Stress might make you fat, study says

To find out, English researchers compared stress levels as well as body weight of more than 2,500 men as well as women over age 54 who participated inside English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

The study, published Thursday inside journal Obesity, looked at the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in locks of hair gathered coming from participants.

“We found levels of cortisol inside hair to be positively as well as significantly correlated to larger waist circumference as well as higher body mass index or BMI,” said lead author Sarah Jackson, a research associate at the Institute of Epidemiology as well as Health at University College London.”These results provide consistent evidence in which chronic stress is usually associated with higher levels of obesity.”

Cortisol is usually a hormone produced inside adrenal glands in which is usually released into the bloodstream in times of stress. In addition to suppressing inflammation as well as regulating blood pressure, cortisol helps maintain steady supplies of blood sugar as well as gives an energy boost to handle emergencies.

“the item’s providing glucose to the brain, keeping things going during a stressful event,” Jackson said. “the item also plays a huge role in metabolism, body composition as well as the accumulation of body fat.”

The Discharge of cortisol, she says, is usually triggered by receptors in which are densely located in visceral fat tissue, the type in which surrounds our organs, which may explain its association with weight gain as well as loss.

Cortisol is usually usually tested via blood, urine or saliva, nevertheless in which captures only a snapshot in time.

“Cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day depending on time of day, what you eat, sudden stressful situations, even illness,” Jackson said. “in which why blood, urine as well as saliva tests are not not bad measures for long-term stress.”

Studies have shown in which cortisol levels can also be detected in hair follicles. The completely new research harvested a 2-centimeter lock coming from each participant. in which amount of hair correlates to two months of growth, said Jackson, providing a look at the levels of cortisol over in which period of time.

The results suggest in which “chronic high-level cortisol exposure may play a role inside maintenance of obesity,” nevertheless Jackson adds in which because the study was not longitudinal, researchers could not establish a true cause as well as effect.

Susan Fried, a professor as well as director of translational adipose biology as well as obesity at the Diabetes Metabolism Obesity Institute, said the results are consistent with research associating high cortisol levels as well as obesity. However, she agreed in which there is usually no evidence of causation.

“As indicated inside paper, measurements of hair cortisol reflect exposure over the past several months,” Fried, who was not involved inside study, wrote in an email. “nevertheless the obesity inside people studied likely developed many years earlier. Thus, these high hair cortisol values may simply reflect social or biological stress associated with being obese.

“the item is usually possible, for example, in which the social stigma in which people with obesity often endure may cause mental stress as well as hence high cortisol levels.

the item is usually also possible in which stress over the past few months may also be due to medical conditions caused by obesity, for example the item may be difficult as well as painful for people with obesity to walk.”

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The researchers will “continue to weigh as well as measure our study participants every four years to determine the ways stress affects body mass over time,” Jackson said.

inside meantime, she suggests in which people under chronic stress look to ways some other than eating to ease their tensions, such as meditation, yoga as well as mindfulness.

“There’s a lot of evidence in which cortisol influences appetite as well as even our preference for high-calorie comfort foods,” Jackson said. “So I know in which’s tough. nevertheless the item’s best to look for better ways to manage stress as well as avoid using food as a crutch.”

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