- Tired three or more days per week throughout the day?
- Frustrated by abdominal fat?
- Gaining weight despite your best efforts in dieting and exercising?
- Stressed three or more days per week?
- Waking up throughout the night or having trouble falling asleep?
- Crashing around 2–3 pm every day?
- Frustrated with feeling that your patience is just GONE?
- Been told your blood sugar level is borderline or increasing?
Well…If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, keep reading. If you didn’t answer yes to 2 or more of these questions…keep reading anyway, because you will learn something that will help you regardless, and you will certainly learn something that could help someone close to you.
Let ME Tell YOU…
Feeling tired throughout the day, having less energy than you used to, and getting the “muffin-top” around your midsection or the “apple belly” is not part of the normal aging process. Waking up at night, having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and having less patience is not part of the normal aging process. Feeling more stressed, anxious, and frustrated is not part of the normal aging process.
You should not be increasing the amount of medication you’re taking just to treat these symptoms. Yes, you are experiencing symptoms. But we need to identify the cause of these things you are feeling and treat this to see success.
Let’s Unpack What We’re Trying to Say
If you’re struggling with weight loss, there are three primary areas to look at. Once these three areas have been analyzed, it’s time to dig deeper until you find the root cause of the weight component.
- Blood Sugar Stability
- Cortisol Hormone
- Gut Health ➩ Vitamin Levels
Blood Sugar Stability
Blood Sugar: Many individuals have heard these terms used together before. It is the marker on the blood test that doctors often use to tell if you’re prediabetic or diabetic. Blood sugar stability refers to how stable your blood sugar is throughout the day and night, is vital to your metabolism, mood, sleep, stress control, energy, strength, and ultimately how efficiently your body is functioning. Blood sugar stability is essentially the dictator of your quality of life. How do you know if your blood sugar is stable throughout the day and night?
The one blood test that looks at your glucose level is not enough to determine your blood sugar stability. Other blood tests like hemoglobin A1c, serum insulin, triglyceride level, and HDL (good cholesterol) level can help to assess your risk factors for a metabolic dysfunction called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs before prediabetes and means that your body is not metabolizing food efficiently—specifically carbohydrates and sugar. Long story short, this starts to cause the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Insulin resistance is most impacted by too many carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol in the diet with insufficient lean proteins. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging reports that 1 in 3 Americans aged 50+ consume protein-deficient diets. Protein is a primary building block of our cells. It’s vital to break down sugars and stabilize our blood sugar levels. If our meal plan doesn’t have the proper ratio of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins in our diet, our blood sugar becomes unstable.
To put it simply: Blood sugar rising and falling throughout the day and night classifies as unstable blood sugar. You won’t typically feel this, as it’s happening inside your body. This instability of the blood sugar causes the body to store food, which is converted to sugar. Stored sugar is then turned into adipose (fat) tissue in our body, so blood sugar instability is a primary cause of weight gain. This should be evaluated more thoroughly from within by checking your blood tests.
The Cortisol Hormone
Cortisol is a stress hormone within our body that is released from the adrenal glands—organs that sit just above our kidneys in the abdomen. The cortisol hormone is a steroid, and its release is essential in acute stress situations like running away from an alligator chasing you, escaping from a fire, and other dangerous situations—it is the “fight or flight” hormone. Cortisol should naturally rise at 6 am and rouse us in the morning, helping to wake us up and provide energy throughout the day. It then should trend down throughout the day, with the exception of those acute stress situations described above. Cortisol should naturally reach its lowest point at midnight to allow us to sleep and rest. The problem with cortisol is this: When individuals have chronic stress, like high-stress jobs or home life, the cortisol hormone is released consistently and “chronically.”
Chronic release of this stress hormone can cause the body to hold onto adipose (fat) tissue and redistribute it to the abdominal area, leading to belly fat. The next issue with the chronic release of cortisol: The more cortisol released, the higher the blood sugar level is because, again, the higher the blood sugar, the less efficient our cells are in breaking down our food for energy, so food is stored as fat.
Chronic cortisol release also interrupts the circadian rhythm, sleep, and cellular recovery. Sleep is its own entity when it comes to our body being efficient, but it is largely impacted by our blood sugar instability and cortisol levels. We have to correct these two components first. Many times, improving these will cure our sleep disorders. Yes, really!
Another issue with the chronic release of cortisol is that it’s a steroid that breaks down our gut lining and leads to leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune syndrome, and vitamin deficiencies.
Gut Health ➩ Vitamin Levels
Leaky gut means the intestinal lining is not healthy, is broken down, and allows food particles, bacteria, and toxins to leave the intestinal tract (gut) and penetrate tissues and the bloodstream. It is not normal for toxins to enter our tissues and bloodstream, and the immune system reacts to this. In addition, when the gut lining is broken down and unhealthy, vitamins and minerals from our food and supplements are not well absorbed due to damage to the intestinal structures. Our immune system is now reacting at a consistently high level, and we are deficient in the vital nutrients and minerals that make our organs function properly. Let’s break down the top five concerns with leaky gut and vitamin deficiencies:
- The immune system is in a heightened state, which leads to autoimmune disease.
- Inflammation is high, and the metabolism is not the main priority for our organs.
- The immune system is worn out, the body is working hard, and your cells are tired.
- Vital nutrients like vitamin D, B12, magnesium, and iron become deficient because they are not absorbed well, increasing the risk of insulin resistance, blood sugar stability, and weight gain.
- The immune system is fighting, increasing stress internally, and releasing more cortisol hormone (and we already know the effects of this…vicious cycle!)
Leaky gut requires a lot of attention, but some of the most common causes of leaky gut are related to the foods we eat. Many individuals have food sensitivities that they don’t know about. Food sensitivities can present deep into adulthood, often after a trauma or stressor on our body. They can also present in infancy or childhood and change throughout our lives. Sugar is inflammatory and can break down our gut lining as well.
The good news is that blood sugar instability, chronically high cortisol levels, and leaky gut syndrome are all treatable and reversible with the right foods for your body, the right balance of your macronutrients, and the right gut-healing techniques. Working with a professional can be life changing for you!
Berman Health and Wellness is a Functional Medicine Center that helps individuals reach their goal weight and optimize their gut health, while avoiding needless medications and achieving the highest quality of life imaginable. Our goal is to evaluate the metabolism, gut health, and bloodwork to optimize each aspect of the client.
Call 239.431.0232 or visit: www.bermanpt.com/wellness to learn more.