Did you know, cortisol is considered the bane of building strength or size? Cortisol is by definition an anti-catabolic compound, meaning it causes the breakdown of muscle tissue. Produced by the adrenal cortex, cortisol is referred to as the stress hormone because it is released in response to physical and mental stress. Mild, infrequent elevations of cortisol, which are normal, rarely cause noticeable side effects. However, chronically elevated levels of cortisol can have adverse effects on the body, e.g., excess body fat, hypertension, diabetes, and depression.
Certain drugs like Cytadren are used to decrease high levels of cortisol in individuals with Cushing’s disease, which can be caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, or by prolonged use of glucocorticoid drugs, e.g. prednisone. Hence, to combat increased cortisol levels they believe to exist but have never verified with blood work, athletes will self-medicate with drugs like Cytadren. Unfortunately, because of the side effects, this approach can wreak havoc on one’s body.
Over the years the supplement industry has been capitalizing on the fact cortisol causes excess body fat, especially in the abdominal region. Several companies claim dramatic fat loss and washboard abs by just taking their product that supposedly reduces cortisol levels. In an attempt to avoid the side effects of drugs, and an easy way to lose body fat, countless individuals, including competitors, have turned to these supplements for their magical claims.
Unfortunately, cortisol blocking products are ineffective at cutting fat. Malcolm Low, MD, Ph.D. Senior scientist at the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, says even if the supplements did lower cortisol it would have little effect on weight loss. Weight loss is a very complex issue and there is no single answer. (http://www.webmd.com/content/article/118/112955.htm)
As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. Except in the case of controlling cortisol for the average individual. As you’ll see in the short video below with Dr. Eric Serrano, athletes can keep their cortisol under control with as little as 15g – 25g of carbohydrates. That’s right. Cheap, effective, and healthy. Watch and learn.