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Alcohol - Cortisol

[Alcohol and Cortisol]   [Importance of Cortisol]  

Alcohol and Cortisol

Hormones are chemical messengers that control and coordinate the functions of all tissues and organs. Each hormone is secreted from a particular gland and is distributed throughout the body to act on tissues at different sites. Two areas of the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary, release hormones as do glands in other parts of the body, for example, the thyroid, thyroid glands, gonads, pancreas, and parathyroid. In order for hormones to function properly, the amount and timing of their release must be finely coordinated, and the target tissues must be able to respond to them accurately. Alcohol can impair the functions of the hormone-releasing glands and of their target tissues, thereby causing serious medical consequences.
{“Alcohol and Hormones,” Alcohol Alert from NIAAA, about.com - Jul. 2000}

Beer and liquor tend to raise levels of cortisol.
{Prevention magazine, Dec. 1999}

Alcohol encourages cortisol surges and hormone imbalances.
{"Keeping your Adrenals Healthy," Healing Foods and Movements, Catherine Fahey, letsliveonline.com, Apr. 2003}

Cheating on sleep for only a few nights increases brain levels of cortisol, a potentially harmful stress hormone, and high levels of cortisol can damage brain cells in areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Adequate exercise and regular sleeping hours facilitate sleep, while caffeine, alcohol and stimulant drugs impair sleep and raise cortisol levels.
{"Wake Up To the Need For Sleep," San Francisco Examiner, June 7, 1998, excerpted from Spectrum magazine, on GaryNull.com - Apr. 2003}

The Importance of Cortisol

Chronic stress causes an over-production of a hormone called cortisol, which has a profound negative effect on the brain. It contributes to the death of brain cells, interferes with the functioning of neurotransmitters, and starves the brain of its only source of fuel, glucose.
{“Physical Fitness for Your Brain,” New Age Journal, 1997- 1998 Special Edition}

The adrenals secrete the body’s four main stress hormones: adrenaline, norepinephrine, DHEA and cortisol. These hormones are secreted cyclically, with the highest levels dispatched in the morning and the lowest levels at night. Any disruption in the amount of adrenal output can cause serious health problems. Cortisol, the body’s principal anti-inflammatory hormone, rises during periods of stress, as we grow older, and during periods of chronic pain. Some of the deleterious effects of cortisol imbalance on health are low energy, muscle atrophy, poor bone repair and increased bone loss, thyroid dysfunction, depressed immune system, poor sleep quality, poor skin regeneration and impaired growth hormone release.

Studies show that prolonged depression or stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol, a ‘stress’ hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This in turn appears to shrink or atrophy the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with many kinds of memory and learning. This process is particularly damaging in the elderly {Reviews in the Neurosciences}, but there is no strong evidence that the hippocampus shrinks as a part of normal aging. Studies show that all people with Alzheimer’s disease have damage to the hippocampus, but their cortisol production varies.
{“Fact or Fiction? All Memory Loss is Age-related,” Vitamin Research Products, June 2000}

Cortisol is a natural steroid that raises blood sugar levels and suppresses inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system.
{"Treating Adrenal Exhaustion," yogajournal.com - May 2003}

Cortisol, the hormone produced by your body in times of high stress, can interfere with your ability to remember words, phone numbers and other details.
{"Mental Fitness," seniorhealth.about.com - Jan. 2003}

To reverse the consequences of aging you need to reduce the hormones such as insulin, cortisol and eicosanoids and there is no magic pill to reduce these hormones, only a consistent dietary program on a lifetime basis.
{Dr. Barry Sears, author of the "Zone Diet," Dr. Sears, June E-magazine, June 16, 2003}

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This page last updated Jun. 27, 2003