Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in your adrenal glands. The majority of cells in your body contain cortisol receptors. They use cortisol for numerous important functions such as blood sugar regulation, memory formulation, metabolism control, and inflammation reduction.
But, like ice cream and French fries, too much cortisol can wreak havoc on your body and cause many undesirable symptoms including:
- Weight gain in your midsection and upper back
- Muscle weakness
- Problems concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Slowed healing
According to Healthline, several things can cause your body to accumulate too much cortisol. Stressful situations signal your adrenal glands to release this hormone. So, constant stress is often the culprit of high cortisol levels.
Besides stress, pituitary gland issues, adrenal gland tumors, and estrogen can cause your body to make an overabundance of cortisol. Taking medications, including oral contraceptives, prednisone, and cortisone can also contribute to having too much of this hormone.
If you suspect your cortisol levels are out of control, seeing a doctor is crucial. If left unchecked, this condition can raise your risk for developing serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even psychiatric disorders.
Thankfully, viable treatment options exist. The following all-natural supplements are thought to be able to decrease cortisol levels.
Rhodiola is known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens help you maintain normal physical and mental function during periods of prolonged stress. According to Flex magazine, after a month of taking rhodiola supplements, the participants in a study experienced significantly diminished cortisol levels. Concentration and memory indicators also improved as reported by Livestrong.com.
B vitamins are famous for their capacity to support metabolism and provide energy to your body’s cells. They also reinforce your adrenal glands. When you feel stressed constantly, your body’s levels of certain B vitamins, particularly B6 and B5, become depleted. As this occurs, you might experience stress related symptoms like insomnia, headaches, and tiredness.
Vitamin C is known for its immune boosting properties. But, this vitamin is a crucial influencer of your cortisol levels. During chronic stress situations, your adrenal stores of vitamin C are reduced and your blood levels drop. An article in Psychology Today revealed that taking a vitamin C supplement helped lessen the signs of stress, like high cortisol levels and high blood pressure, by blocking its release. Besides supplementation, you can get adequate amounts of vitamin C from high quality fruits such as grapefruits, kiwi, and oranges.
L-theanine is an amino acid. It’s commonly found in green and black tea leaves. According to Brain Flow, this substance diminishes cortisol levels and decreases anxiety by “blocking excitatory stimuli at glutamate receptors” in your brain. This process thwarts over stimulation in your brain and promotes a calming and relaxing mood.
This substance also revs up the production of GABA, a relaxing neurotransmitter. Unlike many prescription drugs, L-theanine reportedly provides a stress reducing, calming state without making you feel drowsy.
Phosphatidylserine is a fat-soluble nutrient you have abundantly in your brain and other lipid-plentiful tissues in your body. In the Natural Medicine Journal, Dr. Tori Hudson, a naturopathic doctor, says it’s being researched for its skill in blocking the release of cortisol from your adrenal glands by subduing the stimulatory signal sent from your brain.
A Life Extension Magazine piece reveals that phosphatidylserine was found to diminish high cortisol levels by a whopping 20 percent after a stressful occurrence. The publication recommends the substance shouldn’t be taken immediately before bedtime or on an empty stomach due to its propensity to cause sleeplessness and nausea. As with any other supplement, you should discuss the use of phosphatidylserine with your physician before taking it.
Experiencing weight gain, irritability, acne, and the other bothersome symptoms of high cortisol levels can negatively impact your life. If you’re suffering from this common condition, the aforementioned all-natural supplements might help you restore your health.
In addition to supplementation, you can decrease your cortisol levels through other natural means. For example, getting a good night’s sleep can do wonders. The timing, quality, and length of your slumber all influence cortisol levels. According to Healthline, insomnia adversely affects your cortisol levels for up to 24 hours.
Maintaining healthy relationships, being spiritual, and caring for a pet are also believed to help. Eating a healthy diet is one of the best, easiest ways to control your cortisol levels. While that piece of pecan pie, cake donut, or serving of chocolate cake might comfort you in the short term, sugar is one of the most common triggers of cortisol release. Replace your regular sugar fix with foods thought to benefit cortisol levels such as bananas, dark chocolate, and yogurt.