Category Archives: cortisol

Are stress and high cortisol depleting your vitamin D?

by PF Louis 

(NaturalNews) According to recent studies reported by the Body Ecology website, cortisol, the flight or fight hormone, can disrupt your body’s vitamin D3 uptake.

If cortisol is produced by chronic stress that can’t be acted upon by running or fighting for your life, the cortisol builds up in your body. This is the situation with many of us who try to suppress chronic low level stress and carry on with what many consider “normal” life.

Here’s another factor according to the report: Normally, cortisol production decreases from midnight to 4 a.m. Staying up past midnight creates an irregular cortisol production pattern that may result in increased cortisol in your body as it tries to compensate. That’s not good news for us night owls.

How does this happen? Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, and so is cortisol. Hormones need receptors in the body to perform their magic. The receptors for vitamin D3 are called simply vitamin D receptors (VDR).

So regardless of how much Vitamin D3 we take in, if it can’t find receptors, it just floats around in the blood with deceptively high D3 blood level counts. Cortisol is also a hormone. It is a prominent member of the glucocorticoid class of hormones, which diminish VDR capabilities.

Therefore, in addition to maintaining or increasing vitamin D3 intake, try to sleep regular hours and learn to stress less. 

Here’s a vitamin D3 review to remind you of the benefits.

Sources, recommended amounts, and benefits of vitamin D3

You won’t get sufficient D3, technically a hormone precursor – not a vitamin, from foods. Sunlight and supplements are the keys. The sun’s UBV rays on exposed skin mixes with cholesterol, yes cholesterol, in your skin to start a series of metabolic biochemical changes that culminate in your liver and kidneys to produce D3 for those VDR receptors.

When you take natural animal or plant based supplements, you bypass the sunlight exposure phase that creates the vitamin D3 precursor. Instead, you get naturally derived precursors that go directly into the liver and kidneys for processing.

Your liver and kidneys take over to produce the hormonal activities and functions needed for a variety of situations. Do not use a prescription drug vitamin D or buy it off a shelf unless you are absolutely certain it’s a naturally based D3, not D2.

The best way to determine your vitamin D3 blood level is from a blood analysis known as the 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D test. If you don’t have access to a local lab or a trustworthy doctor, there is an organization that can work out home testing with you here.

Almost everyone is deficient with this hormone/vitamin. The negative effects are often sub-clinical. One factor is the low RDA (recommended daily amount) of supplements well under 1,000 IU (international units).

Another factor: The “medically acceptable” range of D3 blood levels, 20 to 30 nanograms per milliliters (ng/ml) of blood serum doesn’t cut it, according to the Vitamin D Council, Dr. Mercola and others.

They say optimum health protection occurs with a blood level of 50 to 70 ng/ml. Under 50 ng/ml is considered deficient. For treating cancer, they recommend 70 to 100 ng/ml.

Over 100 ng/ml can be toxic. However, tests have determined that supplementing up to 40,000 IU of D3 is safe for short periods of time. 

The health benefits of D3 are numerous, from preventing or reversing Alzheimer’s (with curcumin), cancer, and minor flus and colds. It is an anti-inflammatory compound and immune system regulatorthat increases or decreases the immune system as needed.

Fighting Hormones with Hormones

NOTE:  If you have not yet read yesterday’s article, Three Hormones You MUST Address for Fast Fat Loss, do that now by clickingHERE (page opens in a new window).  You first need to fully understand the information in that article to fully grasp today’s content.
Once you’ve got that done, proceed below:
As I’ve covered previously, when you are breaking through a fat loss plateau or trying to get to the Final Phase of leanness, things get a bit murkier than they do with traditional fat loss.
Rather than dieting excessively in order to create a Calorie deficit, we seek to enter into energy debt by way of intelligently designed training protocols.  In addition, keeping energy intake high ensures that leptin levels don’t drop and throw another hormonal monkey wrench into the machinery.
Because, as we know from yesterday’s article, when you’re getting very lean or you’ve hit a plateau, fat loss is not just about Calories in vs Calories out–it’s about your hormonal environment and the way that affects fat storage, and thereby fat loss.
When you’ve lost the first 20 or 30 or whatever pounds, you’ve lost the “easy” fat.  What you’ll notice about your body is that you’re now holding fat specifically in your trouble areas; and those trouble areas are determined by your specific hormonal environment.
If you’ve been following along, by now you know that it’s not just about energy debt or cardio or to a lesser extent diet (although all of those things do factor in quite a bit, obviously). 
When your fat loss has stalled and you’re trying to break through that wall, or when you’re trying to rid yourself of those last stubborn 5-10 pounds, it’s a hormonal battle.
And there is only one way to win: fight hormones with hormones.
We’ve established that there are three specific hormones that cause the three most common types of regional fat storage.
As a quick recap:
1. Estrogen – the female sex hormone responsible for lower body fat storage patterns.
2. Insulin – Or rather, insulin resistance; this nasty little dude heavily influences fat storage in the love handle and lower back area.
3. Cortisol – the appropriately dubbed stress hormone is part of the reason you’ve got more flab than ab.
Those are your enemies.
Now, I want to talk to you about how you can actually increase the production of other hormones that offset the above “bad” hormones–through the manipulation of training methods.
In this corner…
Estrogen vs. Testosterone
Now that we’ve established (again, with apologies to the ladies) that estrogen is the main reason lower body fat storage occurs, we need to know how to work around that.
Well, how else would you combat estrogen but with testosterone?  In all honesty, when if comes to fat loss and muscle gain,testosterone good, estrogen bad.
It’s for that reason that professional athletes, bodybuilders and the juicers down at the Jersey Shore use illicit steroids that are derivatives of testosterone. 
Of course, that’s not an option for us–and certainly not desirable. 
Instead, we are going to increase testosterone levels naturally, through training.  Not only will this increase the net fat-burning effect of all exercises, but more appropriate to our purposes here, it will also facilitate in getting rid of lower body fat.
I should mention something here to alleviate any concerns:  it is NOT possible to produce a detrimental amount of testosterone through training.  So ladies, you don’t have to worry about any masculinizing effects.
Instead, training produces what we would term a ‘high’ amount of testosterone from a physiological perspective, relative to what your body normally produces.  For the guys, this means that such training will help you put on a bit more muscle–just not steroid muscle.
Got it?
Okay, moving on. 
At this point, I know you’re thinking, ‘all right Roman, get to the point, what do I do?”
Great question.  And the answer is Density Training.
Training in a way that seeks to increase training density is one of the best ways to spur your body to produce and release more testosterone, which will (obviously) help you lose that estrogen related fat storage.
Training density can be defined as the amount of work you do in a given amount of time during a training session.  If you want to increase density, you can do more work (sets, reps, or both) in the same amount of time, or do the same amount of work and decrease the time in which you do it.
However, I’ve come up with a method of density training that is specific to radical fat loss, and this means that not only will you produce the testosterone necessary to mitigate your regional fat issue, but you’ll also lose more fat on the whole.
Pretty cool, eh?
So here is how we do it.  As an example, let’s pick 3 exercises: the overhead press, the dumbbell row, and the squat.
Setting these up in a circuit fashion, you perform them one after another with little rest in between. 
Sounds like just about any circuit training protocol, right?
Instead of having a set number of reps, we’re going to be forming each of these exercises for TIME–you simply have to do as many as you can in a given time period.
To make it easy, let’s say you did each of the above exercises for 30 seconds.  In performing such a circuit, your results might look like this:
Overhead Press:  25 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
DB Row: 40 pound dumbbells for 18 reps
Squat: 100 pound barbell for 22 reps
Not too shabby.  Now, HERE is where it gets crazy.
We’re going to take advantage of some cool things that happen in the body; triggers that happen which will make you more efficient and more capable.
To do that, we’re going to INCREASE the weight by 10-20% and try to do MORE reps.
Does that seem impossible?  It isn’t.  Due to neuromuscular junction and neural activation, in almost ALL cases, you’ll be able to do just that.
Your second attempt at that circuit might look like this:
Overhead Press:  30 pound dumbbells for 23 reps
DB Row: 50 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
Squat: 120 pound barbell for 25 reps
I know you’re having trouble believing that outcome is even possible, much less common, but I implore you–try it for yourself!
Density training is fun, challenge-based, burns a heck of a lot of fat, and–most importantly–is one of the best training modalities around for increasing testosterone production and release.
Training for increased workout density will help you shed stubborn lower body fat, and as we’ve mentioned more fat on the whole.
Insulin Resistance vs. IGF-1
As I mentioned in the video above, insulin resistance is combatted very nicely by a hormones called IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor one.
Producing extra IGF-1 via training will help you (and me!) improve insulin sensitivity and begin to rid ourselves of love handle and lower back fat.
We established yesterday that insulin resistance is very common, particular in people who were previously overweight; so if you have lost some fat and you’re now struggling to lose a bit more, and that fat happens to be in your love handles, I’m willing to bet you’re suffering from some degree of insulin resistance.
In order to get rid of that fat, we have to do fat burning workouts (obviously) and increase insulin sensitivity to the greatest degree that we can through the training effect.  To that end, we need to employ what I call Dynamic Training.
Dynamic training is pretty much the over-arching concept of how I design fat loss training programs–it consists of using fast-paced movements to teach the body how to move more efficiently.  Combination movements, like the squat-to-press I demonstrated in the above video are also brought to bare.
Because this style of training is extremely expensive in terms of energy (Calorie) demand, by and large dynamic training is excellent as a general fat loss modality. 
Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that utilizing these types exercises and setting them up in a non-competing circuit fashion under the dynamic training umbrella is an incredible way to produce IGF-1–and that is one of the most effective methods to mitigate insulin sensitivity.
Take it from someone who knows; nothing is better for combating love handle fat than increasing insulin sensitivity–and one of the most effective ways to do that is to produce more IGF-1 through dynamic training.
Cortisol vs. Growth Hormone
And now we come to our final bout of the evening–the main event, as it were.
We have touched on cortisol a bit, so I won’t rehash that too much.  Suffice it to say that the higher your cortisol levels are, the more fat you’re going to be storing on your belly.  Given that fact, it stands to reason that if you store fat primarily in the abdominal region, you’re a victim of high cortisol.
Never fear, though: Growth Hormone is here.
Also known as the “fountain of youth”, growth hormone is the single most effective compound your body can produce to affect both fat loss and muscle gain.  The more you produce, the faster you’ll lose fat and build muscle.  It’s just as simple as that.
Now, in addition to that awesome little fact, growth hormone is going to whoop cortisol’s ass and help you burn belly fat. 
Also, you’ve probably heard that one of the ways to reduce your cortisol levels is to get more sleep.  That’s something you hear on nearly all the medical TV shows.  What you don’t hear is the reason.
You see, sleeping is one of the main ways by which your body produces growth hormone.  Or, saying it another way, while you’re asleep is your body’s primary opportunity to produce growth hormone. 
And, as I stated previously, growth hormone is one of the main hormones that reduces the effects of cortisol.
Sleep more and you’ll produce more GH.  Produce more GH and you’ll have less cortisol.  Therefore, sleeping more results in lower cortisol levels.  Got it?
Of course, I’m not suggesting you can just sleep your way past a fat loss plateau; although getting more sleep does help.  I’m merely illustrating the relationship between cortisol and growth hormone.
Which leads us to the production of growth hormone as it relates to training.
While nearly all forms of exercise produce both growth hormone and cortisol, some types are better than others.  Cortisol, as I mentioned in the previous article, is produced heavily in long duration cardio sessions–so let’s not do that.
Instead, we’re going to utilize a style of training that produces more growth hormone.
To do that, we’re going to employ a training method known as Lactic Acid Training.
In order to get to the growth hormone, you must first produce lactic acid.
Lactic acid, by way of a definition, is a byproduct of the chemical reactions that take place during exercise.  This substance is wildly irritating to the nerves, and your body responds.
Think of lactic acid as sort of a type of oil igniting fires as it flows through you–your body will call the fire department to put those fires out.  And your body will do that by dousing them with soothing, cooling growth hormone.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little simplistic with my metaphor, but it gives you a general idea.
In any event, we must structure training to produce the most lactic acid possible.  And, because lactic acid is primarily produce in the concentric (positive) phase of anaerobic exercise, we extend that period, and decrease the eccentric period.
What that means is that we lift the weight very very slowly, and lower it very very quickly so that we can have a fast turn around.
As an example, if you’re doing a squat, you’ll descend to the bottom the squat very quickly (drop down fast, but still controlling the weight somewhat) and then lift the weight sloooowly, oh so sloooowly–over a period of 4-6 seconds. 
This will create tremendous amounts of lactic acid, which will intern send GH production into overdrive.
I must mention that training in this way necessitates the use of lighter weights than you normally would on any given exercise. Therefore, if you’re interested in lactic acid training, I suggest you reduce the weight you’d use on any exercise by about 30% in order to be both safe and effective.
With traditional training methods, you’d lift the weight pretty quickly and lower it slowly.  Here, we’re doing the opposite, in order to produce the most lactic acid possible, which will then lead to a corresponding increase in the production of growth hormone.
This will result in not only reducing cortisol, but also reducing cortisol related fat storage in your belly.
On top of it all, it’s great for fat loss in general!
Closing Thoughts
Although the battle against hormone-related fat storage can be a tough one, it’s certainly easier when you yourself have hormones on your side–tougher, stronger, better looking hormones!
Say goodbye to cortisol and belly fat with increase growth hormone production via lactic acid training.
Make lower-body fat (and man boobs) along with estrogen issues history through density training.
And combat the ol’ love handles and insulin resistance with dynamic training and IGF-1 production.
With Final Phase Fat Loss, stubborn becomes easy.  Slow becomes fast.  And it’s all because every single workout within the Final Phase systems has been specifically created to combat the hormonal reasons you’re NOT losing fat.
Are you ready to start losing fat again?  Are you ready to finally see your abs?  Then stay tuned, because on Friday I’m going to tell you how you can win a FREE copy of the entire 7-component Final Phase Fat Loss system.  In the meantime, more content coming your way!
The finish line is just around the corner…
Keep going strong,


Three Hormones You MUST Address for Fast Fat Loss

It seems like most fat loss programs focus on one main thing: to burn fat, you have to expend more energy than you take in.
Such a focus makes sense, of course, because if there is a universal truth to fat loss, that’s it.
This is what we call “energy balance.”  In order to lose fat, you have to create what we call “energy debt” or “energy deficit” –that is, eliminate the balance and instead be on the negative side of the balance scales.
That works very well for “beginning” fat, of course.  However, success doesn’t last forever.
As anyone who’s ever been on a diet and exercise program of any kind can tell you, at first it’s pretty smooth sailing.  Eat less, do more, lose fat.
And then it stops—and usually, stops suddenly, as those same people can also tell you.
Of course, the first instinct people have is a very natural one: to simply do more of what was bringing them success in the first place. 
So they eat even less and do even more.
And…have no results.
You see, what these people fail to realize (and what most fat loss programs fail to address) is that:

After a certain point, simple energy deficit
no longer covers the tab.

It becomes more about what type of deficit. Speaking generally, you actually have to eat closer to maintenance calorie levels (instead of far below) and expend more Calories through exercise.
Even then, things don’t always happen as quickly as you want.
You see, once you’ve hit a fat loss plateau—or when you’re trying to lose the last few pounds, like I was when I was dieting for the beach house—fat loss becomes a bit less about energy balance a lot more about hormones.
Some hormones, such as leptin, actually control the majority of your general fat loss efforts and all the factors thereof: appetite, satiety, “starvation mode.” However, assuming you’re eating enough and trying to create an energy deficit through training, leptin isn’t the issue.
In Final Phase Fat Loss, you’re never on a severe diet, so you don’t have to worry about leptin.
There are other hormones which are a bit more insidious in their effects on your physique.  They don’t just determine IF you gain fat—they determine where you gain it, and whether you’re able to lose it from those areas.
Those “problem” areas on your body are there for a reason.
“Problem areas” are created by your hormonal environment, and it’s your hormones that force your body to have particular fat storage patterns.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the three most common types of regional fat storage, and the hormones that cause them.

Back Got Back: Low Body Fat Storage

One of the most common types of fat storage that we see in women is the “pear shape” –fairly thin on top but heavy on the bottom (and IN the bottom, if you know what I mean).
This is so common that we often refer to a “pear shape” as a body type.  This is true to an extent, but this type of fat storage is also heavily dependent on the female sex hormone estrogen.  This is one reason why you see this type of fat storage primarily in women.
High levels of estrogen are awesome for enjoying Grey’s Anatomy and makin’ babies, but terriblefor fat loss, which makes it obvious that women usually have more trouble losing fat than men.
However, anyone—male or female—with high estrogen levels will have trouble losing fat,especially from the lower body.   In essence, the higher your estrogen levels, the greater the likelihood you’ll store fat in your lower body; mainly in the hips and thighs.
And yes, it IS possible for men to have high estrogen levels.  Unfortunately, outside of having to deal with a declined rate of fat loss and lower body fat, these guys ALSO have to deal with the ignominy of man-boobs. 
On the whole, estrogen related fat storage is a pain in the ass (get it!?) but it is not completely unmanageable.  You see, you can offset this phenomenon with certain types of training. 
In addition to helping you lose fat stored in the lower body, these specifically designed workouts will also be great for fat loss in general.  Essentially, they’re great for burning calories and for shedding lower body fat through estrogen management—combine the two and the result is rapid fat loss, with a heavy concentration on lower body fat stores.
No worries, ladies (and gents!), I’m here to help.

Muffin Tops:  No Love for the Love Handles

Probably my least favorite incarnation of regional fat storage is love handle and lower back fat.  This is, of course, because I personally suffer from such.
Even when I am in lean condition—I’m talking shredded pretty much everywhere else—
I store some fat in my love handles and lower back.  It used to take me an extra 3 weeks to get rid of it.
The reason I tend to store fat this way is because of how my body reacts to certain hormones, and because of the effect those hormones have on fat storage.
When I was a fat kid and ate lots and lots of goodies, I screwed by my endocrine system a wee bit.  Nothing too serious, but a decade of eating rapidly digesting carbs followed by…well, followed by more rapidly digesting carbs made my insulin spike and crash and spike and crash all over the place.
On top of making me fat in that immediacy, it also completely had a pretty negative effect on the way my body processes and handles insulin period.
The degree to which you are able to process and respond to glucose (sugar) in your body is called insulin sensitivity.  The higher this is, the easier and more efficiently your body utilizes carbohydrates for energy, and the less like you are to store carbs as fat. 
On the other hand, insulin resistance is the opposite: you don’t deal well with carbs, and anything other than a low carb diet pretty much means you’re gonna hang on to some fat.
And, to make matters worse, as I mentioned previously, there are regional effects.  It’s been shown that people who store fat in the love handles are generally very insulin resistant—and therefore it can be reasoned that insulin resistance leads to love handle and lower back fat storage.
Which means, of course, that insulin resistance makes it very hard to lose fat from that area as well.
I’m sure many of you out there who have been heavy before are experiencing much the same problems that I used to have.
The good news is that insulin resistance (and the resulting regional fatness) can be mitigated with certain types of training.  For example, with careful planning and selection of exercises, you can start to whittle away at love handle and lower back fat while you increase insulin sensitivity. 
The better news is that I’ve figured out a specific series of training sessions that will do just that.

The One, The Only:  Belly Fat

Without question, the most common type of regional fat storage is belly fat. If this isn’t you, it’s someone you know. 
Abdominal fat storage obviously has a lot to do with your diet and overall body fat level; that should be obvious but it never hurts to touch on it.
Outside of that, it’s hormones baby, hormones. 
The one we’re talking about here is cortisol.  This hormone has been in the media a lot the past few years, and I’ve talked about it a bit, so by now you know that cortisol is sometimes called a “stress” hormone.
That moniker is more appropriate than you know.
Basically, that means your body will produce cortisol (and encourage belly fat storage) under conditions of nearly any type of stress—both emotionaland physical.  So to combat cortisol, it’s not enough to just get more sleep or stop drunk dialing your ex-girlfriend.  (Although that helps, I’ve heard.)
Instead, it is of far greater effect to combat cortisol through resistance training.
Now, if you’re observant, you may have noticed what seems to be a contradiction.
As I said, cortisol is also produced through physical stress.  In fact, training is actually one of the primary means through which your body will produce this sneaky little hormone.  Additionally, because cortisol has been linked to overtraining and has a catabolic (muscle wasting) effect, producing too much of it through training is certainly counterproductive.
It’s important to note, however, that long duration cardio and extended lifting sessions are what produce the most cortisol, and I always recommend against those.
Instead, short, intense training sessions using a particular type of training modality will help to counteract the effects of cortisol; both the muscle-wasting effect, and the cortisol related belly fat storage.
I’ll share that with you tomorrow.
In fact, tomorrow I’ll be sharing another entire article with you.  In that article, I’ll teach you how to fight hormones with hormones.  I’ll show you how to use specific types of training to combat the nefarious three hormonal nemeses by producing hormones that offset the effects of estrogen, insulin and cortisol.
Be on the look-out for “How to Conquer Your Hormonal Nemeses” tomorrow.  In the meantime, if you did not read The Final Phase Fat Loss “Origin” Story, make SURE you go do that right now by clicking HERE.  It’s the only reason Final Phase Fat Loss exists, and I can guarantee you’ll be able to relate to the exact position I was in (and overcame) when prepping for my own “big event”.
Keep going strong,

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