Merolla Chiropractic

100 Bedford Street
New Bedford, MA 02740


Posts for tag: cortisol

By New Bedford chiropracgtor
July 08, 2013
Category: weight loss
Tags: chiropractic   cortisol   weight loss   leptin   ghrelin   sleep   New Bedford   Fall River  

Interested in weight loss?  You need to talk to Leptin & Ghrelin.

It may sound like a law firm, but leptin and ghrelin are actually two vital hormones involved in stimulating and suppressing your appetite.

Leptin suppresses hunger and is produced in the fat cells of the body.

Ghrelin stimulates your appetite and is released from your stomach.

If you are trying to lose or maintain weight loss, it is better to release more leptin and less ghrelin, because leptin tells your body that it is full.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to get enough sleep.

And one of the easiest ways to promote wait gain is to not get enough sleep  (see study here).

But there is another major player involved in weight gain and sleep: the hormone cortisol.

Getting enough sleep lowers cortisol levels, while a lack of sleep elevates cortisol.

When cortisol levels go up, metabolism goes down. 

How does this happen?  Cortisol when elevated, tells the body to break down protein in order to produced glucose.  Over time, this breakdown of protein leads to less muscle mass which lowers metabolism.  Your muscles require fuel (calories), even at rest.  With less muscle there is less calorie burning and therefore a lowered metabolism.

But it can get worse.  If you are breaking down protein to make glucose and you already have an adequate supply of glucose, your body will store the glucose as fat.

On top of that, cortisol interferes with the body’s ability to build muscle.

So if you are going to the gym, but triggering high cortisol levels, you are not going to make the gains you would like with regard to your body composition (the amount of fat to muscle).

The bottom line is that if you are trying to maintain or lose weight, you do not want to raise cortisol or ghrelin levels, and leptin levels should be promoted.  Getting enough sleep helps you do just that and promotes better health in general.


If you want to get a handle on where your cortisol levels are, it has never been easier.  Just stop by Merolla Chiropractic in New Bedford or Fall River for a home test kit based on saliva samples.  It will accurately read your cortisol levels in the morning, afternoon, late afternoon, and night.  And from there, we can go back to burning fat, not storing it!



By Dr. Mike Merolla
January 28, 2013
Category: diet
Tags: cortisol   Fatigue   tired   energy   diet  

Fatigue: tracking down the cause is never tiresome!

Fatigue which is also called tiredness, listlessness, lethargy, or exhaustion can be either physical, mental, or both.  Being tired and weak in the body or mind are different problems, but are often found hand in hand.  So if you are physically tired for a long enough time, you become mentally or emotionally tired.

Some of the most common causes of fatigue are sensitivities to food, blood sugar handing problems, infections in the digestive tract, and hormonal imbalances.

For example, having long-term undetected low-grade infections in your digestive tract can weaken the functioning of your immune system.  Because the body is constantly fighting an infection, your cortisol levels can drop which leads to the feeling of fatigue.

Or if you have a food sensitivity / allergy, your immune system is constantly fighting a food that it believes is an infection.  Over time the lining of your intestinal tract can become irritated and worn, leading to inflammation.  This again lowers cortisol levels and leads to feelings of fatigue.

Difficulties with blood sugar control also contribute to fatigue.  The body requires a nice steady level of blood sugar.  If blood sugar rises, the pancreas secretes insulin to use the sugar and lower the level.  If blood sugar drops, the adrenal glands and the pancreas produce hormones that raise blood sugar.  If your diet spikes and drops your blood sugar, it is like a roller coaster to the hormones of the body.  All of these back and forth changes to deal with poor food choices and poor timing when you eat can lead to feelings of fatigue.

Worst of all, these problems can gang up on an individual.  If you eat a carbohydrate that produces a low-grade allergic reaction in your body and you do not have any protein with that meal, you will spike your blood sugar and set off the immune system.  And if this is repeated over and over again, you will bring on inflammation.  A triple whammy!

So with time, any or all of these issues can lead hormonal imbalances primarily due to the stress your body is placed under.  Initially your adrenal glands can handle the stress by raising cortisol and DHEA levels in your body.  But with time, adrenal exhaustion sets in and despite your bodies best efforts; cortisol and DHEA levels drop and stay low.  This causes problems with many of the other hormones needed to be healthy and what began as fatigue leads to other health issues.

In order to regain real energy these body systems must be addressed.  Luckily, this is not hard to do.  For difficult cases, lab tests can map cortisol levels for correction and detect infections in the GI tract for treatment.  Nutritional and lifestyle coaching can be brought into play.  It does not take a lot of detective work to listen to an individual as they explain there eating habits.  The clues are usually obvious when you know what to look for.    Once found, correcting something as simple as breakfast and snack time can have a huge impact on a person’s well being.

By Dr Mike Merolla
January 27, 2013
Category: diet
Tags: coffee   cortisol   weight  

I was driving my kids to school the other day and while waiting at a light I couldn’t help but watch people going in and out of the local Dunkin Donuts coffee shop. 

There was a brisk line (as there is every morning I drive the kids to school).  And it came to me that this chronic use of coffee is an excellent example of how we can damage the metabolism of our body without even knowing.

When you wake up, your body requires food after having fasted all night.  If you skip breakfast in favor of a large coffee, biochemically all h*ll breaks loose inside. 

First, your cortisol is elevated to artificially high levels by the caffeine.  High cortisol feels good, but is damaging to the body. 

And if you have added sugar to your coffee or a donut or bagel, your blood sugar also spikes.  When your blood sugar spikes, insulin is released to lower your blood sugar.  But when your blood sugar drops under these circumstances, it is too much and too fast, so your brain demands more. 

Your body then uses its cortisol to break down your muscle and bone for building blocks to help your liver make more sugar.  You have shifted your body from growth and repair into a catabolic state (breaking down your important cells and tissues).  And for all of you who still think using artificial sweeteners helps with weight control, this part of the break down is independent of sugar, so even with Splenda the breakdown is still occurring.

This scene plays out every day, living through a blood sugar spike which leads to an increase in insulin to remove the excess glucose, which then triggers the production of inflammatory chemicals, which in turn causes an increase cortisol.  Cortisol then does it job and increases blood sugar and the vicious cycle continues. 

As an added bonus, once insulin enters the picture, your body goes into fat storing mode (so you set yourself up for weight for the rest of the day while your body plays catch up on your metabolism).

So, in order be healthier you might just want to rethink the whole coffee thing and go with a couple of eggs.


Put this in your cup and drink it!