Cortisol blockers have been useful in the treatment of high cortisol level disorders like Cushing’s syndrome. Aside from that, some diet pill makers market them as dietary supplements that aid weight loss. How do these cortisol blockers work? Is there any truth behind their weight loss claims? Read on to learn more about these supplements.
What is Cortisol?
To get a better understanding of cortisol blockers, it’s necessary to know what exactly cortisol is and the role it plays in your health. Referred to as the “stress hormone,” cortisol is a hormone that’s naturally produced by the adrenal glands when you’re feeling anxious or facing any mental or physical stress. It’s also produced when you’re performing activities you wouldn’t consider stressful such as waking up and exercising.
Cortisol inhibits the effectiveness of insulin, causing an increase in your glucose levels to give you the energy and alertness required to face the situation at hand and relieve stress. It suppresses your digestive, immune, and reproductive systems responses. Cortisol levels drop once the stress passes, and all systems are restored to their previous state.
How Cortisol Blockers Work
Prolonged exposure to stress will keep your cortisol levels elevated. This can result in weight gain, digestive problems, sleep disorders and an increased risk of heart disease. Rather than affecting the factors that can lead to high cortisol levels, cortisol blockers just work by keeping the hormone at more stable levels to prevent its fat accumulation effects on the body. They often have ingredient blends that are capable of managing this hormone, such as Relora, ashwagandha, green tea extract, chromium, caffeine, and L-Carnitine.
Is There Any Scientific Evidence?
There has been little research conducted on the effectiveness of the ingredients used in cortisol blockers.
A few studies have been done on Relora, which is a blend of two tree barks. In a pilot study that was published in 2006, Relora was found to have cortisol-reducing and weight management properties. Premenopausal women who ate while stressed out were divided into two groups. One group took Relora while the other one took a placebo. After six weeks, the women in the placebo group had gained 3 pounds whereas those who took Relora didn’t gain any weight. The Relora group also had lower cortisol levels.
A team of international researchers conducted a study on the Magnolia Officinalis, an ingredient in Relora, and honokiol, one of its active ingredients. A group of mice was divided into three groups. One group consumed a placebo, the second group received a Magnolia Officinalis extract, and the last group received a honokiol extract. The two extracts were found to inhibit weight gain slightly in comparison to the placebo group. However, they weren’t huge results.
Ashwagandha, a common herbal ingredient in cortisol blockers, has been found to have a significant impact on cortisol levels and stress. In one study that was published in 2009, people were treated with the herb for anxiety. After eight weeks, they lost nearly 8 pounds.
Different brands use a different mix of ingredients to make their cortisol blockers. There’s need for more research to verify the safety and effectiveness of the different cortisol-blocking ingredients.
Cause for Concern
Some marketers have made extraordinary, unsubstantiated claims about their products, forcing the government to step in to put an end to them. For instance, in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned bodybuilding.com against the unproven claims it was making about its cortisol blockers and many of its products. A year later, there was a $12 million settlement between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and marketers of CortiStress and CortiSlim over unsubstantiated claims.
While some cortisol-blocking ingredients can help you shed the extra pounds, you’ll probably not get massive results if you use the supplements on their own. You’ll get better results by also combining stress reduction, diet, and exercise. Make sure you do research on a cortisol blocker you’re interested in before making a purchase. If you’re on medication, it’s important to consult your doctor before using these supplements because some herbal ingredients can interact with drugs.