Are Love Handles Caused by Stress and Cortisol?
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cortisol is like a nuclear weapon it’s super volatile if it’s pointed in the right direction it’s awesome and it actually helps you burn tons of fat but if it’s pointed in the wrong direction it causes you to store tons of belly fat okay cortisol will make you store belly fat it absolutely will but it’s all about context cortisol when under the right circumstances is very effective at helping us burn fat but under the other circumstances it makes us store fat and it happens to make a store fat specifically in our belly region and when you understand what’s happening you can have good ways to avoid that from happening but also you can just have a solid knowledge so you don’t just always hate on cortisol but you just know a little bit more of what to eat so we’re gonna break that all down we’ve got new videos coming out almost every single day nowadays I want you to go ahead and hit that red subscribe button so you can always get good fat loss information but then hit that Bell icon the bell icons in to make it so you can turn on notifications and note whenever I go live and never miss a new video down in the description there’s a link to check out Lacan tous Ola canto is an awesome low carb zero calorie sweetener so it’s something that I use all the time like I use their drops when I’m making any kind of apple cider vinegar drink or I put their drops in my yogurt my cottage cheese just to add a little bit of flavor there’s special discounts for those of you that are watching this video so I want to make sure that you check them out LeConte o is awesome known them for a long time and they’re a big sponsor of this channel so after you watch this video make sure you click on that link and check them out but in the interim let’s get down to some belly fat science for a second ok so like I said course all is both good and bad okay it helps you burn fat we’re gonna talk about that in a second but really the ultimate job of it is to get our stress hormones elevated and get us to respond to a given stressor so believe it or not cortisol is actually anti-inflammatory cortisol reduces inflammation in your body whereas most people think it increases it it reduces it because it’s a response to stress in response to inflammation that’s generally why people that are overweight or obese have high levels of cortisol because obesity and being overweight in general is already considered an inflammatory condition so when you have a lot of inflammation you’re gonna have more cortisol and thus begins the vicious cycle we’re gonna save that discussion for another day I want to talk about how belly fat actually accumulates as a result of cortisol and also how it doesn’t so at the tissue level cortisol concentration is dictated by a specific enzyme this enzyme is called 11 hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase and this enzyme basically takes in active cortisone and converts it to active cortisol now this enzymatic activity is happening within our fad it just so happens that we have four times as many cortisol receptors in our visceral fat tissue and our abdominal adipose tissue so we have more cortisol receptors and more enzymatic activity happening through our belly than anywhere else in the body so that’s exactly why when again under the wrong circumstances cortisol Absa 100 freaking lutely will cause you to store more belly fat okay so at the tissue level it’s just a peripheral response it’s not everything that’s happening with cortisol so let’s break it down a little bit more so cortisol actually helps you burn fat but at the same time it causes you to store fat you see cortisol elevates something known as lipoprotein lipase lipoprotein lipase is the epicenter for fat storage lipoprotein lipase turns on the fat cells ability to store more fat we do not want this on okay now on the other side of the equation cortisol also turns on hormone sensitive lipase which is the master enzyme that’s responsible for burning fat how does cortisol have so much control that’s why I said Courcelles like a nuclear weapon it’s so volatile it is so powerful at helping us either burn fat or store fat but it’s again all about context you see in a Fed state when we are eating food when we’re not fasted cortisol reacts and triggers more lipoprotein lipase however in a fasted state or when we’re working out cortisol elevates hormone sensitive lipase and has fat burning properties so exercise and fasting take cortisol and accentuate its good properties whereas eating takes cortisol and accentuates it’s bad properties so does that you should just never eat no not at all but you need to understand that when you do workout your cortisol levels will go high but your cortisol levels that are going high are helping you burn fat I used to have people tell me all the time that you shouldn’t workout more than 20 minutes because your cortisol levels get high like what no cortisol is good cortisol is going to help us burn fat in the right context now cortisol is a response to stress physical stress fasting stress workout stress mental stress so where cortisol becomes a problem is when it’s a response to mental stress more than anything and it’s being combined with insulin because remember in a fed state when you’re actually eating if cortisol is elevated that’s when it turns on lipoprotein lipase so if you stress eat you are going to store a lot of belly fat ok 1 because cortisol is going to already be elevated and it’s combined with insulin because you’re eating but 2 because you have more receptors in your abdomen so what that does get accumulated from that cortisol response is directly going to your belly fat so don’t stress eat that’s like the cardinal rule ok stress workout stress meditate stress have sex whatever but don’t stress eat because it is going to be a problem and I cannot overemphasize that enough now when we look at the positive again when cortisol is combined with growth hormone we have a positive response or when cortisol is coupled with catecholamines like adrenaline or epinephrine again a positive response well guess what those two things growth hormone and catecholamines are vastly elevated while we’re fasting so there’s no surprise that while you fast your cortisol levels are going to go high so it’s so funny when people bag on fasting and they say oh well it’s raising your cortisol level so it’s actually gonna make you store fat remember the old commercial I can’t even remember what it was for but I remember it growing up just seeing it all the time whereas this like cortisol is the starvation hormone that is such nonsense like yes it is but it’s not causing you to store fat like that commercial infomercial used to say ok it doesn’t make it so that when you’re fasting and you don’t eat cortisol elevates and what you do egos to your your stomach no not at all only if you are chronically stressed is cortisol going to cause a problem remember point that nuclear weapon where you want it to go so let me look quickly at the combination of course on food we have to look at insulin for just a second so insulin combined with cortisol is one of the worst things possible so again it comes back to having high levels of stress and then also having a caloric surplus that caloric surplus is going to trigger of course an exacerbated response now when insulin is present the tissues are even more susceptible to lipoprotein lipase so when you eat in general in the absence of cortisol you go into an absorptive mode but if cortisol is there you’re in an ultra absorptive mode and again it hears the order in which it would store it stores in your visceral fat first underneath your skin underneath like around your organs then it goes to sub-q abdominal so the visible like kind of abdominal fat in our belly and then it goes to femoral like in the legs and other areas in that order so visceral belly fat the rest of the body so yes you will store it in a specific area so ultimately what do you do again it comes down to just managing stress in a way that actually works and the biggest Cardinal thing here is don’t stress eat period find another outlet but you needed to have an understanding help belly fat works in the first place so hopefully this was an A to Z guide in that response as always make sure you keep it locked in to my channel I’ll see you in the next video
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Are Love Handles Caused by Stress and Cortisol? – Thomas DeLauer
Repeated, or constant, elevation of cortisol can lead to weight gain, so cortisol can affect fat storage and weight gain in stressed individuals:
Tissue cortisol concentrations are controlled by a specific enzyme (11-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase) that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol
This particular enzyme is located in adipose tissues – the gene for this enzyme is expressed more by obese conditions and has also been demonstrated in research that human visceral fat cells have more of these enzymes compared to subcutaneous fat cells
Thus, higher levels of these enzymes in these deep fat cells surrounding the abdomen may lead to obesity due to greater amounts of cortisol being produced at the tissue level
Additionally, deep abdominal fat has four times more cortisol receptors compared to subcutaneous fat
So increased cortisol activity increases LPL activity among fat cells
This (generally) becomes a problem in the context of high insulin
Cortisol & Insulin
It stores fat by increasing the activity of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) a fat storing enzyme – conversely, it helps burn fat by increasing the release of hormone sensitive lipase (HSL)
So technically speaking, cortisol is both a fat storing and fat burning hormone – this is because it increases the activity of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), the body’s major fat storing enzyme
But it also increases the activity of hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), the body’s chief fat releasing enzyme
Growth hormone and catecholamines, which are higher during exercise and fasting periods, accentuate cortisol’s fat burning potential while suppressing its fat storing potential
In the fed state, when insulin is around in high amounts, HSL activity is turned way down while LPL activity is cranked up – in this way, insulin magnifies cortisol’s fat storing properties while blocking its fat burning activity
Cortisol and insulin also block the action of each other by decreasing the sensitivity of their respective receptors – this means that eating is not the only way to become insulin resistant; stress can do it too.
Cortisol is not inherently fat-storing, but insulin and cortisol together, with a high-calorie diet, are the real cause of belly fat.
Cortisol & GH
Cortisol exerts major effects on adipose tissue metabolism, both on lipid accumulation and mobilization – it’s really the hormone with the strongest relation to fat distribution in both genders
In the presence of insulin, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) is markedly expressed – in relation to lipid mobilization, the addition of cortisol in the presence of insulin exerts slightly inhibitory effects
When GH is also added, activity is shifted dramatically to a lipid mobilizing effect (since GH stimulates fat metabolism)
Cortisol acts via the glucocorticoid receptor to stimulate lipoprotein lipase (LPL) – in other words, cortisol’s effects are mediated via a specific glucocorticoid receptor (GR), with a variable density in different regions of adipose tissue, in a ranking order of visceral, abdominal subcutaneous, and femoral subcutaneous fat
Simply put, LPL is an enzyme that makes fat cells ready for storage – the fat in between the organs in your abdomen consists mainly of fat
cells called visceral adipocytes
Visceral adipocytes have more glucocorticoid receptors than other fat cells – Fat cells in the torso have fewer glucocorticoid receptors and subcutaneous fat cells found on the rest of your body have even fewer
The fat cells on your hips and upper legs have the least glucocorticoid receptors
This means cortisol causes fat storage primarily on your abdomen, followed by the rest of your torso and only minimally on your lower body
In summary, cortisol in the presence of insulin exerts powerful lipid accumulating effects, and these are abolished by GH which inhibits lipid accumulation and also activates lipid mobilization
These effects are probably most pronounced in visceral adipose tissue due to its high density of glucocorticoid receptors