Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of vital processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. It also has a very important role in helping the body respond to stress.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone, one of the glucocorticoids, made in the cortex of the adrenal glands and then released into the blood, which transports it all round the body. Almost every cell contains receptors for cortisol and so cortisol can have lots of different actions depending on which sort of cells it is acting upon. These effects include controlling the body’s blood sugar levels and thus regulating metabolism, acting as an anti-inflammatory, influencing memory formation, controlling salt and water balance, influencing blood pressure and helping development of the foetus.
How is cortisol controlled?
Blood levels of cortisol vary throughout the day, but generally are higher in the morning when we wake up, and then fall throughout the day. This is called a diurnal rhythm. In people that work at night, this pattern is reversed, so the timing of cortisol release is clearly linked to daily activity patterns. In response to stress, extra cortisol is released to help the body to respond appropriately.
The secretion of cortisol is mainly controlled by three inter-communicating regions of the body; the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland. When cortisol levels in the blood are low, a group of cells in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone, which causes the pituitary gland to secrete another hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, into the bloodstream. High levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone are detected in the adrenal glands and stimulate the secretion of cortisol, causing blood levels of cortisol to rise. As the cortisol levels rise, they start to block the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus and adrenocorticotropic hormone from the pituitary. As a result, the adrenocorticotropic hormone levels start to drop, which then leads to a drop in cortisol levels. This is called a negative feedback loop.
What happens if I have too much cortisol?
Too much cortisol over a prolonged period of time can lead to a condition called Cushing's syndrome. This can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as a tumour that produces adrenocorticotropic hormone (and therefore increases cortisol secretion), or taking certain types of drugs. The symptoms include:
In addition, there has been a long-standing association between raised or impaired regulation of cortisol levels and a number of psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression. However, the significance of this is not yet clearly understood.
What happens if I have too little cortisol?
Too little cortisol may be due to a problem in the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland (Addison's disease). The onset of symptoms is often very gradual. Symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, muscle weakness, mood changes and the darkening of regions of the skin. Without treatment, this is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Urgent assessment by a specialist hormone doctor called an endocrinologist is required when a diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome or Addison's disease is suspected.
One of the most common requests we get asked each week is for options for low carb meals.
Part of our answer is that the only meal which is important to be 'strictly' low carb is evening meals and snacks... If you haven't got dinner organised for tonight yet, here's a fantastic chicken option. Enjoy!
Mediterranean chicken with cauliflower rice
Coming up at the start of June is the True Grit obstacle challenge. This event has multiple distance options however we’re putting together a team to run in the 5km.
Each week on Wednesday night at 6:45, all members are welcome to join us in an epic training opportunity to have you ready for the True Grit Challenge.
The picture above is Gwenael who was the only ‘lucky’ member to do the first of the training sessions and check out what he completed... future training routines will be devised by Steve Loulou. With his serious experience in obstacle course racing and personal training experience we can’t wait to see each weeks training plans unfold.
Register via the 6X app for the free training sessions.
Register for the True Grit event
Lets hear it for Alana.
Earlier this month Alana finished the 8 week challenge to lose an amazing 10.6kg. Alana joined the challenge with her two sisters, mum and boyfriend.
At the end of this month Alana has just managed to top the ladder on the 6XPulse heart rate system racking up 3857 points in 33 classes during April.
With a gung-ho attitude and relentless smile when in the studio, we love your enthusiasm and intensity Alana, keep up the massive efforts.
Having the most points for the month, Alana has earned herself a Free PT session - Congratulations again!
Why do people train? Initially, it's about achieving a goal that is personal to an individual.
Why do people continue training? They see results and enjoy what they are doing.
We believe it is all about mixing business with pleasure. Although results is what we focus on. We still have fun a long the way. As we all know; It's the journey that tells the story.
So why not have the experience of a life time when training rather than making it seem like a chore. So rather than carrying on with what you're doing when you achieve a little milestone, go out and celebrate it. Go out with some mates, go do an adventure race, go to a sorts game, have a cheeky pizza or whatever it may be. Reward yourself and don't think twice.
What will happen from doing this? It makes it easy to be consistent, creates a fun lifestyle, increased positivity and most importantly; memories that can be shared over a life time.
Let the fun begin.
Big congrats to this 'brave' crew for attending the latest Secret 6X.
On a very stormy night yesterday we travelled into the city to attend the latest exhibition by Body Worlds Vital to experience the human body like never before.
What a great experience!
For details and registration for the next Secret 6X, we will be hosting another later this year, don't miss out SECRET 6X
And that's how fast four weeks goes... Hold on tight, the next four goes even quicker!
Look forward to some events coming up in the next month to have you firing on all cylinders for the finish line of the challenge
The leaders in overall weight loss so far are
Fire up team, this is going to be four weeks to remember!
We've gained momentum in the challenge this week with members noticing changes in their fitness, strength, endurance and overall ability within the gym.
It's amazing just how quickly changes happen when training consistently and in particular one-on-one with your personal trainer. This crew, and many more, are pumping through over 5 training sessions each week which would leave some wondering about the chance of burnout, fatigue and injury however speak to any of these guys and you'll come to realise the balance of cardio, weights, stretching and education has them all fired up to train even more.
With the increased fitness we're looking forward to seeing the results continue to speed up in this next week and second half of the challenge, we're really excited to see everyone's half way check-in scans.
See you in the gym!
Week 2 of the challenge is complete and the results are mixed this week.
Some lost weight, others gained weights, some lost less than last week... others like this great man lost MORE than the first week!
Shout out to Alex Renwick for owning his challenge this week. After week one, Alex was please with his result of a couple kilos however on writing it on the progress board and witnessing what others achieved in comparison, Alex decided he could do better, and that he did, losing a cool 3.1kgs in the last 7 days.
Strict meal plans and daily PT has Alex on track and powering towards his goal of 24kg in this 8 weeks.
Proud of you mate!
See you in the gym
On Saturday, we saw this crazy crew tackle the Sand Dune Challenge and they absolutely smashed it!
Some met at the studio and carpooled, others knew the way ‘from last time’.
The challenge this time, 8 laps of 3 down-hills and 3 up-hills ... and it was tough! Just Steve and Rach came close to finishing the challenge this time with everyone putting in a hug effort with some very sore quads.
Coffees and a swim finished the Challenge morning before 9:30 and we were home again.
Congrats to everyone that took part, you all did great!
See you in the gym