Category

Stress & Cortisol

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone in your body. It triggers a fight-or-flight response, suppressing the immune and digestive systems and increasing glucose in the bloodstream. This response is very helpful from an evolutionary vantage point. When acute threats arise, it aids survival by increasing alertness and priming the body to react quickly and defensively to the threat at hand, simultaneously diverting energy away from other ‘low-priority’ processes.

However, the same stress response that evolved to keep you alive becomes maladaptive when chronically activated. Overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones disrupts your body’s natural processes and puts you at increased risk for a slew of health concerns, including obesity, chronic inflammation, disrupted glucose homeostasis, and sleep disorders, to name a few.

Check out the below content to take a deeper dive into stress and its profound impact on our bodies, as well as ways to help manage stress. 

Cortisol and cross-pollination

Cortisol is a hormone I’ve been paying a lot more attention to of late.

#58 – AMA with sleep expert, Matthew Walker, Ph.D.: Strategies for sleeping more, sleeping better, and avoiding things that are disrupting sleep

“[Sleep] is like that master volume button on a mixing deck that you see in the studio. You can manipulate each one of those dials, or you can go to the far left and just move that one dial…and all of the other levers seem to move with it.” — Matthew Walker

#54 – Kevin Sayer, CEO of Dexcom: Continuous glucose monitors – impact of food, sleep, and stress on glucose, the unmatched power of CGM to drive behavioral change, and the exciting future of CGM

“One of the most humbling things about this job is when I meet the children or the adult patients who has had this device change their life . . . it’s really why we come to work every day, what keeps us going.” —Kevin Sayer

#51 – Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.: The pervasive effect of stress – is it killing you?

“The [stress response] system has been serving vertebrates, doing a lot of help for them for an awful long time, and it’s only been a very recent modification to instead secrete [cortisol] in response to thinking about taxes.” —Robert Sapolsky

#48 – Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part II of III: Heart disease, cancer, sexual function, and the causes of sleep disruption (and tips to correct it)

“If there is one central, common pathway through which we can understand almost all aspects of the deleterious impact of insufficient sleep, it is…an excessive leaning on the fight or flight branch of the nervous system.” — Matthew Walker

Does Dad’s stress get passed along to his children?

This article shares some compelling evidence, in mice at least, showing how information about the paternal environment reaches the womb.

#34 – Sam Harris, Ph.D.: The transformative power of mindfulness

“Thought really is the obstacle one is overcoming when learning to meditate.” —Sam Harris

#31 – Navdeep Chandel, Ph.D.: metabolism, mitochondria, and metformin in health and disease

“I pay more attention today to stress than anything else.” —Nav Chandel

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