The effect of cortisol on gut function – January 10th, 2016


Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioner Training (NEPT)
Clinical Pearl
January 10th, 2016


The effect of cortisol on gut function

I was listening to a session from last year’s Healthy Gut Summit on the psychology of eating and its effect on gut health which quantified the effect of cortisol on gut function. A study was done where a group of people were fed a mineral broth and absorption was measured.  

The first measure was taken with the subjects in a calm, relaxed state and there was 100% absorption of the broth. The second measurement was taken after the subjects were put under extreme stress. The absorption dropped to zero or close to zero. The very interesting thing they found was that 2 hours later when they tested again, the absorption for most subjects was still close to zero.

What this emphasizes is the importance of coaching your clients on the importance of eating and taking supplements in a calm and relaxed state, otherwise all the great nutritional recommendations you make will not do them any good. The evidence is clear that taking a series of long slow deep breaths before taking supplements and eating shifts the nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic and greatly enhances digestion.  

I’m one of the featured speakers on this year’s Gut Summit and NEPT member Steph Jackson contributed a bonus interview.