adrenals) and food. Spicy foods (capsaicin-containing peppers) appear to really fire off the adrenals. This makes sense to me, as it is an irritant and puts the digestive system into a "fight or flight" state and also requires more anti-inflammatory modulation (one way is cortisol).

I often find that people in the so-called "adrenal fatigue" state are often addicted to two things...caffeine and spicy food:
Capsaicin-induced local effector responses, autonomic reflexes and sensory neuropeptide depletion in the pig. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1851542)
Systemic capsaicin pretreatment (total cumulative dose 50 mg/kg administered s.c. over 2h) was performed in pigs under pentobarbitone anaesthesia and the effects on sensory and sympatho-adrenal mechanisms were examined acutely and 2 days after treatment. During pretreatment with capsaicin, pronounced sensory and sympatho-adrenal activation were noticed. This resulted in a several-fold increase in the systemic arterial plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), neurokinin A (NKA), noradrenaline (NA), adrenaline (Adr) and neuropeptide Y (NPY), and a slight increase (39%) in plasma cortisol. Simultaneously, there was marked tachycardia, an increase in blood pressure, total skin erythema and some bronchoconstriction, all lasting for about 30 min. Upon repeated injections tachyphylaxis was observed. 2 days after capsaicin pretreatment, basal plasma levels of the neuropeptides, catecholamines and cortisol as well as basal cardiovascular and pulmonary parameters were similar in control and capsaicin-treated pigs.
[...]
A bolus injection of capsaicin (1 mg/kg i.v.) in control animals resulted in a marked increase in plasma catecholamines and NPY, concomitant with elevation in blood pressure and heart rate.
Note the bronchoconstriction. I talked about that possibility in my nightshades article in the PMenu.

Another one:
Effects of capsinoid ingestion on energy expenditure and lipid oxidation at rest and during exercise. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20682072)
CONCLUSION: The ingestion of 10 mg of capsinoids increased adrenergic activity, energy expenditure, and resulted in a shift in substrate utilization toward lipid at rest but had little effect during exercise or recovery. The changes we observed confirm previous data on the thermogenic and metabolic effects of capsinoids at rest and further promote its potential role as an adjunct weight loss aid, in addition to diet and exercise.

Capsaicin doesn't really have a "taste", only a sensation. People get addicted to the "high" they get from it, plain and simple.

Jane Michel
12-18-2010, 07:18 AM
Thanks for the tips Garrett! Is there any reason you suggest Holy Basil? I was browing around iherb.com for adaptogens and they sell quite a few. Three months ago I bought Rhodiola and Ashwaghanda. My only mistake with Ashwaghanda was not checking what NOW Foods puts in their pills - there is rice flour in there...... so I gave it to my father to use.

At first Rhodiola seemed to help a little, but it is nothing much compared to NOW Foods' True Calm and especially Mood Support. Mood Support helps me to fall asleep faster and helps me stay asleep. True Calm is not that effective with sleep, but puts me in a calmer state... like a zen state sometimes... and it's such a wonderful break from feeling edgy and like an ant on a hot pan.

Phosphatidylserine - before this thread I hadn't heard of it. When do you think it is necessary for someone to try it? And do you reckon eating phosphatidylserine-containing foods (eg eel, offal) once every few days will do, or is a dose required everyday?

Spicy food - yikes.... I'm one of those persons addicted to the high I get from capsaicin and love stirfrys with those tiny little thai chillis. Guess it's not more of those for me!

Garrett Smith
12-18-2010, 07:37 AM
Thanks for the tips Garrett! Is there any reason you suggest Holy Basil? I was browing around iherb.com for adaptogens and they sell quite a few. Three months ago I bought Rhodiola and Ashwaghanda. My only mistake with Ashwaghanda was not checking what NOW Foods puts in their pills - there is rice flour in there...... so I gave it to my father to use.

At first Rhodiola seemed to help a little, but it is nothing much compared to NOW Foods' True Calm and especially Mood Support. Mood Support helps me to fall asleep faster and helps me stay asleep. True Calm is not that effective with sleep, but puts me in a calmer state... like a zen state sometimes... and it's such a wonderful break from feeling edgy and like an ant on a hot pan.

Phosphatidylserine - before this thread I hadn't heard of it. When do you think it is necessary for someone to try it? And do you reckon eating phosphatidylserine-containing foods (eg eel, offal) once every few days will do, or is a dose required everyday?

Spicy food - yikes.... I'm one of those persons addicted to the high I get from capsaicin and love stirfrys with those tiny little thai chillis. Guess it's not more of those for me!
Holy Basil is particularly good for anxiety, while still functioning as an adaptogen. The New Chapter version is great.

With the two supplements you mentioned (the Mood Support has a tiny bit of Holy Basil in it, FYI), they both have a lot of action on particularly the GABA pathways, and some on the serotonin as well.

PS is extremely useful to lower cortisol. It's easiest to apply when an Adrenal Stress Index (4x saliva cortisol) is done and then the PS is taken within an hour of the "high" cortisol levels (if there are any). If you don't have a test, then it is really trial and error...taking some before/around your most stressful or anxious times of day is the best you can do to assess if your cortisol levels are high at that time. I like Primordial Performance's EndoAmp Max for this.

When problems get significant enough, oftentimes foods are not enough to correct the imbalance. You can try those foods and see if they help, if they don't help "enough", then I'd say go to bigger guns.

Jane Michel
12-18-2010, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the explaining PS and for the brand recommendations as well Garrett. On iherb I'm usually wondering which brands are alright.

Mood Support contains 5-HTP and Robb Wolf on one of his podcasts said something about the body potentially producing less 5-HTP when there is an artificial source of it coming in. What's your view on that?

Steven Low
12-19-2010, 12:28 AM
We had a big discussion on PS here:

http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4431

One of the brands I found to work on iherb was the one I listed in that thread. The soy derivative I tried was a bust.

Not sure about the 5 HTP comment. I'll check it out.

Garrett Smith
12-19-2010, 03:58 AM
Alicia,
I haven't heard of that. That said, it would be a safer bet to go to the precursor of 5-HTP, which is tryptophan (naturally occurring amino acid in food) and let the body do the converting as it deems necessary.

Steven,
I was under the impression that all PS these days is soy-derived, since they aren't sourcing it from cow brains anymore...

Steven Low
12-19-2010, 12:56 PM
Errr, I meant that it was in soybean oil instead of powder pills. Don't get anything in soybean oil.

Jane Michel
12-20-2010, 04:20 AM
Good thread Steven - thanks! I'd appreciate it if you could check the 5 HTP comment for me.

Garrett - hmm... if I got a couple of tryptophan and 5 HTP pills, and took the tryp first for a few nights, then 5 HTP for a few nights, and got better sleep with 5 HTP, would it mean that my body isn't so good at converting tryp to 5 HTP?

Garrett Smith
12-20-2010, 05:10 AM
It could...it could also mean for some reason your body wanted more niacin (the other pathway it could take).

It could also mean you didn't take enough tryptophan and/or you didn't take it on an empty stomach (where it works in this way best).

Jane Michel
12-20-2010, 05:35 AM
http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/surprised/dizzy.gif