Multiple studies show athletes have chronically elevated cortisol levels. Should you be worried?
Only of the last 10 years has the healthcare paradigm begun to shift, emphasizing a more preventative approach to our body’s health, wellness, and longevity. Conventional medicine providers still neglect the importance of understanding and appreciating what elevated Cortisol levels do to our bodies’ functionality. And despite increased awareness, of the 2nd most known “C” word, the truth is still not fully understood.
To the average person, cortisol is known as a “stress hormone” that is bad for the body. However, the true understanding of what Cortisol is and how it affects us is typically not well appreciated.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland. Its release is controlled by the hypothalamus, which is a major controller of metabolism located in the brain. One of the main jobs of cortisol is to increase the glucose concentration in the blood to make more energy readily available to muscles. As you might expect, cortisol release from the adrenal gland increases at the onset of exercise and remains elevated throughout exercise, when the muscles create a great demand for energy.
But when stress becomes chronic, as it is for so many of us today, the body is continually exposed to high levels of cortisol and long-term negative health effects may occur. Chronically elevated cortisol levels have been linked to problems including abdominal fat gain, cognitive decline, slower healing and recovery and compromised immune function.
Because some of the highest cortisol surges occur during and after exercise, endurance athletes are exposed to more cortisol than even many of the most stressed-out non-athletes. But do these repeated short bursts of cortisol release really add up to long-term high cortisol exposure in runners and other endurance athletes? Multiple studies say YES!
Enough is known about the many positive health effects of exertional training to say without hesitancy, that on balance, it is extremely beneficial to overall health. And since exertional training has been shown specifically to reduce abdominal fat storage, improve brain function and (except in cases of overtraining) enhance immune function, we need to be weary of the chronic elevations of this essential hormone.
There has been a proven link between elevated Cortisol levels and athletic performance. Systemic inflammation is the one biggest weary of chronic Cortisol. This inflammation is not only limited to the bones, joints, and muscles, but to the physiological reactions that happen at the cellular level in our bodies.
It is critical for athletes to know and understand how to manage the stress that is placed physiologically on our bodies especially when we push our bodies to their limits. In functional medicine we utilize a broad spectrum of modalities to help minimize the damage done to our bodies with chronic exposure to elevated cortisol and stress hormones. We aim to not only lower the acute elevations in this inflammatory marker, but also to help our bodies adapt and lower the impacts on future exposure to stress and inflammation.
Modalities such as Intravenous or Injectable Anti-oxidants, hormone balancing, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), and Stem Cell Therapies, are all modalities that we use to help the body repair and improve its functionality
We at R3 Health, specialize in helping athletes understands their bodies, and helping educate them on what they can do to not only help them recover and perform better, but to ensure optimal health, wellness, and longevity. R3 Health specializes in creating custom individualized wellness programs, which help anyone achieve their goals. We specialize in therapies that are natural based and Regenerative in Nature, preventing the need for invasive conventional medicine therapies.
Take Action! See R3 Health to get a true understanding about your health & wellness, and lets work together to help you achieve your goals, ensuring optimal health, wellness, and functional longevity