- Dr. Nadia Mawji, ND
Stress & Hormones Part 2: Insulin, Cortisol, Thyroid & Other Hormones
If you haven’t read Part 1 of this Stress and Adrenal Dysregulation topic, please do! Today, let’s talk about the relationship between insulin and cortisol. Both are hormones required for day to day functioning. Insulin typically increases and responds to high sugar levels in our bodies. Cortisol is our stress hormone and responds to well, STRESS! Any period of stress that we undergo, short or long in duration, physiologically triggers an increase in our blood sugar.
If this happens for long periods of time and/or at a high frequency, our body can get used to the idea that it needs sugar in order to operate. Often, high stress periods lead to sugar cravings and higher than normal sugar consumption, because our body feels the need for it. Then, our insulin increases. Eventually, our insulin will plummet. And again, will spike in high periods of stress. This can lead to insulin dysregulation. Insulin dysregulation can lead to weight gain that is hard to lose.
We need cortisol to keep our body in check to help us wind down at night and get going in the morning. We need insulin to regulate blood sugar. We need stress. Stress is good for us to a certain extent, but it is also detrimental if we cannot cope with it effectively.
What we need more than ever is self-care:
An active lifestyle
Healthy, nourishing meals
Good quality sleep
Did you know that majority of thyroid issues can be managed by regulating the adrenal glands first!?! YES! It’s because our adrenal glands and thyroid work hand in hand and depend on one other - remember, ALL HORMONES ARE RELATIVE. Often, our other hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are also out of balance due to thyroid and adrenal dysregulation. All of our hormones are relative to one another and can impact one another. Some conditions affecting insulin, cortisol and hormone imbalance are: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Erectile Dysfunction, Infertility, Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS), Cushing’s disease, Hyper/Hypothyroidism and many many many more!
There is advanced testing available to test for hormones and their metabolites. This type of testing is great because it helps us determine which pathways need support, so we are targeting hormonal imbalance in the best way possible.
Meet with your Naturopathic Doctor for more information on what is appropriate for you.