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-   -   Cortisol and Food (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5881)

Jarod Barker 11-21-2010 03:30 PM

Cortisol and Food
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


Originally Posted by Garrett Smith (Post 83272)
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.

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