Does cortisol really force fat onto your midsection, as seen in television commercials? Not directly, as depicted, no.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause you to overeat, specifically carbohydrates, and as any good bodybuilder knows, overfeeding your body carbs increases belly fat. Incidentally, stress is only one cause. Another big cortisol trigger is lack of sleep. When you don’t get enough rest, your body is stressed and releases cortisol. It also releases gherlin, a hormone that tells you to eat, and reduces your output of leptin, a hormone that signals your body that you’re full. Lack of sleep can also derail growth hormone release, which occurs in the first third of your sleep cycle. More cortisol and gherlin and less leptin and GH make for a fatter, less muscular you—with more wrinkles too, as growth hormone helps repair skin, not just muscle tissue. Be sure to get enough sleep. Taking a calcium-and-magnesium supplement before bed can help.
Editor’s note: Phosphatidylserine supplements have been shown to significantly reduce cortisol. For more information, visit www.home-gym.com.