By Lisa Marie Basile, Dec 4, 2023

According to Kecia Gaither, MD, OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine Director of Perinatal Services/Maternal Fetal Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx, NY, cortisol impacts blood pressure, insulin, and sleep cycle regulation; inflammation reduction; energy production; and the body’s fight or flight reactions. When someone responds to either internal or external stressors, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is called upon. Eventually, the hypothalamus is looped in to deal with the ‘threat’ and stimulates the HPA axis so that the adrenal cortex releases cortisol. “In periods of stress, cortisol is produced, allowing for the mobilization of energy from carbohydrates and fat to provide for instant energy,” Dr. Gaither says. 

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