How Stress Contributes to Type 2 Diabetes

Stress!  We all have it in our life.  It comes from all angles and we all have different ways of coping with it externally.  But internally your chemical reaction to stress is the same whether it is emotional, physical, spiritual or environmental.   So lets first of all define what a stressor is.

When i talk about your stress response i’m really talking about your cortisol response.  Cortisol being the hormone that is produced in stressful situations

What is Cortisol ( the stress hormone )

Cortisol, a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone), is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress. Cortisol SHOULD be high in the morning as thats when you are supposed to most awake right.  And it should be high when you train because hey, training is the ultimate fight or flight response right.  I mean those barbells will crush you if you don’t get back up out of the hole in a squat.  Its when you are under constant stress all day long that it becomes a problem

How is Cortisol Supposed to work?

1. An individual is faced with a stressor ( think a lion about to attack you or another person about to fight you )

2. A complex hormonal cascade ensues, and the adrenals secrete cortisol.

3. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response by flooding it with glucose, supplying an immediate energy source to large muscles.

4. Cortisol inhibits insulin production in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored, favoring its immediate use.

5. Cortisol narrows the arteries while the epinephrine increases heart rate, both of which force blood to pump harder and faster.

6. The individual addresses and resolves the situation.

7. Hormone levels return to normal.

No.6 and 7 are the keys to this equation.  Read them again then think about your stressors.  When do you address and resolve them?

So How Does Cortisol Contribute to Type 2 Diabetes?  Being Stressed Increases Blood Sugar

Under stressful conditions, cortisol provides the body with glucose by tapping into protein stores via gluconeogenesis in the liver. This energy can help an individual fight or flee a stressor. However, elevated cortisol over the long term (as in the stress you feel from doing a job you hate or working with people who are clearly incompetent ) consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels ALL THE TIME.  Remember no.6 above – your supposed to address and resolve the stressful situation.  I mean if your in a fight its going to end at some point.  But with constant stress – it never ends which means you have constant sugar in the blood.  Consistently high blood glucose levels is like eating sugar all day long.  So whilst you may not eat a lot of sugar you are producing a lot of sugar in the blood due to the cortisol.  Does that make sense?

This constant sugar in the blood means you have a constant insulin response going on.  And spiking insulin short term is fine (this is what you want to do weight training) but spiking it all day from the moment you wake up and start stressing at your alarm to the time you go to bed and are stressing about what you have to do tomorrow is a problem.  Why?  Insulin in constant amounts is quite toxic to your cells.  So when insulin is high all the time the cells in your body down regulate their sensitivity to the insulin.  Have you heard the terms insulin sensitive and insulin resistant before?  This is what this means.  If your cells are highly receptive to insulin (as they are in lean people and post workout)  then sugar and nutrients can be shuttled into the cells.  If your not very insulin sensitive then the sugar never gets into the cell as insulin is like the delivery guy, and the glucose stays in the blood longer (causing more insulin response) and eventually gets stored as excess energy in the form of fat.

So What Do You Do?

Here’s the thing right – you can try and lower your insulin load from food or take insulin sensitising supplements or you can go straight to the cause and get your stress under control!  


Get rid of the toxic people in your life
Change your shitty job to one you want to turn up to every day
Get out of your toxic relationship
Go to bed early (lack of sleep has a massive influence on cortisol)
Stop eating crap food (yes bad food stresses the body)
Stop ingesting large amounts of poisons (alcohol, nicotine, drugs)
Be who you want to be not who your told to be
Chase your dreams

Schedule time for the things you love to do
Work a little more part time so you can live a little more full time
Meditate or join Strong and Serene!  We’ll teach you how to meditate cause we know its a bit daunting at first!

This is hard though yeah.  Not everyone can do this i know this!  So that’s why i like to use cortisol dampening supplements during the day and sleep supplements at night for the stress type. 

Bliss and Relora is great for calming you down.  Allostatix Stamina and Surge Adrenal Support is good for repairing adrenals.  There’s many more so the best thing to do if your interested is get in contact with me and i can have a quick chat to you and see if they are right for you then put them on my next Poliquin Supplement order

Hope that helps

See you in the gym


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