Stress Hormones and Energy Regulation

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The right amount of stress

Stress has become a nasty word. It conjures up images of something imminently snapping — like a bridge support or fragile person under immense forces and pressure.

But stress, in the appropriate amount and under the right architecture, can drive amazing mechanical systems. It can also be integral for the healthy functions of biological systems. In fact, stress has been an evolutionary driver of all living things.

Yet, stress has gotten a bad rap.

We also tend to think of stress hormones in negative terms, such as catabolism (i.e. muscle wastage) or belly fat. In reality, catabolism involves a breakdown of biological components to meet immediate needs — like protein for tissue repairs and hormones, and fat for energy.

Stress hormones, energy modulators

Without these stress hormones we wouldn’t survive the demands of our environment. Stress hormones essentially keep us thriving by creating favorable conditions, such as increased cardiac output, vessel dilation, blood glucose, mental alertness, etc.

Stress hormones also regulate energy balance. For example, during intermittent fasting, catecholamines are released to create glucose or ketones from stored glycogen, protein and fat in order to meet the energy needs of the body. This energy regulation during the feed-fast cycle is as natural as the constriction and dilation of the eye’s pupils during light-dark cycles.

So, give stress hormones their due respect for keeping us thriving in demanding environment, as well as helping to create and maintain a healthy body-weight by the regulation of energy stores.

In the appropriate amount and under the right condition, stress hormones can be our friends.

This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities, weight Loss and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Stress Hormones and Energy Regulation

  1. Nicole R. says:

    This is a great perspective. I’ve been a long time reader of your blog but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. This post really speaks to me, as I’m a physical therapist who believes in the many autonomic responses of the body.

    In the past I’ve viewed things with a one-way perspective, and in the case of the human body I’ve learned that it possesses mechanisms for survival and thriving. The underlying physical processes that many of us believe are bad (acute cortisol, catabolism, as examples) are actually part of the reflex and reaction of biological survival and even enhancement. Acute cortisol triggers the healing process after exercise or injury, while catabolism provides necessary building properties for other tissues and important uses.

    I’m a very busy person in my clinical practice and I noticed the weight gain over the years. 35 pounds! From your blog I’ve managed to lose all of that weight and have freed myself from the social pressure that results in food obsession. Now I actually enjoy my meals so much more, but while I’m at work, I can focus instead of thinking constantly about how I can get to my next meal — even when I wasn’t hungry!

    Thanks, Johnny, for a very useful and motivating blog. I hope you keep it going. I would say that I depend on it…

  2. Stephon says:


    Love the new look to the blog and as usual keep up the good work.Wanted to ask a quick question a bit off topic,as reference to “Metabolic Conditioning”.I wanted to know how many of these type workouts should one do a week?,as I like to include one strength training day in a week.I am not too concerned with muscle mass right now,just being as healthy,lean ,and light as possible right now with a nice set of abs of course.I have been doing IF for a while,and noticed that since I combined more MC type of training I seem to be getting more leaner,my concern is exercise selection and frequency.You have been of great help to me,so hopefully you can shed a little light on this for me.Again loving the new look and congrats on the new buisness.


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