Narrator: This is Science Today. Glucocorticoid receptors are adrenal stress hormones that are found in every cell type in the body. Dr. Mary Ann Dallman, a stress and physiology expert at the University of California, San Francisco, has been studying the association between glucocorticoids and chronic stress and how they may be contributing to rising obesity rates.
Dallman: In the body, the elevated glucocorticoids secreted with stress decrease protein synthesis and increase fat synthesis and increase glucose synthesis - all very sensible if you need to get away from stress.
Narrator: That's because in an evolutionary sense, energy stored in fat can be used to flee from danger or to get through times without regular food supplies.
Dallman: It's marvelous evolutionarily, because there hasn't been the enormous availability of corner food stores and McDonald's and endless inexpensive food that there is in our society.
Narrator: But chronic stress encountered in modern society, such as on the job, is not so easy to run away from. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.