Is stress really associated with body fat gain?

Tempo de Leitura: 3 minutos

According to the World Health Organization, about 90% of the world’s population suffers stress. Be it work, goals, studies, relationships, collections, one lives in a world increasingly surrounded by stressful factors. However, it is known that the consequences of a chronic state of stress they are not only psychological, but also physical, reflecting on physiological functions. In this context, there may be increased cortisol, which is important for various activities in the body. So is stress even associated with body fat gain?

Cortisol vs. Intestine

Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands and follows a circadian rhythm, having greater release in the morning and lowering levels throughout the day. He is responsible for several activities in the body, including protein degradation, glucose formation, lipolysis, stress resistance, anti-inflammatory effects and depression of immune responses, aiding in good sleep rhythm and maintaining the intestinal barrier. Nevertheless at increased chronic levels, one of the consequences is intestinal permeability.

In the chronic state of stress, there is increased cortisol, which alters the intestinal barrier, making it more permeable to the passage of lipopolysaccharides that leave the intestine and go into the bloodstream. With this there is increased inflammation, contributing to the generation of more cortisol. At this moment, adipose tissue is characterized as an organ of endocrine function, further secreting inflammatory cytokines that further aggravate the condition, and facilitating the differentiation of the preadipocyte into adipocyte, since as cortisol increases, there is also an avid desire to increase caloric intake, therefore, the whole organism is prepared for more adipose tissue formation. Soon uncontrolled stress makes the body an adipose tissue factory,  while contributing to more hunger in the individual.

That is, this whole scenario contributes to a state of energy surplus with increased inflammation that also hinders the control of food intake and homeotase of the body. Thus, it becomes difficult to manage the weight, since the person ends up having difficulty controlling the intake of hypercaloric foods rich in sugars and fats, besides being in a large inflammatory state, especially intestinal with increased permeability.

Energy extraction x intestine

After all, is stress really associated with body fat gain? Currently, several studies have already shown the importance of intestinal health care for various purposes, including the loss of body fat. This is because it is seen that individuals with a healthy intestine and a good composition of diverse intestinal microbiota, have better health parameters in general. It has been observed even that the same food may have different energy extraction among individuals according to their intestinal health. That is an unhealthy intestine can lead the individual to extract more energy from the same food, which would be another point that can facilitate what one sees today: intestinal health influencing overweight.

Clinical practice

Perform stress management with mindfulness practices and taking care of the intestine are primary actions aimed at improving chronic stress. The nutritionist has a very important role in this scenario bringing through the nutrients anti-inflammatory actions that help in combating this situation. In addition, a Diet rich in fiber, whole grains, assorted fruits and vegetables is fundamental thinking of improving the intestinal health of these individuals and contributing to a reduction in intestinal permeability.


Article Stress and fat: MALESZA, Ida Judyta; MALESZA, Michał; WALKOWIAK, Jarosław; MUSSIN, Nadiar; WALKOWIAK, Dariusz; ARINGAZINA, Raisa; BARTKOWIAK-WIECZOREK, Joanna; MąDRY, Edyta. High-Fat, Western-Style Diet, Systemic Inflammation, and Gut Microbiota: a narrative review. Cells, [S .L.], v. 10, n. 11, p. 3164, 14 Nov. 2021. MDPI AG.

Attend the science play class with  Bruno César on
Supplements for Stress Control

Reading suggestion
: Does stress increase susceptibility to obesity?

Nos siga nas redes sociais

Mais lidas

Próximos eventos

Artigos relacionados