Cortisol is a hormone involved in the stress response and in emergency situations and is important for having energy that is ready to use and to reduce inflammation.
It is a life-saving hormone, but if we alter sleep, do stressful jobs, there are problems in the family, its levels can rise and with it the blood sugar level and in doing so in the long term we find ourselves bloated overweight and diabetics
Cortisol has a circadian rhythm, is highest in the morning and progressively decreases in the evening. And this comes from the fact that blood sugar has to rise naturally in the morning. But the nutritional question always has been? We have to reduce it by consuming carbohydrates in the morning or we have to indulge it by consuming proteins instead. The answer depends on what type of person you are, what your goals are and what effects stress and cortisol have on you.
Every person needs the right setting. The truth is always in the middle. For some it is important to take carbohydrates to dampen the effects of cortisol which is high, but only of whole nature to avoid glycemic fluctuations, for others it is not and it is important to reduce them.
A protein and fat meal stimulates cortisol which is therefore not good for people who are not overweight, but who already suffer from stress and sleep disturbances. On the other hand, those who produce little of it must have a mixed meal of proteins and carbohydrates. In fact, following a high-protein diet could worsen the situation in the long term and stimulate the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis too much and favor a greater production of cortisol in people who require carbohydrates, vice versa it could be useful for people who already have insulin resistance.
So those who do not have insulin resistance, but only high cortisol (the stressed and lean), could benefit from taking carbohydrates in the morning, those who already have insulin resistance (and are fat) could benefit from a protein and low glycemic index diet. In fact, in normal people, using a low-carbohydrate diet could stimulate the production of cortisol and it is not good. A low carb diet alters cortisol metabolism regardless of weight loss. In obese men it increases the regeneration of cortisol through 11b-HSD1 and reduces the inactivation of cortisol through A-anneloreductase in the liver.
Stress raises cortisol which stimulates the synthesis of fat cells and the accumulation of fat. Here we have to work around it and understand who the person in front of us is and how to treat them
A low-carbohydrate diet in normal people raises cortisol and lowers thyroid hormones, favoring long-term accumulation of fat. The same diet in the insulin resistant and obese, on the other hand, has beneficial effects
In fact, insulin resistance counteracts fat loss and high cortisol reduces leptin, increasing appetite and making it even more difficult to respect the diet, so ketogenic diets can only in these cases find a place by reducing hunger and increasing sensitivity to insulin. On cortisol, on the other hand, the problem remains, but it is better to solve something.
In fact, if you are obese, the production of cortisol is selectively increased within the adipose tissue. The 11-HSD1 enzyme regenerates cortisol from cortisone within the adipose tissue and liver. Insulin inhibits 11-HSD1, but those who are insulin resistant do not have this insulin effect. This is why carbohydrates are good if you are stressed and normal, not if you are obese and insulin resistant.
In addition there are many natural substances that act by modulating cortisol including essential fatty acids, vitamin C, turmeric and phosphotidylserine.
Conversely, caffeine increases the production of cortisol