If you are looking to achieve a leaner, defined physique then you should take a look at your carbohydrate consumption.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham which examined Glucocorticoid (cortisol) & insulin regulation and its effects on aromatase activity in adipose tissue, revealed different outcomes in men and women.
As part of the study, researchers examined insulin and cortisol’s role in potentiating aromatase activity in men and women by taking samples of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue for testing.
The research candidates included 7 premenopausal women, 10 postmenopausal women and 9 men. The researchers found that the male candidate’s basal aromatase activity was significantly higher in the subcutaneous tissues compared to the visceral tissue where cortisol and insulin were present. Insulin appeared to greatly increase cortisol’s effect in promoting aromatase activity.
Female candidates showed similar results however, they presented higher levels of aromatase activity when insulin and cortisol were present. This small piece of the study reveals that subcutaneous adipose tissue has a much greater affinity for aromatase activity than visceral fat in both genders.
When researchers compared the results of the pre & post menopausal women and their reaction to insulin and cortisol the results showed that postmenopausal women had higher levels of aromatase activity in visceral tissues than premenopausal women. However, both pre & postmenopausal women showed the same response to aromatase activity in subcutaneous tissues.
Sex steroids such as DHEA, androstenedione, estrone and testosterone may regulate adipose mass by increasing preadipocyte proliferation, differentiation, and adipocyte size due to the effects on lipolysis (fat loss) and lipogenesis (fat accrual).
Insulin plays a crucial role in adipocyte proliferation and differentiation, however, in this study, insulin alone showed no effect on aromatase expression, whereas insulin and cortisol demonstrated an additive effect on aromatase activity.
For those who follow a high carbohydrate diet, it means that relatively high doses of insulin such as white rice or dextrose in combination with cortisol (think low blood sugar from spiked insulin) increases aromatase activity, which promotes excessive oestrogen levels.
This is extremely undesirable for those seeking optimal body composition as it promotes proliferation and differentiation of preadipocytes, which increases fat mass accrual.
Carbohydrates, Cortisol and Insulin
Consuming copious amounts of carbohydrates in your plight for maximum muscle mass is not the way forward. For optimal body composition, you need to manipulate your insulin and cortisol levels through meticulous nutrition planning.
Now we are not suggesting you switch to an Atkins or Ketogenic Diet by any means, but you should pay attention to your carbohydrate choices and glycemic loads. If you absolutely must have carbohydrates with every meal, make sure to keep the grams low. Ideally, you should aim for around 20 -30 grams per meal, as this will keep the glycemic load under control. You should also consider utilising high glycemic carbs only around the time of your weight training or high activity event. The remainder of your carbohydrates should be from low glycemic sources.
The best option would be to only use carbohydrates pre and post training, and make sure your other meals are made up of high-quality protein sources and fats.
Supplements which lower the stress hormone cortisol would be very beneficial for those looking to get as lean as possible and our latest product from MPA Supps will do just that. CortiSolve has been carefully developed to lower cortisol while enhancing mental focus.
How to Lower Cortisol and Insulin
- Deep tissue massages will relax your muscles and mind, which will lower cortisol
- Keeping the glycemic load small at each carbohydrate meal will keep insulin stable
- Sleeping in a silent pitch black room will initiate high-quality sleep which lowers cortisol and boosts the release of growth hormone
- Combining essential fatty acids to each low glycemic load meal will further reduce insulin release
- Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs such as Magnolia Bark & Rhodiola can help lower cortisol
- Consuming fibre with each meal will help to keep insulin levels low
- Supplementing with CortiSolve will lower cortisol into a healthy range.