Sunday, October 1, 2023

Natural Treatment For High Cortisol Levels

Should I See A Doctor

5 Foods That Naturally Decrease Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

If you think you might have high cortisol, its important to see a doctor for a blood test. High cortisol causes common signs and symptoms that can be caused by many other diseases, so its important to confirm whats causing your symptoms.

If youre experiencing symptoms that may be caused by high cortisol levels, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Cortisol urine and blood tests. These tests measure the levels of cortisol in your blood and urine. The blood test uses a sample of blood drawn from your vein. A test called the 24-hours urinary free cortisol excretion test is used to check your urine. This entails collecting urine over a 24-hour period. Blood and urine samples are then analyzed in a laboratory for cortisol levels.
  • Cortisol saliva test. This test is used to check for Cushing syndrome. A sample of saliva collected at night is analyzed to see if your cortisol levels are high. Cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day and drop significantly at night in people without Cushing syndrome. High cortisol levels at night would indicate you may have Cushing syndrome.
  • Imaging tests. CT scans or an MRI may be used to obtain images of your pituitary gland and adrenal glands to check for tumors or other abnormalities.

Unmanaged high cortisol levels can have serious consequences on your health. Left untreated, high cortisol can your risk of serious health conditions, including:

  • cardiovascular disease

What Are Normal Cortisol Levels

The level of cortisol in your blood, urine and saliva normally peaks in the early morning and declines throughout the day, reaching its lowest level around midnight. This pattern can change if you work a night shift and sleep at different times of the day.

For most tests that measure cortisol levels in your blood, the normal ranges are:

  • 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.: 10 to 20 micrograms per deciliter .
  • Around 4 p.m.: 3 to 10 mcg/dL.

Normal ranges can vary from lab to lab, time to time and person to person. If you need to get a cortisol level test, your healthcare provider will interpret your results and let you know if you need to get further testing.

Heres How To Lower Cortisol Levels

At Parsley Health, we work with our members everyday on lowering cortisol levels and reducing chronic stress. Since everyones lifestyle is different, and the stressors in your life arent the same as the stressors in, say, your best friends life, its important to come up with an action plan that is personalized to you and your lifestyle. Typically, this starts with addressing the root cause of your stress and making changes to your diet, exercise, supplement routine with the support of your Parsley Health clinician and health coach. Once your cortisol levels are restored, the goal is to help you understand the stress response, learn how to manage stress, and develop a consistent mindfulness practice so you have the tools to prevent future spikes.

Here are some of our top tips for lowering cortisol levels naturally:

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What Is Cortisol And Why Should I Care

Popularly known as the âstress hormone,â cortisol is a key player in the body’s stress response system. Cortisol secretion is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a major part of the neuroendocrine system, which is responsible for the release of other hormones in addition to cortisol.

When a person is under physical or psychological stress, the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls thirst, hunger, and fatigue, sends a message to the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone . ACTH then travels to the adrenal cortex, which triggers the release of cortisol.

The body produces cortisol in a diurnal pattern based on our circadian rhythm. Under normal conditions, cortisol is at its lowest level around midnight and is secreted at higher levels in the early morning, peaking within about an hour of waking. Cortisol levels peak each day at roughly the same time, and a disruption in this rhythm can have significant effects on the body, especially when it comes to the immune system, metabolism, and stress response.

How Does It Cause Adrenal Fatigue

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The hypothalamus is a section of the brain, which senses if the blood contains enough cortisol along with the pituitary gland. If cortisol levels are low, your mind picks up on this, and a signal is sent to the adrenal gland to fine-tune the cortisol released.

Cortisol receptors in the body receive and use the hormone in a lot of different ways. After stress levels fall, cortisol should lessen.

Conditions like Cushings Syndrome can result if there is too much cortisol in the body. And, this leads to rapid weight gain, diabetes, muscle weakness, and many more medical issues.

On the other hand, too little cortisol is associated with Addisons disease, symptoms of which include changes in the skin, a constant feeling of tiredness, muscle weakness, loss of weight and appetite besides low blood pressure.

As most bodily cells have cortisol receptors, cortisol imbalances impact every part of your body, including the brain prompting the production of the hormone in the first place. Anxiety, stress, and depression can cause cortisol levels to stay high when they should not.

The result is adrenal fatigue related to the brain. This is when the brain-adrenal HPA or axis is not working so much so that the brain cannot communicate effectively with the adrenal glands for cortisol regulation.

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Adrenal Fatigue And The Bodys Automatic Response

As the body goes through the initial stages of adrenal fatigue, the first call of duty is to produce more cortisol to enable it to cope. However, if the problem persists, the symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue increase in both number and severity. These symptoms include brain fog, heart palpitations, anxiety, panic attacks, low libido, food sensitivities, and even a hypersensitivity to cortisol supplements and medications.

The body responds to the adrenal glands being unable to produce sufficient cortisol by finding other avenues for producing the needed hormones. These include body organs and glands.

Once the body gets to the fourth and last stage of adrenal gland fatigue, however, the bodys systems start shutting down. Symptoms associated with this stage include memory loss, weight gain, worsening skin conditions, digestive problems, depression, heart disease, and sleeping problems. Once this stage is reached, the path to recovery is a long and laborious one.

Too much cortisol, just like too little, has a negative impact on the body.

Take Steps To Lower Unnecessary Stress

Maybe this seems too obvious, but its important to say. Its also sometimes easier said than done.

Chronic and acute stress are different conditions. Acute stress is experiencing temporary tension, anxiety or worry due to things like a work project, an upcoming performance, or even something as normal as a first date. After the event takes place, however, the stress is relieved.

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Chronic stress is more long-term and leads to unhealthy cortisol levels. This can be the result of toxic relationships, untreated mental health issues, disease, physical or sexual abuse, as well as many other factors.

While some people might be able to easily cut chronic stress out of their lives, others find that seeking help through therapy, counseling, or getting needed medical attention for an illness is the first step in learning how to remove chronic stress from their lives.

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An Overview Of Phosphatidylserine Supplementation

Phosphatidylserine supplements have, to a large extent, become the go-to supplement when balancing high cortisol levels in the body. Your body produces this chemical, but its ability to do so is mostly dependent on the food you eat as a source. Although these supplements used to be made from cow brains, they are now more commonly manufactured from cabbage and soy.

Best Supplements To Reduce Cortisol

6 Ways To Lower Cortisol Levels Cortisol Stress Hormone Dr. Berg

Last updated September 13, 2021.Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

These supplements are proven to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that, in excess, is often the cause of physical and mental health problems.

Cortisol is your primary stress hormone.

Its useful during emergencies, but chronic stress can create an outpouring of cortisol all day long and thats a problem.

Excess cortisol leads to a host of physical health problems and puts you at greater risk for anxiety, depression, memory loss, and cognitive decline.

The majority of research on cortisol and supplements that affect it has been carried out on animals.

And a surprising number of clinical trials measure how various substances affect the cortisol level of athletes in extreme circumstances, such as running an ultramarathon.

If you think that that kind of research isnt applicable to the average person, youd be right.

Lets take a look at the best cortisol supplements those shown to reduce cortisol in average humans under ordinary circumstances.

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Phosphatidylserine As A Cortisol Supplement

The supplement phosphatidylserine has a positive effect on your mind and memory and can help reduce cortisol production.

One small study found that phosphatidylserine supplements of 600 mg a day can lower cortisol levels after intensive exercising. This can be an effective way for athletes or people who enjoy regular intensive exercise to avoid the effects of too much cortisol.

Set Healthy Sleep & Lifestyle Habits

“Magnesium-rich foods such as avocados, broccoli, pumpkin seeds and spinach help lower cortisol levels affecting the way in which our brains process stress levels,” said Koszyk. “Since magnesium also helps with sleep, people can feel calmer after eating foods high in magnesium. And, getting enough sleep is associated with lower cortisol levels.”

Boost better sleep habits by including mindfulness-based stress reduction rituals into your daily routine. Integrate daily relaxation techniques such as:

  • Practicing meditation
  • Doing moderate exercise or other daily movement to help enhance serotonin production.
  • Stretching to ease muscle tension
  • Practicing a restorative yoga sequence for sleep
  • Being conscious and aware of what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Taking a holistic approach to your personal care products that are going on and into your body.
  • Acting with mindfulness in self-care rituals that nourish your mind, spirit, body, skin and hair.

Make your next meal more mindful. How you nourish your body can make all the difference in emotional and physical well-being, including that of your scalp and hair!

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Signs Of Low Cortisol

  • 1See if you have symptoms of cortisol deficiency. Many people worry about having too much cortisol, since elevated levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and more serious symptoms. But having too little cortisol can be just as harmful to your health. If your adrenal glands are damaged or if you have adrenal fatigue syndrome, your body might not be producing a sufficient amount of cortisol to properly regulate your blood pressure and immune system. Here are common symptoms of cortisol deficiency:XTrustworthy SourceNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesHealth information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
  • Weight loss and low appetite
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • For women, body hair loss and decreased libido
  • There are several ways of testing cortisol including saliva, blood, and urine tests. Additionally, your doctor may test for other hormones like TSH, free T3, T4, total thyroxine, DHEA, and 17-HP, which can be precursors to cortisol.XResearch source
  • The “normal” range varies from lab to lab, but in general, the average morning level for an adult or child is 5â23 micrograms per deciliter , or 138â635 nanomoles per liter . The average afternoon level for an adult or child is 3â16 mcg/dL or 83â441 nmol/L.XResearch source
  • Natural Remedies To Maintain Cortisol Levels

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    Cortisol is also called hydrocortisone because it has glucoside and corticosterone . This molecule regulates glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and immune system function.

    High cortisol levels can cause weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. And while some research shows that taking supplements may help reduce cortisol levels, there isn’t much evidence to support these claims.

    The good news is that we know what causes high cortisol levels, and the fix is relatively simple. The bad news? There’s no quick fix here. You’ll need to make changes gradually over time if you want to see results. That means making lifestyle tweaks like cutting back on caffeine, staying away from sugar, and exercising regularly.

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    The First Step In Cortisol Reduction

    As a disclaimer, before running straight to the supplement aisle to tame your stress, we always recommend learning first how to reduce cortisol naturally.

    In order to properly address your underlying stressors, using lifestyle factors and eating foods that relax muscles and reduce stress must be tackled first and foremost.

    Natural supplements can be the 5-10% push to get you closer to where you want to be, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to making changes to the lifestyle pieces to lower stress.

    Now, if youre confident youre changing your diet and lifestyle in a way that gets your body into a state of rest-and-digest versus fight-or-flight mode, then these supplements may give you that bit of extra support needed to get you feeling your least stressed self.

    First things first, lets quickly review what this stress hormone cortisol is.

    An Overview Of Magnesium Supplementation

    Our bodies are designed to obtain magnesium from the food we eat. However, the modern diet that many of us eat is poor in magnesium. Foods such as green, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are rich in magnesium, and were once part of our staple diet. These days, however, they are often replaced by processed foods that contain little to no magnesium.

    Another consideration is the soil. Modern farming practices and man-made fertilizers have depleted soils nutrients. This means that any food that is not grown organically has substantially fewer of these nutrients than what our grandparents and great-grandparents used to get.

    A comparison of studies in food nutrient quality between 1950 and 1999 suggested that crops cultivated to grow more rapidly and have a higher yield have a drastically decreased nutrient value. The same results were found in studies conducted in other countries. This means that even foods once high in magnesium are drawing less of the nutrient from the soil.

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    Enjoy Warm Epsom Salt Baths

    Frequent release of adrenaline and cortisol in an unresolved stress response can be due to a low magnesium level in the body.

    Magnesium plays an important role in the release and uptake of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical in the brain. Its low level can lead to an increase in stress hormones as well as cause anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression.

    If a low magnesium level is the reason behind your high cortisol level, a warm Epsom salt bath is a natural way to increase your magnesium level. This salt is a good source of magnesium.

  • Add 1 cup of Epsom salt to warm bathwater.
  • Soak in it for 20 minutes to feel more relaxed and sleep better.
  • Take this soothing bath 2 or 3 times a week to enjoy a stress-free life.
  • Along with Epsom salt baths, include magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy vegetables, yogurt, avocado, banana, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in your diet.

    Natural Ways To Lower Cortisol Levels

    How To Reduce Cortisol Levels Naturally For Weight Loss And Stress Relief

    There are several things that you can do to lower your stress levels, reduce the effects of stress on the body, and improve your overall health and well-being. Here are some common ways to help rebalance your cortisol and promote good health.

    • Sleep When you sleep, how much sleep you get, and the quality of your sleep all impact your cortisol levels. We recommend keeping a consistent sleep schedule, creating an environment for uninterrupted sleep , turning off electronics an hour before bedtime, and avoiding caffeine in the evening can help you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, which will help decrease your cortisol.

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    What Causes Low Levels Of Cortisol

    Having lower-than-normal cortisol levels is considered adrenal insufficiency. There are two types of adrenal insufficiency: primary and secondary. The causes of adrenal insufficiency include:

    • Primary adrenal insufficiency: Primary adrenal insufficiency is most commonly caused by an autoimmune reaction in which your immune system attacks healthy cells in your adrenal glands for no known reason. This is called Addisons disease. Your adrenal glands can also become damaged from an infection or blood loss to the tissues . All of these situations limit cortisol production.
    • Secondary adrenal insufficiency: If you have an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary tumor, it can limit ACTH production. ACTH signals your adrenal glands to make cortisol, so limited ACTH results in limited cortisol production.

    You can also have lower-than-normal cortisol levels after stopping treatment with corticosteroid medications, especially if you stop taking them very quickly after a long period of use.

    What are the symptoms of low cortisol levels?

    Symptoms of lower-than-normal cortisol levels, or adrenal insufficiency, include:

    How Long Should It Take To See Improvements

    It can take some time to naturally heal your adrenal glands and start to feel more energetic, clear-headed, and in control of your hormones, weight and appetite. Everyone is different and reacts to lifestyle changes in unique ways. Some people will need to take medications to ultimately heal their problems, while others can feel drastically better by simply paying attention to their diets, stress levels and lifestyles. Either way, following the recommendations for natural remedies listed above is definitely still the way to speed up healing time and prevent the problem from worsening.

    While there isnt necessarily one tried-and-true way to recover from adrenal problems, heres what you can expect in terms of timing:

    • 69 months for minor adrenal issues
    • 1218 months for moderate adrenal insufficiency
    • Up to 24 months for severe adrenal insufficiency

    If you visit a doctor about adrenal insufficiency , she or he might recommend you take medications to help speed up the healing process and reverse cortisol deficiency symptoms. Taking glucocorticoid medications like prednisone or hydrocortisone are the most common treatments, and the dosage of these depends on your level of stress, any present infections, medical history and injuries. The primary reason for taking hormonal replacement medications is to bring your cortisol and other hormone levels up to normal as quickly as possible.

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