How To Lower Cortisol and Burn Fat
Normally cortisol is a very important hormone as it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, regulates the immune system as well as glucose, insulin, and potassium. However if cortisol levels become too high then this can cause weight gain, particularly around your middle.
How does cortisol become too high?
Cortisol is part of the fight or flight response along with adrenalin and noradrenalin. If you’re constantly stressed due to work, finances or relationship problems then cortisol can become raised and stay that way.
It’s also an anti-inflammatory so if you have inflammation due to physical trauma or infection then extra cortisol is released to deal with it.
Why does cortisol make you fat?
During the fight or flight response, cortisol metabolizes fat and carbohydrates to provide you with the much-needed energy. After the stressful incident, cortisol makes you hungry so that you replace the calories you lost.
The problem is that the stressors our ancestors had to deal with (eg fleeing from lions) were very different from the stressors of the modern world (eg long working hours). Our ancestors’ stress levels were short-lived (acute) whereas ours continue day-in-day-out (chronic).
Elevated cortisol also causes insulin resistance, therefore, is associated with diabetes type 2 and Syndrome X. It’s particularly associated with stomach fat. So having a big belly is a sign of high cortisol levels.
How do you reduce cortisol levels?
The most obvious way to reduce cortisol is to reduce your stress levels. This might mean cutting back on working hours or asking for more help from family. You will also need to get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and do some exercise.
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However, you shouldn’t overdo exercise as this can also be stressful to the body. Yoga is a great form of exercise as it’s light and relaxing.
What supplements can help?
There are a number of supplements available however these should ideally be in addition to the above advise rather than instead of.
A great deal of research has been carried out on fish oil to understand the health benefits. Fish oil has been showing to help with depression, memory loss, bipolar disorder, and aggression. Now we know it also helps lower cortisol.
Some studies have been carried out to discover whether fish oil works for weight loss. The results have been somewhat mixed however one study that showed a positive link also measured cortisol levels. Those taking the fish oil noticed a much greater reduction in body fat and cortisol compared to those receiving Safflower Oil.
The amount of fish oil taken in the above study was 4g which provided a total of 1600mg of EPA and 800mg of DHA (2400mg total EPA and DHA). This is quite a large dosage and may account for the success of the study.
Another study carried out in Australia didn’t measure cortisol levels however did notice a significant weight loss in those who took 6g of tuna oil which equates to 1560mg DHA and 360mg EPA (1920mg total DHA and EPA).
We all know how important vitamin C is for the immune system and many people will reach for this vitamin when they first notice a cold come on. However it’s also very important for the adrenal glands and the more cortisol your adrenals are producing, the more need you have for vitamin C. There have been a number of studies to find out how well vitamin C works in times of stress and it seems that a dosage of 1,000 to 3,000 mg is ideal.
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If you have are overweight, have a lot of fat around your middle and also have high levels of cortisol, then making changes to your lifestyle and adding in supplements could help lower cortisol and help you burn fat too.
Adrenal Fatigue Treatment Can Help You Lose Weight Too
Most of the time when people discuss weight loss, they’re really focused on counting calories and burning up a sweat. The problem is that there may be underlying health problems that need to be fixed. If, for instance, your adrenals are fatigued then you’ll end up with a variety of symptoms and being overweight is just one of them.
What do the adrenals do?
The adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that carry out many functions. Here are just some examples of what the adrenals do for you:-
- Adrenaline and noradrenalin both work together to produce a “fight or flight” response.
- Cortisol is an amazing anti-inflammatory, keeps the immune system under control, regulates sodium, potassium, glucose and insulin levels.
- DHEA is one of the sex hormones and helps give you energy, the fight of depression and increases muscle.
How do they become fatigued?
Any kind of stressor can negatively affect the adrenal glands including the stress of exams, divorce, financial problems, viral infections, surgery, and poor diet.
Cortisol is released in response to any of the above stressors but over time the adrenals simply cannot cope with the strain. Eventually, you go from producing too much cortisol to not producing enough. This also means that the adrenals can’t produce as many other hormones.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
People with adrenal fatigue can potentially develop a wide range of symptoms including:-
- weight gain
- low libido
- inability to deal with stress
- brain fog
- muscle weakness
- recurrent infections
- low blood pressure
How do you get diagnosed?
The major problem people face is that most doctors don’t recognize any kind of adrenal fatigue apart from Addison’s Disease, which occurs if the adrenal glands have completely failed. To most doctors, your adrenals either work or they don’t work and won’t recognize the grey area in between.
However, you can get tested yourself or find a doctor who does understand adrenal fatigue. The best test is the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) saliva test which measures DHEA and cortisol 4 times a day. You order this test yourself from Canary Club.
How do you treat your adrenal glands?
A number of treatments are available to help your adrenal glands recover.
- Vitamin C (500-3,000 mg)
- Vitamin E (400-800 iu of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols such as Now Foods Gamma E)
- Vitamin D3 (1,000-5,000 iu)
- Magnesium (200-800 mg in malate, chloride or glycinate forms)
- Adrenal glandular supplements
The above supplements should be taken in addition to eliminating as much stress as possible, improving your diet and also get plenty of sleep.
If your adrenal fatigue was brought on by some kind of infection such as a virus or bacteria then you may also need to fight the infection through medication or herbal products.
How long does it take to recover?
Ultimately it depends on how fatigued your adrenals are. If you only have mild adrenal fatigue then it could take a few weeks or months to recover however if your fatigue is very bad then it could take a few years.
How Sleep Can Help You Burn Fat
It might seem strange to talk about sleep is important for weight loss but it actually is. There are a number of reasons for it and one of them relates to your energy levels. How do you feel when you have a bad night’s sleep? Pretty exhausted. And what do you do to get your energy levels up? Probably eat and drink all the wrong things!
So if you’re not sleeping as well as you should what can you do to get a better night’s sleep? First of all, you might want to understand how your body makes you go to sleep. Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone because it’s produced at night when your sleeping.
What happens is that during the day you produce serotonin but when night falls this triggers your body to start producing melatonin.
You can either buy melatonin over the counter or you might be able to get it on prescription. Simply take it about half an hour before you go to sleep.
However, if you’re unable to obtain melatonin where you live or you want to help your body produce its own then you’ll need the following nutrients: tryptophan, magnesium, B6 (pyridoxine-5-phosphate or P5P), B3, B12 (methyl-B12) and folate (Metafolin).
As mentioned above, melatonin is produced when night falls. Because of this, it’s a good idea to be getting plenty of sunlight during the day and then make sure to block all the light in your bedroom at night. Many people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) do very well when they use a lightbox in the morning.
Other supplements you might want to consider include thiamine. This is an amino acid found in tea and has been shown to help relax the brain, therefore, making it easier to sleep. It can even be used during the day to help you concentrate. It works because it can pass the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) and then convert to GABA which relaxes the nervous system.
You can also buy GABA in supplements however it doesn’t pass the BBB as easily so can have limited effect. However, it’s still worth trying to see if you respond. The amino acid Glutamine is also sold as a precursor to GABA however it could also convert to Glutamate which has an excitatory effect on the nervous system.
Ultimately there’s a number of things you can do if you’re overweight and addressing the quality of your sleep could be a good start in addition to the usual fat burners. Many people complain of waking up in the mornings feeling really rough, well now you know what you can do about it.
Fat Burning Vitamins and Minerals
Although there are many weight loss products on the market which include herbs and other substances, quite often vitamins and minerals can help you lose weight. That’s because if you look up certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies you’ll see that “weight gain” is often listed.
It’s thought that vitamin C helps because it’s needed for the synthesis of carnitine. Carnitine is incredibly important for slimmers due to the fact that it’s needed for transporting fats to the mitochondria where it’s then burnt off for energy. If you’re deficient in carnitine you’ll suffer from tiredness and will find it difficult to exercise. Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency also include poor wound healing, sore gums and frequent nose bleeds.
As mentioned above, fats (and other nutrients) are needed to help the mitochondria produce energy. This energy is called ATP and needs to bind to magnesium to become stable. This is why magnesium is so important because a deficiency can cause tiredness and if you’re tired you’ll not want to do any exercise plus you’ll crave foods which are high in sugar and fat. Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, mood swings and PMS.
Known as the “sunshine vitamin” vitamin D is very helpful for weight loss. It’s been found that those who take a vitamin D supplement are able to lose weight easier than those who don’t take a supplement. Although you might associate vitamin D with bone health and the prevention of rickets, there’s actually a lot more to this vitamin. For instance, it’s really important for the immune system and it’s thought that we tend to get more colds in the winter because we’re not getting so much vitamin D from sunlight. It’s also important for fighting cancer because it plays a part in “cell death.” This is a good thing because we want cancer cells to die. Vitamin D is also needed for producing the neurotransmitter serotonin, which means a deficiency makes us feel depressed.
This mineral is well known for its beneficial effects on the thyroid gland which is why Iodine (or kelp which contains iodine) is included in many weight loss formulas. Unfortunately, iodine is appearing less and less in our foods so supplementation is a good idea.
Minerals and exercise
If you’re doing a lot of exercising as part of your weight loss regime you’ll be losing a lot of essential minerals through your sweat. So it’s a really good idea to take a supplement with lots of essential minerals in it to prevent any problems.
Minerals and diuretics
Many people wanting to lose weight take diuretics in order to get rid of unwanted water. However diuretics can also cause mineral loss.
Magnesium Weight Loss and Health Benefits
So often when people think about weight loss they think about going on some kind of starvation diet. The problem is that this will simply result in a lowered metabolism and ill health.
The best way to go about weight loss is to think about nutrition and understand what your body needs to function properly. As strange as it might sound, magnesium is one of the nutrients which could help you lose weight.
Will magnesium help you lose weight?
First off, in order to lose weight with magnesium you have to be deficient in the first place. If your body is replete with magnesium then taking extra in the form of supplements won’t help you.
How does magnesium help with weight loss?
Magnesium is needed for about 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body meaning that if you’re deficient, your body isn’t able to work as well as it should.
For instance, you might have a tendency to binge on comfort foods when you’re feeling depressed. Well, magnesium will help with your depression because it’s needed to help convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin and also melatonin.
Serotonin is one of the hormones that make you feel happy whilst melatonin helps you get to sleep. So if you’re feeling happy and you’re getting a good night’s sleep, chances are you won’t feel the need to binge on high fat and high sugar foods.
Here’s another example, a lot of women crave chocolate around the time of their menses. Why should this be? Well, cocoa is one of the best sources of magnesium and helps relieve cramps and can generally provide you with a sense of well-being.
Magnesium is also needed to give you enough energy to exercise. This is because the mitochondria in your muscles produce a kind of energy called ATP. In order for this energy to work properly it needs to bind to magnesium.
Are you deficient in magnesium?
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, sensitivity to light and noise, mood swings and anaemia.
Magnesium has an interesting relationship with calcium in that they work with and against each other. This means that you need to have the correct balance between these two nutrients. It’s said that the ratio of calcium to magnesium should be 2:1. However if you eat a lot of dairy products, chances are you’re getting more in the region of 10:1.
Calcium and magnesium both compete for absorption so if you’re getting too much calcium it means that magnesium won’t be absorbed properly.
Also, Western diets are becoming more and more deficient in magnesium particularly because of the number of refined grains we eat. When grains are processed, so many of the nutrients are stripped out. In some countries flour has been fortified with certain nutrients such as folic acid, however, this hasn’t been the case with magnesium.
How do you get more magnesium?
Magnesium is found in good amount in cocoa powder, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. So do your best to eat plenty of these kinds of foods. If you want to ensure you’re getting enough then you can take supplements.
Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements on the market use of magnesium oxide. The problem with this is that it’s poorly absorbed by the body and can produce a laxative effect.
There are some superior forms of magnesium on the market which costs a bit more money but are 4 times as effective. These include magnesium malate, glycinate, citrate, and taurate. However, it has been reported by some people that Magnesium glutamate and aspartate makes depression worse.
Some people even enjoy adding Epsom salts into a bath and having a good soak. This will be particularly good on days when you’re muscles are feeling tight and sore. 600g of Epsom Salts in a bath for 15 minutes will significantly increase the levels of magnesium in your body.
In order to get the most out of magnesium, you also need to ensure you have good levels of vitamin D to help with absorption. If you live in a cold climate chance are you’re not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight which means you’ll probably want to take a supplement of at least 1,000 iu.
Magnesium isn’t some sort of miracle weight loss product however it’s absolutely essential for a healthy body and most people today are deficient in magnesium. So if you feel you might be deficient and want to health benefits of magnesium then this is a very healthy route to take.
Carnitine Weight Loss and Health Benefits
Although generally not sold a weight loss aid, Carnitine has become pretty popular with those looking to lose weight as well as bodybuilders. It’s simply an amino acid which is normally found in meat however it can be created from two other amino acids – lysine and methionine.
How does Carnitine work?
Basically, it’s used to transport fat to the mitochondria where it’s then burnt off to create energy. The mitochondria are essential for producing a type of energy called ATP which gives all the muscles in your body the energy it needs to function properly.
When I say muscles, I mean any kind of muscle in your body, it could be your biceps, triceps or even your heart and brain. So, if you ever feel tired, drained and unable to concentrate it’s probably because your mitochondria aren’t producing enough energy.
This is why a lot of bodybuilders take carnitine supplements. They want to get as much energy as they can in order to lift heavier and heavier weights without getting tired.
Not only does carnitine deliver fat to the mitochondria for energy production, but it’s also needed to deliver the energy to your muscles.
Have there been any clinical trials with carnitine?
Yes but with mixed results. There was one study carried out on moderately obese women where one group took L-Carnitine and the other group took a placebo. At the end of the study, there was no distinguishable difference between the two groups .
Another study shows that L-Carnitine was able to increase muscle in those with a deficiency in Carnitine . As you may know, muscle burns up more calories than fat so for those of you who are looking to lose weight, building muscle is very important.
Carnitine has also been shown to help those who suffer from conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). A study carried out over 8 weeks found that L-Carnitine was very effective with most benefits occurring after 4 weeks of use . So if you’re overweight due to being tired a lot and unable to exercise, Carnitine should be able to help you a great deal.
How do you take Carnitine?
First of all you can get in your diet if you eat a lot of meat. Unfortunately, if you’re vegetarian you’re going to struggle to get enough because it’s only found in small amounts in non-meat foods.
If you’re struggling to get enough in your diet then you can easily buy it in supplement form. However you should understand that there are different types of supplements, if one doesn’t work for you then you should consider trying other types.
The most common supplements are L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Carnitine Fumarate, Carnitine Tartrate and Carnitine Arginate.
Are there any other supplements that work with Carnitine?
Yes, there are quite a few supplements that people take along with Carnitine to help them loose weight, build muscle and give them energy these include:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – Appears to work well with Carnitine by boosting its effectiveness and also protects the mitochondria from oxidative damage.
- Adenosylcobalamin (vitamin B12) – This form of B12 is very important in helping the mitochondria produce ATP energy. The best effects seem to come from Country Life Dibencozide sublingual lozenges left under your lip for as long as possible (at least 45 minutes) will help it get into the bloodstream directly for maximum absorption.
- D-Ribose – works well to increase the mitochondrial energy production and works well before and after a workout as it helps to create and restore ATP. Powders work out much cheaper than tablets plus D-Ribose has a naturally sweet taste so easy to mix in with drinks.
- Magnesium – The energy that the mitochondria produce is in the form of ATP. However, in order for the ATP to be useable is has to bind to magnesium. Magnesium malate, glycinate, citrate, and taurate are seen as being amongst the best. Please avoid Magnesium oxide, glutamate, and aspartate.
Should you buy Carnitine to lose weight?
If you feel the reason you’re overweight is that you’re lacking in energy and find it difficult to build muscle then yes, Carnitine should be able to help you lose weight. However, you might have to try different types of Carnitine to see which one works best for you plus you might have to combine it with some other supplements listed above to give your energy levels a boost.
Of course, you’ll also want to eat as healthily as you can which means eating simple whole foods such as meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Getting a good night’s sleep is also important as this is when your body is able to repair itself including the repair of your mitochondria.
Remember, your mitochondria are very important for producing energy to fuel all of your muscles. If you have more energy you’ll be able to do more exercise and build muscle which in turn will help you lose weight.
Health Benefits Of Acai Berries
You may be wondering what all the fuss about acai berries is all about. There’s certainly been a lot of media coverage over the last few years so you might be curious to discover how they could help benefit your health.
Each berry contains a tiny seed that provides a lot of nutrition however there’s more to this berry than just the seed. The other part of the berry contains a great number of nutrients that your body craves.
You’ll find that each berry contains roughly 8 grams of protein along with several amino acids, vitamin C, vitamin A and a host of other nutrients. Compared to other berries, acai is very special because of the protein content. So it’s particularly wonderful who need more protein in their diets such as those working out at the gym along with vegetarians and vegans.
In addition to all of the above, there’s also a good amount of fiber which can help with detoxing your body. Detoxes are important because it helps remove nasty substances that have built up in your body over time. The fiber helps scrape away the insides of your intestines much like a toothbrush washing your teeth.
Fiber can also help to fill you up quicker which means you’re less likely to want to snack on unhealthy foods such as cakes and biscuits.
Antioxidants can also be found in large quantities which is excellent because antioxidants have been found to help combat a number of ailments including cancer.
You’ll also be pleased to know that you’ll find impressive quantities of Omega-3 fatty acids in acai berries. This special type of fatty acid is important for a variety of reasons and is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Sure, there are other ways to obtain Omega-3 including flaxseed, seafood and some other vegetables however acai is the most potent of all fruits.
When buying acai berries, you need to understand that they aren’t cheap. This is because they’re picked by hand deep in the Amazonian forests and then shipped to the US.
In order to make acai berry pills, cheaper companies will often add in “fillers” which are just unnecessary ingredients. So trying to find a reputable source isn’t always easy however it’s best to take some time over your buying decision.
First of all, look to see the brand that you are buying from so whether it’s a reputable company or not. Acai berries need to be produced on premises which have high-quality equipment
It’s not always easy to find out this kind of information however a quick search for reviews should be able to help you somewhat.
You should also be aware of the fact that acai berries can very easily become spoiled. Once the fruit has been harvested the nutrient value starts to decline. This means the company ought to be quick in processing the berries and ideally they should be freeze-dried.
Not all companies process their berries in the same way so please make sure you’re buying berries that have been freeze-dried as this ensure you’re obtaining the best possible quality for your money.
Be wary of other ingredients added to the acai berries and find out whether they are of any real importance. Ideally, you should look for pills that are 100% pure acai berry.
All of this can take time but it will be worth it because you won’t want to be wasting your hard-earned money.
Health Benefits Of Vodka
There are certain things in life we automatically assume are bad for us yet continue to take it because we love the taste or the experience we get. Nowadays vodka is probably one of the most widely drunk spirits which can cause a wide range of health problems including sclerosis of the liver.
However this is only a problem if you drink way too much of it. If you only drink it in moderation (up to a shot glass per day) then you might actually experience some benefits.
Health Benefits of Vodka
Tests were carried out to see the effects of vodka versus red wine in reducing stress levels and it was discovered that vodka was actually more effective.
Vodka is also thought to help with some heart conditions and cancers however nothing conclusive has been found.
There are also some trace vitamins and minerals found in Vodkas such as Vitamin B phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. However, these levels are only very tiny.
Health problems of Vodka
Although you might like the idea of Vodka being healthy for you, ultimately there are far too many health risks that outweigh any benefits. The occasional shot of vodka is perfectly fine as long as you don’t become dependent on it.
Health problems can include sclerosis of the liver, increased estrogen levels, gastric cancer, depression, and muscle weakness.
Also, in terms of weight loss, vodka does contain calories – 56 calories per shot (25 g) so if you like to drink vodka you’ll have to find ways of burning up those extra calories.
If you enjoy the occasional shot of vodka there’s no reason to worry about any health problems. But if you start to drink it in larger amounts then you really ought to be careful.
Types Of Weight Loss Pill
When you’re searching for weight loss pills you might have seen a number of different types advertised. You see, not all pills work in the same way. The types you’ll probably see on the market include fat blockers, fat burners, and appetite suppressants.
One of the major reasons people put on weight is because of the amount of fat you eat. So if you want to continue eating fatty foods then a fat blocker can help you block some of the fat you eat. Alli, Proactol, and Lipobind are just three that you might have seen advertised.
You put on weight if you are eating more calories than you’re able to burn off. You can burn off excess calories by doing more exercise. However, if you don’t want to be living in your local gym it can be difficult to exercise off enough calories. Instead, you can opt for a fat burner such as Phen375 or Capsiplex.
OK, so you eat like a pig and can’t stop yourself. What are you supposed to do? You really need an appetite suppressant. There are many on the market including Hoodia, Caralluma Fimbriata, Zotrim. Some of the appetite suppressant work by tricking your brain into believing that you’re not in need of any food. Whereas there are other pills that work by making your food stay in your stomach for longer and therefore not hungry.
Other tips in buying a weight loss pill
Be careful about the dosage and how many ingredients are in the pills. Just because an ingredient has been proven to help with weight loss doesn’t mean to say that it will automatically help you lose weight – many companies put in too little. Some companies also try and stuff far too many ingredients into a pill so you’re not getting enough of any of the ingredients.