The Link Between Cortisol, DHEA and Insulin

As a consequence, excessive carbohydrate intake often leads to excessive cortisol secretion.  There are several causes of adrenal overload or fatigue, but if the gland has to continually produce excess cortisol due to carbohydrate overload, this will contribute.

Because DHEA and cortisol act to balance each other, and because there is a finite amount of DHEA available over a lifetime, reduced DHEA levels are a sign that too much has been used and, an early sign of adrenal exhaustion.

Because insulin also promotes fat storage, if there are large amounts of carbohydrates to be broken down, there will be high levels of insulin in the system and more fat being formed and stored.

As mentioned, when insulin is high, excess levels of cortisol are produced as a back-up mechanism to mobilise more blood sugar, which is done at the expense of the adrenal glands.

One way to counteract this process is to include more protein in the diet.  Protein is in part, broken down by glucagon from the pancreas.  Amongst its other functions, glucagon stimulates the production of glucose from amino acids (protein) and lactic acid in the liver.