Oxidative Stress and Cortisol Resistance

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released in response to environmental stress. Cortisol is considered one of the major stress hormones in humans while corticosterone performs a similar role in animals. One of the functions of cortisol is to reduce the inflammatory response to injury and infection. Excessive oxidative stress can inhibit this process and prevent cortisol reducing inflammation in a process that has been termed cortisol resistance. Removal of the oxidative stress, through application of antioxidants may remove this cortisol resistance and allow cortisol to function effectively in its anti-inflammatory role. This may impart an explanation of the anti-inflammatory effects of antioxidants that have been consistently reported. By reducing cortisol resistance, antioxidants may lower plasma cortisol because the cortisol that is released becomes more effective, and negative feedback effects limit further release of cortisol. The flavonoid epicatechin has been shown to be particularly effective in this process. 

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Ruijters, E. J., Haenen, G. R., Weseler, A. R. and Bast, A. 2014. The cocoa flavanol (−)-epicatechin protects the cortisol response. Pharmacological Research. 79: 28-33

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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