Why You Need Cortisol To Truly Be Anabolic
We have often heard that cortisol is the muscle-eating-catabolic-bad-guy. This may be such an over simplification of function, that it is keeping many of you from being more anabolic. Cortisol has an essential function to serve as the platform for hormone receptor sensitivity. Let me explain.
Cortisol is our body's stress hormone master. To deal with stress the body balances a breakdown period with a healing or "build-up" period. Cortisol plays a role in the function and regulation of practically every single hormone in the body, whether anabolic or catabolic. One of the main functions of cortisol is to sustain the receptors for hormones such as Thyroid and Testosterone. Without proper Thyroid function, our metabolism is slower. Thyroid speeds everything that is going on in the body at any given moment. Because of this, we want to make sure that Thyroid is working optimally, and that we are in an anabolic state. If the body is in an anabolic state, Thyroid function will serve too speed up what is currently going on...i.e. protein synthesis gets the edge over protein break-down.
Here is the catch. You need cortisol for the following main functions of Thyroid:1. receptor sensitivity2. receptor population3. Central Nervous System support of the metabolic acceleration of Thyroid Function
We all known that without receptor population (# of receptors), the amount of hormone available is less functional. The basic reason is that we may have plenty of hormone, but if we do not have plenty of receptors for that given hormone to work with, then all the hormone molecules which have no receptor hook-up are wasted. Cortisol sustains and aids receptor population of Thyroid hormone receptors which allows full Thyroid function and acceleration of protein synthesis...i.e. faster muscle gains.
We need a healthy amount of cortisol to sustain a fast enough metabolism to be able to gain muscle at an appreciable rate. Part of steroid fever is also related to lack of cortisol because cortisol is the body's strongest natural anti-inflammatory. Without it, the body can stay sick and inflammed. The only time cortisol is bad for your health and your gains is when there is a lack of anabolic hormone (no one who uses AAS has this issue if you take decent doses) and excessive wear and tear compounded by a lack of nutrition.
So, we need Thyroid to be anabolic, and we also need cortisol to be sure our thyroid is working optimally. Another important function of cortisol is to make sure the T4 is properly converting to T3. Too much cortisol, not enough conversion, too little, not enough conversion either. We need just the right amount of cortisol.
How do you know if you have sufficient cortisol? There are a few simple tests and symptoms that give it away.