The best way to understand supplemental cortisol blockers is to get more familiar with cortisol. Dubbed the “stress hormone,” cortisol is released from the adrenal glands when you feel anxious or face any type of physical or mental stress. It’s also released during activities you might not think of as stressful, such as when you wake up in the morning and during exercise.
Cortisol boosts energy by increasing the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Its primary job is to give your body enough fuel to face the situation and relieve the stress – whether that means you stay to fight or decide to hightail it out of there. Cortisol’s influence doesn’t stop with glucose synthesis. Nearly every cell in the body responds to this hormone, and it has a strong anti-inflammatory impact, notes Colorado State University.
Your body has a system that automatically turns off cortisol secretion when stress goes down. However, things go wrong when never-ending stress keeps the hormone elevated. Chronically high cortisol can lead to weight gain, interfere with sleep and cause digestive problems. It also may make you more anxious, increase the risk of heart disease and suppress the immune system.
ou may see an ingredient called Relora in different brands of cortisol blockers. Relora is a patented blend of extracts from two plants known to reduce anxiety – Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense. The manufacturer sponsored several studies to determine its effectiveness. A pilot study published in 2006 used a small group of premenopausal women who ate when stressed out. After six weeks, the group taking a placebo had gained 3 pounds, while women taking Relora didn’t gain any weight. The authors noted a trend toward lower cortisol in the Relora group, but not large enough to be significant.
An international team of researchers conducted a study to see whether one of Relora’s ingredients – Magnolia officinalis – might lead to weight loss. Several groups of laboratory mice were put on a high-fat diet. Then one group received a placebo, the second group got an extract of Magnolia officinalis that contained multiple ingredients, and a third group consumed an extract made from one of the plant’s active ingredients known as honokiol. Both of the extracts inhibited weight gain slightly compared to the placebo group, but the results weren’t huge, according to the results, which were published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in May 2014.
These studies fall short of proving that Relora or any of its active ingredients support weight loss. More research is needed in people to verify its effectiveness and safety.