Cavemen and Cortisol: How Stress Can Kill

by JJ Virgin on April 27, 2017

Your body’s instinct for self-preservation is a beautiful thing. You have hundreds of built-in chemical responses ready to help you through the hard times. And when it comes to finding the energy and strength you need to survive stress, cortisol is your number one ally.

Cortisol is produced by your adrenal system. This primary stress hormone is responsible for so many important tasks, including: 1-4

  • Helping you get great sleep
  • Signaling satiety or hunger
  • Determining how you feel
  • Allowing you to burn fat and build muscle

“Where do I start?” I get that question a lot. That’s why it’s so important to have a roadmap you can trust. A roadmap that breaks down your health journey into small, manageable steps. Download my Ultimate Health Roadmap and take control of your health… one step at a time. Get your FREE guide here.

How Cortisol Saved Us in the Past

For your ancient ancestors, extra cortisol and adrenaline were lifesavers! Stress hormones helped create the sudden burst of speed they needed if they were being chased by a wild animal. (Or doing the chasing themselves…)

Their adrenal systems had the smarts to make more cortisol during the winter, so they could hang on to body fat when mealtimes were less predictable. (Intermittent fasting mimics the way our ancestors ate. Check out this blog if you’re curious about implementing it into your schedule.) 

Cortisol production also increased during times of intensive hunting and harvest – the times when your ancestors need to stay awake when their energy and stamina mattered most.

Why It Can Kill Us Now

Unfortunately, today’s world simulates those times of stress and deprivation 24/7. As you juggle a hectic schedule and family obligations, your body gets the message that you’re in constant danger and produces more cortisol to protect you.

Every time you make a rushed visit to the drive-thru or climb out of bed before you’re well-rested, your body assumes you need more cortisol to survive the hard times.

The result? Anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, hunger and cravings, a crashed immune system, and oftentimes, weight loss resistance.

Additional cortisol also increases inflammation, putting you at risk for major illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. 5

You can’t eliminate stress, but you can learn ways to manage it… And ultimately, learning to manage stress can save your life!

What to Do About It

You’re not a caveman in danger, and it’s time your body got the message! The same chemical responses that proved essential in the past can actually cost you your life now. Chronically elevated stress hormones like cortisol can leave you sick, sleep-starved, inflamed, and put you at risk for serious disease. Elevated cortisol can lock the doors on your fat cells, so you’re storing fat rather than burning it.

If stress is interfering with your moods, sleep, appetite, or fat loss, you need to hit the reset button.

Start at the end of your fork. The foods on The Virgin Diet and Sugar Impact Diet can help reduce inflammation, support your immune system, heal your gut, and make you the best fat burner. 

Along with the right foods, you’ll also want to:

  • Get the right exercise. (Good news: You only need eight minutes for an intense, full-body workout. Learn more here.)
  • Get 7 – 9 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep every night.
  • Take the right nutrients, including the foundational nutrients in our Daily Essentials Multi + Omegas. Everything you need… in one easy-to-take packet.*
  • Find stress management strategies that work for you, and do them regularly.
  • Magnesium Body Calm is my go-to nutrient to manage stress. Magnesium also helps you sleep better, feel calmer during the day, and even get things moving “down there.”*

In this episode, I do a deep dive into stress management. You’ll learn more about why stress is so destructive, plus ways that you can better handle stress right now. 

A smoothie makes a fast, filling way to keep your immune system stellar and support balanced blood sugar levels… so you feel better, crave less, and handle stress like a champ. I’ve got over 50 fab recipes in my Smoothie Guide. Get yours FREE here

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.