Bitesize 4: CORTISOL, WHAT IS IT AND HOW CAN WE HELP MANAGE THE CORTICOL CYCLE.
Have you felt that knot in your stomach or heart pounding.
Known as the "fight of flight" hormone, the cortical cycle evolved to save us.
Back to times when a tasty homo sapien needed to flee danger or worse, being eaten by the numerous carnivores that roamed the earth cortisol enabled us to survive.
Stress is the primary reason for cortisol production.
The neurotransmitters in our brains cannot automatically sort types of stress. So if we have received an unsetting email, electricity bill, social media post, teenage pressures, a relationship issue, or just the need to get away from a dangerous situation, the cortisol cycle kicks in.
The Hypothalamus in our brain , triggered by stress signals the Pituitary Gland to signal the Adrenal Gland to produce cortisol.
Fight or flight, we are ready to react.
The liver starts producing more glucose (energy).
Blood pressure increases.
Breathing gains pace.
Immune system slows.
Digestion slows and sight and sound become sharper.
Blood flows to muscles.
All over. What happens?
Sodium and potassium pumps in the kidneys increase their activity to pass cortisol into urine and bacteria in the gut breakdown the cortisol that passes from the blood stream into the gut.
All over, back to normal.
But if the microbiome lacks population and diversity, cortisol is not broken down or excreted from the body and this hypotensive state can continue.
Coupled with a 'leaky gut', and lack of serotonin and dopamine from endotoxins released by pathogens, the conseque