Cissus Quadrangularis extract has been shown to be a natural cortisol inhibitor. Athletes and bodybuilder are constantly looking for ways to combat their main nemesis cortisol. First let us take a look at these two things. What is cissus? What is cortisol?
What is Cissus?
Cissus is a plant from the grape family that is grown in India and Southeast Asia. It has been used throughout history for many, many different treatments. Cissus is a completely natural plant with no known side effects. In western society cissus is only recently becoming more popular, especially for weightlifters and athletes. Cissus is mainly marketed for is bone, ligament, and tendon healing powers, but it is also used by bodybuilders due to it’s cortisol blocking powers.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:
Proper glucose metabolism
Regulation of blood pressure
Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
Cortisol has been known as the “stress hormone” because it is secreted as highest levels during times of high stress. The cortisol balances the stress levels by giving us a quick burst of energy and lowering our sensitivity to pain. Basically, we naturally produce cortisol for “flight or fight” situations. Our body is constantly producing cortisol throughout the day. Our levels are higher in the morning and taper off at night.
While cortisol may seem helpful for our survival it is not what we want as athletes and bodybuilders. Cortisol has an effect on our muscles and bones as well. It has a catabolic effect which actually breaks down muscle and bone in order to “protect” our bodies. Our body must rejuvenate from these levels of cortisol at our muscle and bones expense.
For those trying to maintain weight, cortisol is not your friend as well. Cortisol secretions as regulate glucose metabolism in the liver. This increase in glucose levels means more sugars to be stored throughout our bodies. This leads to, yup, you guessed it, fat.
How does stress and cortisol lead to weight gain (fat)?
According to the leading experts in the field of weight loss, stress is the #1 culprit of weight gain. You can eat all the healthy food and exercise all you want, but if you are living a stressful lifestyle it will be very difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Fat protects our cells from stress. It is the barrier our bodies put up to defend our cells against oxidants and toxins.
Like stated above, when our bodies are put under stress, either physical or emotional, we produce cortisol in order to counter act the stress. The cortisol tells our body to shut down temporarily while it manages to attempt to protect itself. All the enzymes and chemicals in our bodies respond to one another. Cortisol tells our muscles to stop working and sends in reserves to protect them from more stress or harm. What are these reserves? Yup, you guessed it, Fat!
Obviously the more fatty foods you consume, the more reserves your body will have. But regardless of your diet, your body will find fat to use. This can actually have an effect on some peoples body type to actually make them too thin and make their muscles and bones softer and frail looking. A poor diet is a stressful component on the body and will lead to obesity.
Think of all the stressful situations you have throughout your day…a stressful drive to work, loud noises at the workplace, eating on the go, and probably many more we don’t even think about, but just do.
So where does Cissus come in to play?
Cissus Quadrangularis is a natural cortisol inhibitor. Studies have shown when cissus extract is taken at the correct dosage the levels of cortisol secreted not only decrease, but also do not show the negative effects on muscle and bone. This allows our muscles to get the maximum benefits of a “stressful” exercise such as weightlifting. We know we push our muscles and bones to the max when we work out, so we may as well reap the benefits of it. By taking cissus extract you can be gaining muscle while reducing fat build-up at the same time!
Increase anabolic hormones (testosterone and growth hormone) + reduce excessive levels of catabolic hormones (cortisol) =
Studies show that Cissus is capable of interacting with the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) by binding to it and acting as a GR antagonist, ensuring cortisol doesn’t bind to the receptor and therefore reducing cortisol’s negative effects and helping your muscle mass development.