Any types of stress -
including high level exercise, physical or emotional trauma, infections
and surgery - translates into hypothalamic and pituitary changes that
result in increased cortisol secretion, which decreases amino acid
transport and protein synthesis, and increases muscle breakdown.
Exercise itself, while
increasing cortisol, has compensatory anticatabolic effects.
Well-conditioned athletes show less cortisol secretion during exercise
compared to their out-of-shape peers. One measure of overtraining is the
testosterone/ cortisol ratio: Elevated cortisol in relation to
testosterone is considered indicative of overtraining. If you train
properly, your testosterone will rise while cortisol remains stable. For
example, the high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate phase of our
anabolic diet may decrease muscle breakdown seconday to cortisol.
supplements such as Vitamin C has been
shown to have some anticatabolic effects that likely involve decreasing
exercise-induced cortisol but may also include its antioxidant action,
Conversely, some of the anticatabolic effects of antioxidants may be
mediated through a decrease in cortisol.
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