March 26, 2016 – Cortisol and How it Affects You

Bariatric Support Group
Date: March 26, 2015
Facilitator:  Laura Hernandez, MBA, RD, LD

Laura spoke about cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone that is released by the adrenal glands when we are stressed.  Normally when we get into a stressful situation or become afraid, our adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenaline.  The cortisol helps to prepare your body for “fight or flight” by sending energy to the parts of the body that deal with the stress.   It shuts down your digestive system and appetite, and increases your blood sugar and blood pressure.    When the stress is over, your body increases your appetite to bring your body into normal balance after the “fight”.

She discussed different cortisol patterns that affect people throughout the day:

  • High early morning cortisol
  • High cortisol throughout the day
  • High evening cortisol
  • Low cortisol throughout the day.

She discussed ways to bring your cortisol into balance:

  1. Nutrition supplementation with Omega 3’s, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5 (the anti-stress vitamin), and Phosphatidylserine.
  2. Certain herbs can help relieve stress and restore cortisol levels to normal: Rhodiola rosea, Ginseng, and Ginkgo biloba.
  3. Stay hydrated!
  4. Relaxation practices, such as meditation, yoga, music therapy (look for these in the coming months)
  5. Exercise: best to do 15 minutes daily of both 1) anaerobic exercise (strength training), and 15 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging, cycling, walking) in mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
  6. Sleep helps to restore cortisol balance, and disrupted sleep increases cortisol levels

Along those lines, we have 4 upcoming support groups to help with that.  April 7th we will be doing meditation, yoga, music therapy, and physical exercise.  Please don’t miss them!