Cortisol is one of your stress hormones, and it is a key player in insulin resistance. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, as are the sex hormones – testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. The very simplified cascade for production of these hormones is:
When your stress is high, your body will “steal” pregnenolone from the sex hormone pathway in order to make enough cortisol. That means a deficiency of sex hormones – for both men and women. Is it any wonder that your sex hormones are off balance when you have insulin resistance?
You may remember from previous blogs that the insulin resistance saga starts with factors that cause inflammation, and inflammation causes or contributes to a host of problems. We don’t need to treat each symptom separately. It still goes back to: eliminate the toxins and allergens that increase the cortisol; nourish your body with real food – fresh, organic, unprocessed and low carb; get good restorative sleep, preferably to bed by 10; and get consistent exercise.
You can find a lot more detail in Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, “The Blood Sugar Solution”. He goes more in depth on both causes and treatment, and he has written a cookbook which includes how to prepare your kitchen, how to shop, what to eat and how to prepare it. My goal is to break the solution down into “baby steps”. Some of my patients have said that the whole process is too overwhelming, so I’m blogging to provide ideas on how to slide into making the necessary lifestyle changes. You can make the transition as fast or as slow as you want, but please educate yourself on what happens if you procrastinate.
Baby step for today: if you aren’t already exercising, start by moving your body for 5 minutes, once or twice a day. Walking is great, but not everyone can walk well enough to make it their exercise choice. Other movements could be to use a stationary bike, cross-crawl in a standing or seated position, or arm movements with or without light weights. You start from where you are and move what you can move, and that’s your exercise.