Cortisol, Stress and Aging

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A poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, heavy consumption of alcohol, smoking and an ever decreasing supply of hormone levels all work together to speed up the aging process. We know that good nutrition, exercise, lifestyle choices and hormonal treatments can slow down or ease the aging process.

Aging itself is a form of stress. And, the most powerful anti-aging factor is how we handle stress. Cortisol, a hormone produced by stress, is associated with a dozen or more serious degenerative diseases and has been found to be present in elevated levels in the last days of life. Studies show there is a increased presence of cortisol some two to seven days before death. So, cortisol is a particularly dangerous hormone as far as aging is concerned.

Degenerative diseases linked to aging and high cortisol levels include diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, high levels of cortisol inhibit muscle growth, increase fat uptake in the body and lower our immune system, thus actively encouraging disease. Cortisol not only interrupts our body’s production of antibodies, it may actually destroy antibodies already in circulation in the body.

The good news is we can combat the destructive effects of a negative response to stress and its associated elevated cortisol levels. Diet and exercise play a large part in our responses to stress. B vitamins help our mind and body cope with stress while regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, enables us to meet life’s challenges with a relaxed and healthy attitude.

Yoga and meditation also work wonders in helping people manage and reduce stress. Hormonal supplementation using testosterone, estrogen and progesterone in deficient or imbalanced individuals also helps to reduce cortisol levels.


But, the best way to stay young and live long is to love your life and nourish your mind, body and spirit.


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