The Stress, Infertility & Weight Gain Connection

Stress, infertility and weight gain are three things that I see over and over again in my private practice in both men and women.

If you feel like you can’t lose as weight as easily as you did in the past, know the reasons for this goes far beyond calories and exercise.

Your body right now is either in a parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) or sympathetic nervous system (SNS) state.

The PNS controls homeostasis and is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” function and the SNS controls the body’s responses to a perceived threat and is responsible for the “fight or flight” response.

When the body is in the SNS state (“fight or flight”), it begins to break down and becomes catabolic. In other words, the body begins to use muscle and organ tissue, bones, and anything it can to obtain the minerals, amino acids, and sugar to keep the body moving. This is the ultimate recipe for disaster.


Examples of Internal Stressors:

  • GI issues (i.e. leaky gut, candida, bacterial overgrowth, parasites, and H. pylori)
  • Viruses
  • Heavy metals
  • Toxins

Examples of External Stressors:

  • Work
  • Life
  • Relationships


On one hand, we have the “fight or flight” pathway which constitutes cortisol and aldosterone.

On the other hand, we have DHEA, testosterone and estrogen. These are the main sex hormones for both women and men. Yes, testosterone is more prevalent in men but women need good amounts as well to feel good because this hormone promotes sex drive and feelings of confidence, ambition and drive.

However, too much testosterone will lead to symptoms such as acne, excess body hair growth, balding, while too much estrogen will lead to heavy or painful periods, headaches, breast tenderness and hair loss. It’s all about balance!

DHEA is a pre-cursor to testosterone and estrogen (testosterone and estrogen are made from DHEA).

When the body becomes stressed (PNS), it steals hormones away from DHEA in order to have more cortisol to deal with the stress which means that you will end up with less testosterone or estrogen.

Progesterone is a pre-cursor to cortisol. This means that cortisol is made out of the same “ingredients” as progesterone and the body prioritises defense from stress for survival over just about everything, including fertility.


The body will always give preferential treatment to producing cortisol for survival. When it senses any type of threat or danger, it literally thinks that you’re being chased by a wild animal or fighting against another tribe. It cannot differentiate between the types of stressors!

The body will give preferential treatment to making enough cortisol to push you through those survival modes.

Given that progesterone is the only pre-cursor to cortisol, women will begin to deplete their levels of progesterone…

You can test your cortisol levels with an easy at-home saliva test!


Progesterone is a powerful hormone that is sometimes called the “pregnancy hormone” and is vital not only for getting pregnant but for avoiding miscarriages as well.

Progesterone helps the uterus thicken in anticipation of receiving a fertilised egg. If it’s not thick enough, the egg won’t implant.

Low levels of progesterone will then lead to estrogen dominance. Remember, your estrogen levels could be within range but it’s all about the ratio of this and progesterone! This is why your medical doctor will never mention this to you – they look at hormones in isolation…

A common symptom of estrogen dominance is weight gain, so it will cause you to store more fat, especially around your stomach area.


It’s not about prescribing progesterone to help women become pregnant or deal with the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances. It’s about helping the body become less stressed through nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle practices. That is what true health is all about.

My 21 Day Reset and GI Protocol are great ways to start to remove all of those internal stressors in the body. If you combine these with the lifestyle practices in my membership programme Synergised Nutrition, you will without a doubt be on the path to improving your physical, mental, sexual and emotional well-being!

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