How Stress is Stealing Your Hormones

Cortisol Stress Hormone

The #1 reason that hormones become inbalanced is because of stress – and I want to share with you how that happens and what you can do about it.

Stress literally steals your hormones. You’re probably under some degree of stress at work or home, and we are all inadvertently stressed from our environment (none of us live in a bubble) or from the food you’re eating.

Stress used to serve one purpose – that was to run from lions and tigers and bears. That used to happen occasionally. Now it happens ALL THE TIME. You know the feeling – anxiousness, restlessness, racing heart, trouble focusing, upset stomach and of course, hormonal imbalance.

But what does that mean? Here’s what happens on a biochemical level: 

We all make or take in cholesterol that gets converted into something called Pregnenolone – that goes on to form DHEA (our anti aging hormone), which goes on to make testosterone and estrogens – the primary hormones responsible for feeling sexy and energized.

What Pregnenolone also goes on to produce is progesterone, aldosterone and the most famous of all, CORTISOL – our major stress hormone.

But here’s the key thing – when we’re under tons of stress, something called the Pregnenolone steal happens. Cortisol literally steals pregnenolone from being converted to everything else so it can make more of itself. All your other hormones drop off the map but cortisol stays high.

Now it’s also important to note that after cortisol is high for a really long time, your adrenal glands (where cortisol is produced) basically tap out from exhaustion. Then you end up with something called Adrenal Fatigue or Insufficiency. That’s why it’s important to measure your cortisol and to find out where it’s at – you’ll want to bring it down if it is too high or bring it up if it is too low in order to feel your best.

If the symptoms of high cortisol sound like you, here are my top 5 tips for reducing cortisol levels:

  • Get enough sleep! Sleeping properly is super important for recharging your adrenal glands.
  • Eat good food and don’t forget to eat – skipping meals is stressful on the body and further raises cortisol.
  • Move your butt – exercise burns off cortisol and the high blood sugar and body fat that comes with it.
  • Be grateful – pick 3 things that you are thankful for each day and focus on the positive. It literally rewires your brain to balance mood and reduce stress.
  • And of course, see a Naturopathic Doctor! Measure those cortisol levels and your hormones to find out and treat what’s really going on with you. Don’t guess, test. And remember, life is better when its balanced!

Dr. Harmonie Eleveld, ND

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