Photo: Ohmega1982 Free Digital Photos
Chronic stress elevates cortisol which creates excess fat around the middle. Adequate intake of vitamin C however, may lower levels of this adrenal hormone.
Stress Increases Cortisol, Overproduction Harms Health
Cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands during stress, increases when the pituitary gland releases another hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Humans experience a physiological reaction to stress as a built-in protection response to perceived threats from predators and other aggressors. While primitive dangers are now rare, people are still hard-wired to respond to threats which today generally means daily stress. Stress elicits a “flight or fight” reaction in the body.
This stress response varies in individuals and is similar to if a soldier stands guard, reacts to a threat, sees the threat isn’t real and either relaxes or remains on alert. Chronic overwork, financial strain, lack of exercise, too little sleep, relationship problems, substance abuse, ill health, poor nutrition, any stress prompts cortisol production in the body and puts the body on alert.