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Is There A Correlation Between High Cortisol Levels & Belly Fat?


Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, is a necessary hormone with important functions in your body. It helps regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, suppress the immune system and aid in nutrient metabolism. However, when cortisol levels remain chronically elevated, it can lead to several side effects, including weight gain.

Understanding Cortisol & Belly Fat

Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands found just above your kidneys. It is generally released in close relation with your body’s circadian rhythm, with 50–60% of it being released within 30–40 minutes of waking, with levels then falling throughout the day. During times of increased stress, cortisol and adrenaline are released from your adrenal glands, triggering an increase in heart rate and energy levels.

However, when cortisol levels remain elevated due to chronic stress or conditions like Cushing’s Syndrome, it may lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, fatigue, changes in mood, irritability, flushed face, thinning skin, difficulty concentrating and insulin resistance.

Interestingly, our bellies have four times more “doorways” for cortisol to act on our fat cells. This means that a chronically high level of cortisol can put extra fat on our bellies. This stubborn belly fat, also known as visceral fat, poses significant risks since it envelopes crucial organs such as your liver and heart.

Managing Cortisol Levels

While the connection between cortisol and weight loss remains ambiguous, managing cortisol levels help you to maintain a healthy weight and ensure overall well-being. Incorporating some key healthy habits into your lifestyle will go a long way toward helping manage cortisol levels and, consequently, belly fat. To find out more on how to achieve this, please feel free to contact us today at David Jones Personal Training or call us on 07485 191 790.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional for any health concerns.