What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is the corticosteroid hormone released by the adrenal cortex. This hormone plays a crucial role in the functioning of the immune system, and regulation of blood pressure and blood sugar. One of the important factors responsible for triggering the secretion of cortisol is stress or anxiety. Besides causing many other disorders, a high level of cortisol for a prolonged time period is thought to contribute to weight gain, with the accumulation of fats mainly in the abdominal region and the trunk.
Do Cortisol Blockers Deliver?
What do Manufacturers Say?
» Cortisol blockers are claimed to regulate the hormone cortisol, and increase metabolism to stimulate weight loss. Many people also experience a decrease in their stress level with the use of these supplements. Apart from helping to shed some extra pounds, cortisol blockers are believed to assist in muscle building, for which they are used by a large number of people as muscle-building supplements.
The Flip Side
» A few studies or researches have questioned the effectiveness of cortisol blockers. According to some studies, cortisol level does have an effect on accumulation of fats, but only if it is present in a significantly high level. A substantial increase in this hormone level can be experienced in case of certain disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, adrenal tumor or cancer, hyperthyroidism and intake of some medications. Though stress increases the level of cortisol production in the body, it is not found to be associated with an alarmingly high level of cortisol, enough to cause excess weight gain. To experience a substantial increase in body weight, a person has to be under constant stress for a considerable length of time to produce a massive amount of cortisol, which is not a common condition for healthy individuals.
» In addition to this, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that the ingredients used in the common cortisol blockers are effective in counteracting the effects of cortisol.
» It is also not clear whether suppression of cortisol can cause a reduction in body weight. The first scientific study that established the association between high cortisol level and fat accumulation was based on the presence of a high level of the hormone in the urine, and not in blood. The presence of a hormone in the blood is actually of greater significance than its presence in urine and till now, there are no conclusive studies to establish a connection between fat accumulation and a high level of cortisol in blood.
To sum up, there is not enough scientific evidence to suggest that cortisol blockers can help to lose weight fast. Besides, excessive weight gain cannot always be associated with stress and a high level of cortisol hormone. Apart from stress, there can be many other factors like overeating, sedentary lifestyle, and consumption of excessive fatty food, which can be attributed to weight gain. So, controlling these factors by reducing the total calorie intake and regular exercising are the best ways to lose weight, rather than using a weight loss drug or supplement.
Even if cortisol blockers help you to lose weight, you still have to take the help of natural ways like exercising and following a balanced diet to maintain an ideal body weight in the long run. Lastly, there may be some potential side effects, for which you should refrain from using them excessively, without consulting your physician. As far as stress management is concerned, it is better and safer to rely on relaxation methods like meditation, rather than using cortisol blockers.