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Cortisol is a hormone release by the adrenal glands, more specifically, the adrenal cortex. Cortisol has four main actions resulting in increase in energy, reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress, provides us with resistance to stress and helps us breakdown fat.

In this part 1, the energy producing action of cortisol is discussed.

  1. Cortisol increases the supply of glucose (sugar) to tissues. When your energy is low, such as when you go long periods without eating, or if you have reactive hypoglycemia, cortisol will elevate blood sugar levels via glycogenolysis (breaking down of glycogen -sugar storage – into glucose) and by converting amino acids into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis.
  2. Cortisol helps to increase energy by elevating dopamine activity in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter related to higher energy levels.
  3. Cortisol exerts an action on the kidneys that causes it to retain water and salt, which creates vasoconstriction and in turn helps to raise blood pressure, thus providing more nutrients, blood, and oxygen to your tissues and organs such as the brain.
  4. Lastly, cortisol liberates fat via lipolysis. More fat for “burning” means more energy overall.
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