If you’ve read the Eat To Evolve blog for any period of time you have inevitably heard me discuss insulin and leptin resistance and how they only make each other worse.
Both insulin and leptin resistance provide a significant challenges to someone’s health and fat loss goals from a metabolic and appetite regulation standpoint.
Today I’m introducing a key part of this hormonal resistance puzzle that works closely with insulin and leptin that only makes the situation worse; adrenaline resistance.
But before we can dive into the nitty gritty of adrenaline resistance let’s take a closer look at what the hormone adrenaline is, what it does in the body and what you might be doing to make your body resistant to it.
What Is Adrenaline, and Why Does It Matter ?
Adrenaline is also known as epinephrine and is a main hormones involved in our fight or flight response.
The automatic fight or flight response kicks in when someone encounters a potential threat or needs quick energy.
Aside from fight or flight situations intense workouts,over consumption of stimulants (I’m looking at you 4PM coffee) and other physical and psychological life stressors can trigger the release of adrenaline.
Adrenaline increases available energy in the body to help meet the physical and mental demands of stressful situations, and everyday life.
This stress hormone also acts as a neurotransmitter that helps us to manage physical and emotional pain.
Adrenaline blunts pain because If you're running for your life stopping to nurse a twisted ankle is a poor survival technique, and a quick path out of the gene pool.
In response to a stressor adrenaline increases your heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output and increases the mobilization of body fat to provide energy.
Body fat in the abdomen is the area that adrenaline will turn to burn first for energy. The midsection is where we have the most receptors for adrenaline, and it’s an easy storage site to access for fuel from.
Enter Adrenaline Resistance
Too much exposure to the hormone adrenaline from the stressors listed above causes the cells to become desensitized.
Your cells stop answering the phone when adrenaline calls which makes it more difficult for the body to release energy in these stressful or regular situations.
The body assumes that if a little adrenaline didn’t accomplish the job a lot should do it, however this only makes the situation worse.
When you’re in a constant state of stress and producing adrenaline whether it’s from inadequate sleep, abusing stimulants or basic life stresses you will become resistant to this hormone.
Burned out adrenaline receptors make it much more difficult for the body to access one of the largest storage sites of body fat, the abdomen.
Adrenaline Resistance and Abdominal Fat
Adrenaline actually targets body fat in the abdomen because that is where we have the greatest amount of receptors for the hormone.
Fat cells like the ones in your abdomen have two types of receptors alpha 2 and beta 2, and they each behave differently when they are signaled by adrenaline.
The beta 2 receptors tells the fat cell to release fat, and the alpha 2 on the other hand tells the cell to stop releasing fat.
When a fat cells like the ones on your belly contain more alpha 2 receptors than beta 2 receptors it will be much slower to release stored fat which is why the belly is one of the last places to lean out.
When these beta 2 receptors become resistant because of too much adrenaline losing fat becomes even more difficult.
This is why people who are highly stressed can lean out in other areas of their body but tend to accumulate fat around their stomach.
Aside from the vanity of having a large amount of abdominal fat, this specific kind puts you at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and certain forms of cancer.
With the burden of producing more and more adrenaline eventually the adrenal glands will become worn out from overuse and lose ability to produce adequate levels of adrenaline will suffer.
This is only the beginning of the problem though! Next week in part two we’ll be taking a look at how insulin, leptin and adrenaline feed off each other wrecking the metabolism, health and fat loss… forget about it.
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