Stress, exercise and blood sugar: how the female cycle is affected

Marie-Luise Huber
Stress, exercise and blood sugar: how the female cycle is affected
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How do cortisol and stress affect blood sugar? 

The hormone insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar. Insulin is like a key that unlocks our cells to allow glucose to enter. This lowers blood sugar levels. In addition to insulin, cortisol (the stress hormone) is also responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. In contrast to insulin, cortisol causes blood sugar to rise. We have our ancestors to thank for this mechanism. Thanks to cortisol, we were able to quickly run away from a mammoth in stressful situations without having to eat or drink anything beforehand. Nowadays, however, stressful situations tend to be meetings, deadlines or other tasks and are rarely physically challenging. As a result, blood sugar rises, but it is not used up by physical activity.

This stress can be seen in the blood sugar curve. So if you tend to do little exercise in your stressful everyday life, you should consciously take the time to incorporate everyday movement, go for a walk, do a few squats or wash the dishes by hand. This is a simple way of lowering blood sugar levels. Exercise and relaxation can therefore help to balance these hormonal changes.

Why is blood sugar balance particularly important for women?

This is due to the hormonal hierarchy of our body. Insulin and cortisol are the so-called master hormones. Next in the hormone hierarchy are the thyroid hormones, and only then the reproductive hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. The latter two regulate the menstrual cycle. 
If the blood sugar is out of balance, the body reacts primarily to the signals of the master hormones: insulin and cortisol. All other hormones are readjusted. 
However, if the blood sugar is balanced, the body can respond better to the signals from oestrogen and progesterone and thus focus on cycle health. 

The interaction of cycle and insulin sensitivity

There is a fascinating relationship between our cycle phase and our response to sugar. In the first half of our cycle there is more oestrogen than progesterone and insulin sensitivity increases. While this changes in the second half. Women often notice this change shortly before their period through cravings and mood swings.
If you then reach for chocolate, a vicious circle of blood sugar can develop. This is because the reduced insulin sensitivity means that blood sugar levels can rise higher and fall lower. This rollercoaster makes you tired and promotes cravings, PMS and period cramps.

How to balance hormones and blood sugar

Get to know your body with a combination of hormone testing and continuous blood sugar tracking. With Hello Inside, you can find out what's good for your body and balance your blood sugar to get through the day energized and without PMS or cravings. Blood glucose tracking gives you the opportunity to better understand your body and strengthen your well-being.
The cerascreen test kits are ideal for an even deeper insight into your hormonal balance. With these test kits, you can measure various values, including vitamins, minerals, blood lipids and hormones, without a visit to the doctor and long waiting times. You also receive information on allergies and intolerances as well as insights into your intestinal flora. The combination of these approaches allows you to take a holistic view of your health in order to improve your well-being with simple measures. 


Would you like to learn more about the connection between stress, blood sugar and women's health? Then listen to the latest episode of the Cerascreen podcast. Here Marie-Luise Huber as a guest to talk about the important role of insulin, cortisol and cycle health.


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