Saturday, September 30, 2023

How To Increase Your Cortisol Levels

Reset Your Circadian Rhythms

Cortisol Diet | Increase Cortisol Levels Naturally!

We all know good sleep is paramount to good health. One reason sleep matters so much is that it involves the fluctuation of and connection between melatonin and cortisol, two hormones directly related to stress and overall bodily health. Practice healthy sleep habits by sleeping and waking at the same time each day, striving for at least 7 hours of uninterrupted rest, and limiting electronics use in the hour before bedtime. Also try to get plenty of sunshine in the morning and at midday to further stabilize your bodys circadian rhythms.

How To Lower Cortisol Levels Its More Than Reducing Stress

Contrary to popular misconception, learning how to lower cortisol levels isnât solely about naturopathic remedies. For example, supplements like ashwagandha, prebiotics, probiotics, and magnesium are revered for their cortisol-regulating properties. While these substances may or may not work, your goal shouldnât be to keep your cortisol load low all the time.

The thing is, your body requires high cortisol concentrations at the right times and low cortisol levels at other times . This keeps yourself in circadian alignment such that you feel and function at your best.

Ahead, we explain how a healthy cortisol rhythm works so you have a better idea of when and how to lower your cortisol levels when you need to. Itâs all about making this hormone work for you instead of against you.

What Causes High Levels Of Cortisol

Experiencing abnormally high levels of cortisol for an extended period of time is usually considered Cushings syndrome, which is a rare condition. Causes of higher-than-normal cortisol levels and Cushings syndrome include:

What are the symptoms of high cortisol levels?

The symptoms of Cushings syndrome depend on how elevated your cortisol levels are. Common signs and symptoms of higher-than-normal cortisol levels include:

  • Weight gain, especially in your face and abdomen.
  • Fatty deposits between your shoulder blades.
  • Wide, purple stretch marks on your abdomen .
  • Muscle weakness in your upper arms and thighs.
  • High blood sugar, which often turns into Type 2 diabetes.
  • Weak bones and fractures.

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Limit Alcohol And Caffeine

Excess consumption of alcohol and caffeine have been shown to increase stress hormones, so their consumption should be limited.

Coffee is definitely good for brain health. There is a lot of research showing it is very healthy and can be protective against dementia.

However, it can also disrupt sleep and make people anxious. I used to not be able to handle any coffee at all. But now that I’m healthy, I can handle it just fine. I drink one cup of Kicking Horse coffee most mornings.

But if youre struggling with high cortisol and chronic stress, I wouldnt recommend high doses of caffeine.

Its been shown to directly stimulate the adrenal cortex, release cortisol into the bloodstream and increase stress hormone levels .

One study found that caffeine increased cortisol by 30% in just one hour, and regular consumption can double your cortisol levels .

So limit it as much as possible.

An alternative solution is to consume the whole coffee fruit, instead of drinking coffee.

The coffee fruit doesnt contain caffeine, but it does contains several healthy compounds not found in coffee beans themselves.

So, next time youre stressed, try watching a funny TV show or YouTube video.

Sleep In A Completely Dark Room

Pin on Ways to reduce stress

You want lower cortisol levels and higher melatonin levels at night so you can sleep. Even small amounts of light in your bedroom can affect your cortisol and melatonin production.

Get rid of the chargers, alarm clocks, or whatever else is flashing small lights into your room. Black-out curtains can be a good investment if you have a lot of artificial light coming in through your windows. Any light while you sleep will alter your natural cortisol curve. Turn the lights off and enjoy the sweet darkness of night time.

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How Cortisol Functions In The Body

While many people are concerned with lowering the amount of cortisol in their body, the truth is that a healthy balance of this hormone is necessary for optimal healthand can actually be lifesaving in the right circumstances. Thats because cortisols main job is to help fuel your bodys fight or flight response. When you encounter a dangerous situation, your adrenal glands release cortisol into the bloodstream. Your blood pressure rises, enabling your fight or flight response and prepping your body for immediate action. Your blood sugar also increases to provide immediately available fuel for your muscles. After the threat passes, your cortisol levels go back to normal and homeostasis returns.

The trouble comes when constant stress causes our cortisol levels to remain elevated above a natural baseline. This can cause a variety of symptoms that can be quite uncomfortable and compromise your quality of life.

Ptsd And Low Cortisol

There is most definitely a relationship between PTSD and low cortisol levels. In fact, a low cortisol response can be driven by chronic anxiety, or what we might otherwise call post-traumatic stress disorder . The solution here is to seek help in order to come to terms with your anxiety levels, and what is plaguing you deep down.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a proven way to help with chronic anxiety and PTSD. It can also help with cortisol levels. Mindfulness meditation is also extremely effective, easy to do, and can make a big difference in your life.

Hopefully, after seeking help, it will be able to balance out your PTSD and low cortisol levels. I truly hope this helps.

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Big Trigger: Sleep Apnea Fatigue

One of the biggest triggers happens to be sleep apnea fatigue. Many assume that apnea is strictly for older men with big bellies, but it can apply to women as well.

Key Insight: There are so many women, of any and all sizes, who have to deal with sleep apnea .

I would typically suspect apnea for someone who gets enough hours of sleep, but their sleep is not refreshing in the slightest. If they can fall asleep easily in a dark room, at any point during the day, this can be a telltale sign of sleep apnea fatigue.

S To Get Your Cortisol Levels Under Control & Turn Down The Stress

Low cortisol levels and how to improve cortisol function with Dr. Alan Christianson

Do you find yourself overly stressed, tired and even notice weight gain despite not changing your diet or workout frequency? Your cortisol levels may be out of whack. More specifically, they may be too high.

Cortisol is often called the primary stress hormone because its one of the main hormones we release when were under any sort of pressure and our evolutionary-based fight or flight response kicks into gear. Although most think of cortisol as a bad thing such as contributing to acne, weight gain or high blood pressure theres actually a lot more to cortisol levels than just our stress response and its unwanted symptoms. We need it to live.

While producing cortisol is a necessity for life and helps keep us motivated, awake and responsive to our environment, maintaining abnormally high circulating cortisol levels can become dangerous and contribute to long-term problems. Long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are two of the biggest contributors to high cortisol. Chronic, high cortisol production is tied to symptoms and ailments including weight gain, anxiety, sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances and fertility problems, in addition to many other problems.

The good news is there are many natural ways to get your cortisol levels in check. For instance, adaptogen herbs are known to lower cortisol, and thats just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for more ways to lower high cortisol levels naturally.

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Cortisol And Sleep Disorders

One big question is this: does too-high cortisol cause sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, or is high cortisol a result of those sleep disorders? The answer is complex, and one that scientists are still reaching for we dont yet fully understand the directionality of the relationship between sleep disorders, cortisol, and the HPA axis. The short answer is, its likely some of both. Thats the two-way relationship in action.

Research shows that heightened HPA-axis activity is linked to more restless, fragmented sleep, less slow wave sleep, and lower overall sleep amounts. This strongly suggests a role for cortisol as a sleep disruptor. Research including this 2014 study, show that sleep deprivation is linked to higher cortisol levels and to a more extreme cortisol response in the presence of stressthats the HPA axis going into action urging the body into a state of fight-or-flight. This strongly suggests a role for sleep problems as aggravators of cortisol. And other research shows links between compromised sleep quality and heightened HPA axis activity.

What about specific sleep disorders, such as insomnia? High cortisol levels frequently appear with insomnia. But its not clear whether elevated cortisol is a cause or consequence of insomnia. And its entirely possible that depending on an individuals circumstances, cortisol could be both a cause and a consequence.

Pinpoint Your Comfort Food Triggers

Try writing down what you eat in an effort to get a better idea of when you stress eat. “Keeping a food journal for a week can help you pinpoint the times where you indulge in comfort foods or when you make sensible, healthier choices,” says Balk. “If dinner before a big test or meeting tends to be fried ‘comfort food,’ it’s worthwhile to stop the cycle and replace that emotion with a healthier choice or receive consolation another way.”

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Signs That Your Cortisol Levels Are Too High

Each year, about 5,000 people are diagnosed with Cushings Syndrome, a serious condition stemming from chronically elevated cortisol levels. And many more also suffer the lesser effects of high cortisol, often undiagnosed.

In this article, we look at cortisol and what happens when cortisol levels remain too high over time. The effects can be more than the nervous discomfort normally associated with stress and the condition is treatable so its worth looking for the signs and knowing when to contact a doctor.

Balance Your Blood Sugar

7 Tips to Reduce Cortisol Levels Naturally

Even if you are trying to lose a few pounds you must eat about every two hours to keep your Cortisol levels healthy. You dont have to eat pizza every two hours. You can eat something very healthy and low in fat. Actually it also a great way to keep your metabolism going if you are trying to loose a few pounds.

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Include Prebiotics And Fibre In Your Diet

Cortisol is made from cholesterol, the same precursor molecule that is used to make other important hormones in your body. All of your hormones work together to create a healthy balance theres no one hormone that acts independently of the others.

One way that you can help to regulate the overall hormone balance in your body is by ensuring that you consume enough dietary fibre in the form of prebiotics. Aim for around 28 grams of fibre every day from foods like artichokes, asparagus, or leeks.

Symptoms And Side Effects Of Cortisol Imbalance

If you love your current workout routine, the thought of dialing it back may sound counterintuitive, but “the cost of working out at 100 percent when your mental and emotional stress levels are at 100 percent is compromised muscle mass, strength plateaus, weight gain, and generalized exhaustion,” says Molloy of the side effects of cortisol imbalance.

There are other non-exercise related symptoms, tooâmost of which are similar to the symptoms of overtraining syndrome. Some other symptoms of a cortisol imbalance are:

Because the whole endocrine system is interconnected, this is just the tip of the iceberg, says Len Lopez D.C., a chiropractor and fitness expert. For example, “your body needs progesterone to make cortisol. When there’s an overproduction of cortisol, it can cause an imbalance in your progesterone and estrogen levels, which can lead to estrogen dominance,” he says.

It’s also worth mentioning that mental health issues like anxiety and depression have a direct relationship with cortisol. Some studies have linked heightened cortisol levels with mental health issues, while others have found that chronically elevated cortisol levels increase your risk for mental illness in the future.

Because, again, cortisol touches every single system in the body, chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to other scary health issues such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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What Happens If I Have Too Little Cortisol

Too little cortisol may be due to a problem in the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland . The onset of symptoms is often very gradual. Symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness , weight loss, muscle weakness, mood changes and the darkening of regions of the skin. Without treatment, this is a potentially life-threatening condition.

Urgent assessment by a specialist hormone doctor called an endocrinologist is required when a diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease is suspected.

What To Eat When Youre Stressed

How to Naturally Reduce Cortisol Levels & Stress

Stress often affects the way people eat.

What and how you eat during these times matter. Mindful choices can help improve your mood, wellness, and resilience.

The Food-Stress Connection

The production of stress hormones like cortisol by the adrenal glands increases when tensions are high, and that change has an effect on the way your body craves and processes food. Convenient comfort foods may be more tempting. You may find yourself overeating or even undereating.

On top of putting you at risk for weight gain and health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease, its important to understand that many of the foods you may reach for during tense times actually promote stress. Other picks, however, are smart to seek out when the pressures on because they combat the effects of stress hormones, energize your body and mind, and promote a positive mood.

When youre feeling particularly wound up or run down, do what you can to manage your stress in a healthy way, and consult this guide to making food choices that will help your efforts.

Try to Avoid:

Focus on:

Protein. Your body needs tryptophan, an amino acid found in certain protein-rich foods, to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes healthy sleep and a good mood. Be sure to consume carbohydrates as well. Adequate levels of glucose from carbohydrates allow your body to absorb tryptophan into the brain.

How to Work It In: Try to combine lean protein with whole-food carbohydrates at every meal and snack.

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High Cortisol Levels Throughout The Day

Cortisol spikes in response to stressors like work deadlines, environmental pollution, and inadequate sleep. Ongoing high levels of cortisol can be caused by too much coffee, a lack of carbs throughout the day, or an intensive focus on schedules. If cortisol levels stay elevated, youre wired but your adrenals are getting tired. It feels like:

  • Youre constantly behind schedule and racing to catch up.
  • Youre exhausted and hyper at the same time.
  • People comment on how fast you talk.
  • Youre easily irritated and feel little enthusiasm for anything.

What Is It Used For

A cortisol test is used to help diagnose medical conditions that cause too much or too little cortisol. These conditions include disorders that affect the adrenal glands:

  • Cushing’s syndrome is a disorder that happens when your body has too much cortisol over a long period of time.
  • Addison disease is a condition in which your adrenal glands are damaged and can’t make enough cortisol.
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is a condition in which your adrenal glands don’t make enough cortisol because your pituitary gland isn’t working properly.

Cortisol testing is also used to monitor treatment for these conditions.

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How Exercise Affects Your Cortisol Levels

Remember how Malloy said that a stress responses can be triggered by emotional, mental, or physical stimuli? Well, if you’ve ever been through a break-up, gotten in a fight with your Mom, or had an unreasonable school or work deadline, you probably understand emotional and mental stress. But do you know what counts physical stress? It can be anything from a muscle tear after a soccer game or an injury after a car accident to general fatigue, dehydration/malnutrition, or exercise, according to Dr. Christofides. Yep, exercise causes physical stress.

Don’t read it wrong: Exercise isn’t bad! What is bad is the high-stress culture. And if you’re under a lot of mental/emotional stress, exercising can sometimes help because it forces your cortisol levels to spike, which can then lead cortisol levels to stabilize, explains Dr. Christofides. What comes up, must come down, right? Well, it doesn’t always work like that.

Sometimes, exercise exacerbates pre-existing cortisol imbalances, she says. “Because exercise yields the body’s stress response, when cortisol levels aren’t in homeostasis, it can cause cortisol levels to just remain high,” she says. This is especially likely if you exercise at the end of the day, for a long period of time, or at uber-high intensities.

Moderate Exercise To Lower Cortisol

How do you lower cortisol levels? Let the below mentioned, anciently ...

Enjoying regular exercise can help to reduce your cortisol levels because it helps to cope with stress better.

The Journal of Endocrinological Investigation reported that moderate, low-intensity exercise has a positive effect on cortisol levels. However, intensive exercise increases cortisol secretion in the body.

Interestingly, sweating after exercise can cause high concentrations of cortisol in the body and these concentrations are detected in hair. Doctors can test hair samples for cortisol to help diagnose conditions related to chronic stress.

Walking is a great low impact exercise that can act as a cortisol reducer and manage your stress levels. One of the benefits of walking every day is that it helps to get rid of excess body fat.

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