Complex physiological and hormonal processes link chronic emotional distress, elevated cortisol, and fat storage. How these elements relate:
Stress, sometimes known as the "fight-or-flight" reaction, is triggered by emotional distress.
This response releases cortisol and other stress chemicals from the adrenal glands. The "stress hormone" cortisol rises in response to stress.
Energy and metabolism are regulated by cortisol. It raises blood sugar by breaking down glycogen into glucose.
Chronic stress and elevated cortisol may affect appetite and diet. Stress might boost appetites for high-calorie, sweet, or fatty foods.
Cortisol may affect fat distribution. High cortisol levels, especially chronic stress, increase abdominal and visceral fat.
The brain-cortisol feedback loop exists. Chronic stress can affect the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which releases cortisol. Disregulation can cause chronic cortisol increase.
Stress-reduction measures, a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet, and enough sleep are essential for overall well-being and may reduce the effects of stress on cortisol and fat metabolism.