1319. Is Your Belly from Sugar or Stress?

Join Dr. Martin in today's episode of The Doctor Is In Podcast.



Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Well, good morning everyone, and once again, welcome to another live this morning. Hope you're having a great start to your day. Okay guys, I'm going to show you five pounds of fat. Like five pounds of fat is big. Five pounds of fat for those listening on a podcast, this is about a foot long and six inches wide. That's a lot. So when someone tells you I only lost five pounds, that's a lot. And not that I'm a guy so much for the scale, but I want to tell you just one thing before we get into cortisol this morning, what it is and going over stuff that most of us know, but it's always good to do some repetition and just a little bit of teaching. But guys, this is five pounds of fat, okay?

Now let me ask you a question. Okay? So if anybody has this on their body, one thing we know it ain't good, but where does it come from? Okay, this is a question I want to ask. Is this belly fat? Okay, let's assume it's around the belly, okay, belly fat. Now where does that belly fat come from and is it stress belly, cortisol, or is it a sugar belly, food, or is it both? Okay, I want to go over that this morning. If you and I went today and we had a coffee together at the mall or Tim Horton's or whatever you want, and we just sat there together and we observed people and we saw this in their belly, is that a stress belly or a sugar belly? And that's what I sort of want to go over in this session today. Okay?

Now cortisol, your friend, it wakes you up in the morning, okay? Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Add renal on top of kidneys. They're like the size of chestnuts, okay? They're not very big, but they're very powerful. Your adrenal glands, okay? And just a couple of points. One, unless you have Cushing's or Addison's disease, doctors don't even think of your adrenals. They never test cortisol unless you're pulling their teeth without anesthetic. They just don't look at that. But it's a very important hormone. Naturally, it wakes you up. What does that mean? Well, it elevates your blood pressure. It elevates your blood sugar, okay? That's just what it does. It's really important that you understand that it's part of what we call the circadian rhythm. Your cortisol going to be higher in the morning and lower in the afternoon and evening. That's just normal. It's cyclical, but not anymore, okay? Not anymore. Not in the day and age that you and I live in in 2024. Okay?

Now, I've told you this in the past. My practice changed probably 20 years ago. Boy, time flies, okay? And it was incredible because when we tested cortisol, it was an epidemic. And I hate to use the word in a way, but I mean it guys. It was like incredible. Okay? Incredible. Cortisol is a protective thing. It's cyclical and it's protective. What? Yeah. Well, it protects you temporarily because it's part of the fight or flight. It's protective. Someone is coming, walking behind you, it's a dark night and you're on your way to your car and you hear footsteps behind you. Believe you me, those little adrenal glands are secreting cortisol at an enormous amount. That's getting your blood sugar going. It's getting your blood pressure going, it's getting your pulse rate going, it's getting your attention, and it's getting you ready to fight or flight, meaning running. You're either going to run or you're going to fight, okay? And again, it's protective in that way.

The problem being when it doesn't get turned off, remember what I said, cortisol is cyclical and when you need it, it's on your side. But it 2024, the way we're built today, the way the world is today, and this happens at a very young age. Guys, I mean, it's not that I never saw anxiety for the last 50 years. Of course I did. It's not like I never saw depression. Of course I did. Okay? Of course I did. But to the extent that we see it today, it's not even close. Even amongst children, anxiety and depression. Remember what I've said to you in the past and the Bible says anxiety leads to depression because what is going on physiologically inside of a body is this, it's the fight or flight. Like your body has two modes, okay? You got two modes, your rest and digest or fight or flight. And when you're resting and digesting, your cortisol should be almost at zero.

The problem is today most people are in the fight or flight way too much of the day. Family dynamics, stress, stressors, external stresses, your family, relationships, finances, all those things. And even internal stresses like hormonal imbalances, horrormones. We showed you that pyramid yesterday. Now, what are some of the symptoms? Some of the symptoms that your cortisol is too high. Okay, so let's go over that. I used to see this in the office on a daily basis and cortisol through the roof. I turn to the patient and going, man, your cortisol is through the roof. And I would ask them these questions. Do you have any anxiety? Yeah, if someone, I always laugh at this because men, they're not very forthcoming. They don't like to give out information. I always liked it when a man came in the office and his wife was with him, okay? Because then they would have to tell the truth, oh, I don't have any anxiety. And the wife goes, yes, you do. And she nail 'em with her elbow. Tell the truth. Okay?

Okay, anxiety, depression, insomnia, trouble sleeping. Well, think about it. You got two modes, rest and digest and fight or flight. And a lot of times when your cortisol is up, you're in the fight or flight. Well, do you think you're sleeping? That is what I call the low hanging fruit of cortisol. It's sleep. And I wrote a book about it. Of course, I've been writing about sleep and speaking on sleep for a long time. It's a big problem in our society today where 60-70% of the population suffer from some form of insomnia and they don't sleep because their cortisol. Nobody's ever told them you're in the fight or flight. Your cortisol's been revving up for too long. It doesn't get around, and now it's keeping you awake even though you're exhausted.

Where I saw this originally was in chronic fatigue syndrome. I wrote a book about it, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the Modern Woman's Curse. And then I wrote a book, Energy Robbers that was sort of the updated version of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. One of the energy robbers is cortisol. It will drain the life out of you because think about it, think about that. You're uptight and your body. You see, one of the things that cortisol does other than the fact that it keeps you from sleeping is it elevates your blood sugar. It elevates your blood sugar. And what goes up must come down. And I used to write books about this type of fatigue because what happens is that when you get adrenal fatigue, that's really what chronic fatigue syndrome was. It was adrenal fatigue.

And because I remember, and I might've told you this story before, but I'll just repeat it. I remember one time being on National Public Radio in the United States. I wrote a book and I had a publicist. And when I wrote books, my publicist would get me on all sorts of radio shows and TV shows, and I did a lot of that stuff even before I had my own radio show. Some of you people remember me from the Windsor area. I was on with CKLW for years with Lynn Martin, okay? I was a guest with her show for years talk show. But anyways, I was on national public radio and we were having a debate because there seemed to be like an epidemic at the time of chronic fatigue syndrome. And we had a physician on, I never met, the guy, didn't know him, and we were just on radio and I've been interviewed. And so was we had a little debate. He would talk. I would talk. And he said to me, it's all women and it's in between their ears, is what he was trying to say. It's all their emotion.

And oh boy, I didn't have to say much after that because it was a phone show and boy, oh boy, did the women give that doctor a blast? And I just sat back and because I had already talked about what happens to the adrenal glands and that doctor I don't even knew, I hate to be negative. I don't even think he knew where the adrenals were in the body. Never tested them. Like I said, unless it's Cushing's and Addison's disease, they don't think of adrenal exhaustion. But when your cortisol is constantly secreting, not meant for them, it affects your body. And then people get anxiety. It can lead to depression. Their blood sugar goes up, they get insomnia, they get fatigue because do this long enough, think of your muscles. Just hold on tight and make a fist for a long time. It's eventually going to get tired.

And I talked all about that in that syndrome. And what happened is that they got brain fog. Think of it. They couldn't focus. They used to focus. And now their brain was like in a fog. It was hardly communicating with each other inside those brain cells. And I said, well, it's high levels of cortisol over a period of time and weakened immunity. Folks, there's one of the things that'll affect your immune system more than anything else, is a lack of sleep. Your cortisol is high, you don't sleep. You don't sleep, your cortisol's high. It's a vicious cycle. It just goes round and round and round and your immunity goes down. And I mean, you're much more susceptible. These people, chronic fatigue. It was almost like they had the flu all the time. They had very few good days. I did a study, it was a clinical study. It wasn't placebo, it wasn't double blind, it wasn't anything like that. But in order to get my PhD, I had to write a thesis and I turned it into a book afterwards. The chronic fatigue syndrome book, the curse of the modern women.

But what I said, there was a huge link between the adrenal exhaustion and breast cancer in women. Guys, this is in the early nineties. There was a link then between high cortisol exhaustion and breast cancer. And I gave a few examples in my book way back then, and I've written about it since, that cortisol isn't the cause of breast cancer in women, but it's like pouring gasoline on the fire. It pours gasoline on the fire. We used to do case history. So okay, you got breast cancer. Let's go back. And we asked a real exhaustive questionnaire. And one of the things is about family dynamics, divorce, bad relationships, a child being sick, taking care of a parent, an aging parent, in women. I'm just talking about women, not men. And it was almost invariable that you could trace a history of high cortisol and breast cancer.

At the end of the day, there's other hormones involved, and I've talked about that for a long time too. Too much estrogen in a woman, not enough progesterone and too much insulin. And then you add cortisol, you got a perfect storm, guys. And I talked about that 30 years ago. 30 years ago. And then measuring cortisol, it didn't never got better. It got worse. I'm not talking about chronic fatigue, I'm just talking about in my office as the world turns. Now, can I have a drum roll, please? Okay, and what was another symptom or another sign of high cortisol, especially in women? Drum roll. Belly fat. Belly fat. Yes, so is it stress belly or sugar belly or both? Okay. And that's really, really important to understand that because ladies, cortisol will affect you differently than a man. I know there are no sexes today that just raised my cortisol when I think about that. Guys, there's huge differences between men and women. I'm sorry that I have to even spell that out in the day and age we live in. Okay, I can't get over it that we would even talk about this for a minute.

Now, belly fat, and listen, this is really important too, really important that you hear this. So, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, weakened immunity and belly fat. Okay? And the other thing is too, okay, this is a physiological response to high cortisol, okay? It will elevate insulin resistance on its own. You know what I talk to you about metabolic syndrome all the time? 93%. One of the factors, now we don't talk about this too much, but one of the factors, of course we know it's food, but they go together in this sense. Think about it. You don't feel good. You're not getting into the rest and digest, okay? And you're revved up and then you're not sleeping, and then you get tired, and you know what happens? This is almost invariable your blood sugar skyrockets because cortisol is doing that. But what goes up must come down. Now your blood sugar is low. Guess what you're reaching for when it comes to food, a quick fix. Your body is looking for a quick fix.

Your brain, guys, remember, that's headquarters. Your brain is headquarters. And when it senses that your glucose has gone down, your blood sugar has gone down, it says, hey, have something quick. Okay? Have something quick. So your brain is telling your body you better eat. And really what happens is you're picking the wrong fuel. You guys know me, I talk about fuel all the time. All the time, all the time. Fuel, pick the right fuel. But that's not what happens. Usually when your cortisol is elevated and you're fatigued, you're drained, you look for crappy food. It's like you are a wood stove. Give me paper. At least I'll have a fire. It won't last long, but at least I'll have fire. Let's burn paper and maybe throw a few twigs in there. Yeah, well, that's not going to keep you going. Yeah, I know, but I just want a little bit of fire. And that's what your body does. And that is a contributor belly fat. You're eating the wrong food, you're eating carbs. You not only have a stress belly, but you have a sugar belly on top of it.

And the world out there is just saying that's all right, a little moderation not going to hurt you, whatever. But you're picking the wrong fuel, okay? You're picking the wrong fuel. And that really, when you look at what happens, why is the world the way it is today? And that you pick the wrong fuel, and now you need a lot of insulin because insulin will not allow your sugar to stay in your bloodstream, and it tries to pull it out of there. And your cells get so tired of seeing insulin that at the cellular level, your cells go, will you get that out of here? I'm sick of you. And then you develop insulin resistance, which creates inflammation in the body. Cortisol, inflammation, blood sugar, fluctuations, insulin resistance over a period of time, independent in a way of what you're eating. But when you don't feel good, crappy carbs. Give me a quick fix. Like cocaine. Sugar's like cocaine. A quick fix. Good for you. Is cocaine good for you? No. Neither is sugar and especially high fructose corn syrup, the antichrist of sugars.

Okay, well listen, we're going to have to do a second session on this because I want to show you, I want to talk to you about what to do. What to do, because that's important too, isn't it? Okay, guys, did you have fun talking about, did I stress you out? Okay, oftentimes I stress myself out. I'm good guys. Really, okay? Okay. Is it a stress belly or a sugar belly? That's a good question, isn't it? Okay, guys, we love you dearly. Okay? I got to talk to you a little bit about hormones too, a little bit more because what cortisol does, it messes with your horrormones. Okay? We love you dearly. We'll talk to you soon.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

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