How stress boosts fat gain and cellulite

  • A recent review of the scientific literature has revealed that stress increases fat accumulation and obesity, due to the activation of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPA). Cortisol, the stress hormone, is secreted by the adrenals after activation of the HPA due to stress and it possesses a strong adipogenic (fat boosting) action.
  • The researchers noticed that the effect of cortisol on fat cells was very pronounced mainly due to the activation of the 11β-HSD1 enzyme: "When examined in adipocytes, there is a clear upregulation of cortisol output (due to greater expression of 11β-HSD1)" .
  • This particular enzyme activates cortisol and therefore boosts it's effect on fat tissue, leading to fat accumulation.
  • Fortunately, the action of 11β-HSD1 can be inhibited, at least in superficial fat tissue (such as cellulite), by 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, a natural chemical found in liquorice and contained in a few high-end anti-cellulite creams.
  • So, glycyrrhetinic acid, as an anti-cellulite cream ingredient, can help fight cellulite by blocking the enzyme 11β-HSD1 which activates cortisol and thereby fat accumulation in fat cells.
  • Source: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation and cortisol activity in obesity: A systematic review, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26356039