Reduce stress. Cortisol interferes with losing weight

Methods that psychologists will never tell you

To the attention of those who are constantly anxious or have any other psychological problems (irritability, resentment, feeling of injury, mood swings, depression, etc.)! Even if you do not need to lose weight, it's possible that this short article will dramatically change your life for the better. Usually when we read that "we will be told a secret that the doctors will not tell us about," this is a primitive trick of an inept copywriter. However, in this case, this is exactly what will happen in a minute or two!

Elevated cortisol levels during chronic stress increase insulin and inhibit glucose utilization. This can prevent weight loss (especially in the late stages), even if you are on Intermittent Fasting and LCHF (low carbs, high fats).

Cortisol is a hormone released under stress. It becomes a problem when stress does not occur occasionally (which is normal for any person), but lasts a long time or even constantly. This happens with general anxiety (when the patient is worried that something bad can happen, for no apparent reason) and other psychological disorders. And, of course, with depression. Therefore, to normalize the excretion of cortisol, you need to defeat these disorders.

Perhaps the last phrase made you smile. Easy to say - defeat! The resource you are currently reading is not about psychology. Nevertheless, I will tell you about my personal very successful experience - the effect was achieved quickly and easily. I have won not because I am so smart or strong, but thanks to information, found by chance. If what I did does not help you (which may well be, because the list of existing problems is long and your problem may be different), be sure to book an appointment with a psychologist for a diagnosis, and then carefully research this diagnosis on the Internet for how to remove it. Do not forget that the psychologist is interested in money in the same way as you and I. That is, (s)he needs you to constantly visit her/him and bring money, which will stop immediately if (s)he cures you. Therefore, I wrote that you need to research the issue yourself - just like with weight loss, type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea.

Here is a text I recently sent to a friend of mine suffering from a protracted depression. I apologize for some informality:

In short, there are two guns from which you can powerfully shoot at depression. I tested both on myself (or rather, I successfully test them daily). The first is vitamin D. I get it for a long time, 4000 units per day. I take breaks periodically (this is the recommendation), and if the break is too long, the result is felt! And about the second, zinc, I found out recently. The fact is that for many years I had general anxiety - it's when you are constantly on the alert, waiting for something terrible to happen, and you're not worried for a specific reason (if there is a reason, then everybody would worry), but "in general" - the depression went on at the background level (in this case, I use the word "depression" in its everyday meaning - in the strict medical sense I did not have it). One day, I saw in a video that lack of zinc in the brain can lead to psychological disorders. I bought a jar for a few bucks at a nearby supermarket, started taking one tablet (50 mg) per day, and on the third day my general anxiety... suddenly disappeared! Life began to sparkle with bright colors and sunny bunnies again - I remained standing with widely open mouth and eyes, in deep shock from what had happened!

Shortly before that, I started visiting a psychologist (fortunately, paid by insurance), wrote long tests, was officially diagnosed with general anxiety, listened to the psychologist's lectures (although I didn't learn anything new because I had read a bunch of psychological books). One day, the problem suddenly disappeared! The next meeting with the psychologist was scheduled, even before I found out about zinc - well, I came, explained everything, and we found out that I didn't need a psychologist anymore. I didn't even sit the required 50 minutes for which I paid, but left after 10 minutes. The psychologist was shocked because I found out the truth and she has to say "bye-bye" to the money I bring. However, this is not the first, but at least the 4th time in my life, when I am dealing with professional killers wearing a medical overall. It is very important to understand the following:

Many mental disorders arise due to problems with neuromediators (peptide neurotransmitters). These are intermediary molecules that transfer information between neurons - brain cells (neurons interact with each other by releasing special chemicals). It's pure biochemistry, I would even say - mechanics! That has nothing to do with psychologists and their blah-blah-blah technics which only partially mitigate the consequences (that is, they act as an anesthetic for inflammation in the dental canal), doing nothing to remove the root cause, although removing it may be unbelievably easy.

But this will immediately deprive psychologists of the subsequent profitable visits of patients, and the pharmaceutical industry - of the income from tons of produced expensive antidepressants. However, if you don't know all that (but how can you guess it yourself?), then you will continue to worry - not suspecting, that the nightmare can be easily stopped, thousands of jars of zinc are quietly dusting on store and pharmacy shelves.

I also started drinking teas from the ashwagandha and rhodiola plants, which I was advised at the Fung clinic - they calm and lower cortisol, which is constantly produced during depression (although according to the plan of nature, it should be released occasionally - in response to stress). Cortisol increases insulin levels, and insulin leads to the accumulation of fat. For 2 weeks with these teas, I lost 3 kg - in addition to the fact that they, haha, increase the "level of bliss". There are a bunch of other herbs and drugs to lower cortisol.

The funny thing is that I read David Perlmutter's book "Grain Brain" (pdf) long ago, in which, as I just found out, there is a paragraph that I (brainless!) didn't pay attention to (since that information was buried among a huge amount of other information):

"Some of the more critical nutritional deficiencies that have been linked to depression include vitamin D and zinc. You already know the importance of vitamin D in a multitude of physiological processes, including mood regulation. Zinc similarly is a jack-of-all-trades in the body's mechanics. In addition to aiding the immune system and keeping memory sharp, zinc is required in the production and use of those mood-friendly neurotransmitters. This helps explain why supplemental zinc has been shown to enhance the effects of antidepressants in people with major depression. (Case in point: A 2009 study found people who hadn't been helped by antidepressants in the past finally reported improvements once they started to supplement with zinc.)"


Now I will summarize the steps that I recommend to take based on my own experience (with the addition of new material) - hopefully, they will help you too. Of course, your psychologist told all this, he/she wants you to get well, and not be suffering forever, constantly bringing him/her money, right?

The steps are listed in descending order of importance - first of all, start from the first ones:

  1. Get diagnosed for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I described here that the medication prescribed to me for ADHD turned out to be a terrific antidepressant as well.

  2. Do a sleep study to find out if you have obstructive sleep apnea. It has more than one mechanism for influencing the mental health. Panic attacks and other psychological problems caused by it can pass instantly after the start of CPAP therapy. OSA and the method to get rid of it are described here.

  3. The previous 2 steps take time (you have to go to your doctor for referrals and then wait for diagnosis and treatment), but the actions listed below can be taken immediately.

  4. Take vitamin D. Better in liquid form than in tablets.

  5. Take zinc. It exists in different forms: zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate. The most highly absorbable (and, so, most recommended) form is picolinate ( Some articles claim that the best form is chelated zinc. Zinc in the chelated form should be taken with meals, zinc in other forms one hour before or two hours after meals. I take one 50 mg pill per day. Please note that zinc leads to a lack of copper, so a month after starting to take zinc, start taking copper tablets as well (or buy pills where they are combined).

  6. Remove gluten. Previously, this item was not listed here because for me (and for those who practice LCHF with me) this is so super-obvious, that even doesn't need to be mentioned. We removed all farinaceous food, so the gluten was removed automatically - that's why at first I even forgot to mention it here, but then I remembered that people were eating tons of bread, and added this paragraph. For doubters: the topic is very well explained in the already mentioned book by David Perlmutter "Grain Brain." Here is a short excerpt:

    It's important to note that a common thread in many of these studies is the length of time needed to turn things around in the brain. As with other behavioral disorders, such as ADHD and anxiety disorder, it can take at least three months for individuals to feel a total sense of relief. It's critical to stay the course once embarking on a gluten-free diet. Don't lose hope if you don't have significant improvements right away. But do realize that you're likely to experience a dramatic improvement in more ways than one. I once treated a professional tennis instructor who was crippled by depression and not improving despite the use of multiple antidepressant medications prescribed by other doctors. When I diagnosed his sensitivity to gluten and he adopted a gluten-free diet, he was transformed. His depressive symptoms evaporated, and he returned to peak performance on the court.

  7. Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol causes a persistent increase in cortisol levels within next 24 hours.

  8. Reduce caffeine intake (i.e. coffee and tea) as much as possible. The way it affects us is stress. I'm sure most readers will want to ignore this advice. Unfortunately, everything is much more serious than you think. Be sure to read the article Want to calm down? Quit caffeine. It describes the mechanism of influence of caffeine in simple terms and tells how an accidentally found dietary supplement dramatically removed the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

  9. Take phenylalanine. This is an amino acid. It comes in two forms: L-phenylalanine (take 3-4 grams per day) and DL-phenylalanine (take 150-200 milligrams per day). For best results, phenylalanine should be taken between meals, because the protein present in food can interfere with the uptake of phenylalanine into the brain, potentially reducing its effect. At least half an hour should pass between taking it and eating.

    I started to take one 500 mg pill once a day, and I felt the effect immediately - not just on the same day, but in an hour! I took the pill at 7 a.m., and at 8 a.m. I felt that I was looking at the world in a slightly detached way, with increased indifference. I had a very stressful period at work, but I practically stopped worrying about it. I think that it even increased the efficiency of my work - now I was approaching problems with less emotion and nervousness.

    This amino acid converts to mood-affecting substances (including phenylethylamine and norepinephrine). Preliminary research reported that L-phenylalanine improved mood in most of the depressed people studied. DL-phenylalanine is a mixture of the essential amino acid L-phenylalanine and its synthetic mirror image, D-phenylalanine. DL-phenylalanine (or the D- or L- form alone) reduced depression in 31 of 40 people in a preliminary trial. Some doctors suggest a one-month trial with 3–4 grams per day of phenylalanine for people with depression, although some researchers have found that even very low amounts—75–200 mg per day—were helpful in preliminary trials. In one double-blind trial, depressed people given 150–200 mg of DLPA per day experienced results comparable to that produced by an antidepressant drug.

  10. Take Bacopa, also known as Brahmi. It exists in the form of pills and teas. I take 1 tablet (750 mg) once a day, before the first meal. Articles: Bacopa: The Brain-Boosting Alternative Treatment to Psychotropic Drugs, 7 Emerging Benefits of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi). It also improves perception in ADHD (as an ADHDer, I confirm: focus has really improved, difficult problems in work cause less negative emotions).

  11. Take L-Tryptophan. It's an essential amino acid that helps the body make certain brain-signaling chemicals. Plays a part in creating serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone present in various parts of the body, including the brain. The serotonin in the brain helps regulate a person's mood, anxiety, and levels of happiness. I take 1 tablet (1000 mg) 2 times a day, right after meals. Be careful since L-Tryptophan causes very vivid, disturbing dreams with content (like in films) and tension.

    From the WebMD journal: "Low levels of L-tryptophan have been seen in people with depression. Some claim up to 60 milligrams of L-tryptophan daily may help improve your mood or ward off mental health disorders such as depression."

  12. Drink soothing "teas" from Passiflora, Tulsi and Rhodiola, as well as Ashwagandha and Valerian root. All these adaptogens (plants that increase the body's resistance to stresses) exist in the form of tablets as well, but I prefer to brew because I drink a lot during the day anyway. Passiflora and Valerian cause sleepiness (drugs based on them are used as sleeping pills), so drink them only in the evening (they also remove disturbing thoughts in the bed that swarm in your head and prevent you from sleeping peacefully, so you will fall asleep faster).

  13. Take L-theanine. It is a relaxing amino acid found in green tea. Available as a supplement. L-theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier and increases the activity of the GABA. Due to this, anxiety and arousal are reduced. L-theanine has also been found to increase the frequency of alpha rhythms, which aids quality relaxation and markedly improves mood. A tangible effect is already observed from taking 100-200 mg of L-theanine per day. An effective dosage is 100-200 mg up to three times a day. Research shows that higher dosages of L-theanine are not toxic to the body. However, at high dosages (over 600 mg), drowsiness may occur. L-theanine usually has an immediate effect, while other supplements start working from a few days to two weeks for noticeable improvement.

  14. Sleep enough hours. Go to bed so early that you wake up on most days before the alarm rings.

  15. Remove solanaceous from your diet - they contain toxic chemical compounds. These are not only potatoes, which should not be eaten primarily because they are starchy (i.e. carbohydrate) vegetables, but also tomatoes, eggplants and any kind of pepper (including paprika). From These 5 Foods and Substances Can Cause Anxiety and Insomnia:

    Plants in the nightshade family produce natural pesticides called glycoalkaloids, which are designed to kill predators like insects and worms, but are also toxic to human cells. These cunning chemical weapons block the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, resulting in overstimulation of the nervous system in sensitive individuals. Anxiety is just one of many neuropsychiatric side effects documented in humans.

  16. Take an autism test. The link to the test and interpretation of the results are here. You are probably thinking, "What nonsense, what does autism have to do with me?" Do not rush - perhaps you simply do not know what it is, and you will discover important information about yourself. This knowledge alone can bring tremendous relief, which is why I added this paragraph. Psychological problems - bad mood, anxiety, depression - are more common among autistic people (they have a rate of depression nearly 4 times higher than the general population). Therefore, if you are reading this page, then the likelihood that you are on the autism spectrum is higher than average.

    In one article I found a very correct definition: "Anxiety often takes on unusual forms in people with autism, turning any uncertainty into constant fear". Autistic people tend to have repetitive behaviors and obsessions with something. Now imagine that such a person is focused on negative thoughts! Of course, anybody can sometimes become anxious, but autists approach this "professionally", making disturbing thoughts their "special interest." This topic is well covered in the article What is anger rumination and how does it affect individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

  17. Visit the massage therapist several times a month. Affecting through skin receptors stimulates the activity of the vagus nerve, which innervates most organs. The vagus nerve conducts signals of the parasympathetic nervous system, which has a relaxing and restorative effect on the organs and systems of the body. Dr. Fung writes about this method of lowering cortisol in his book The Obesity Code (pdf) (in general, much attention is paid to cortisol in that book).

    In this article the positive effects of massage therapy on biochemistry are reviewed including decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine. The research reviewed includes studies on depression (including sex abuse and eating disorder studies), pain syndrome studies, research on auto-immune conditions (including asthma and chronic fatigue), immune studies (including HIV and breast cancer), and studies on the reduction of stress on the job, the stress of aging, and pregnancy stress. In studies in which cortisol was assayed either in saliva or in urine, significant decreases were noted in cortisol levels (averaging decreases 31%). In studies in which the activating neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) were assayed in urine, an average increase of 28% was noted for serotonin and an average increase of 31% was noted for dopamine. These studies combined suggest the stress-alleviating effects (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences.

  18. Get rid of metal (amalgam) fillings - they can cause depression due to the release of mercury! One medical professional recently told me that he had depression caused by mercury from an amalgam filling. Think about that: the source of such a dangerous poison is in a couple of centimeters from the brain during decades! But the most severe depression, which lasted 3 years, began after the removal of this filling - due to the fact that it was removed incorrectly, and the guy abundantly inhaled the mercury that was released during the removal. Later, he figured out that there were special doctors who remove such fillings correctly - maximally isolating the tooth and using a powerful vacuum suction hood (while they themselves are in a mask and chemical protection suit) - watch this video. To find such a specialist, google "safe amalgam removal [your city]". Also, read the article Dental amalgam may be linked to psychological disorders.

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