Cortisol is a hormone produced naturally by our bodies. In humans, cortisol levels rise when we get stressed out or anxious. It helps us deal with stress and keep us calm. If you’ve ever felt irritable after waking up late, then you might have high cortisol levels.
Cortisol is also called hydrocortisone because it has glucoside (glucose) and corticosterone (cortisol). 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.
What’s causing your high cortisol levels?
Here are three of the most common reasons why people experience high cortisol levels:
Stress is unavoidable in life. But too much pressure will lead to higher cortisol levels and, eventually, weight gain. What does “too much” mean? This happens when most people feel chronically overwhelmed or stressed about something. They may be worried about money, work, relationships, health issues, parenting challenges, etc.
Some medications, such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs, can affect cortisol levels. These include serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclics, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, testosterone, etc.
3. Thyroid problems
Low thyroid gland activity can increase cortisol production. Hashimoto’s disease—a condition where the body produces antibodies against its thyroid gland—can also contribute to elevated cortisol levels.
Relation of Cortisol to Cushing Syndrome
Cushing syndrome occurs when cortisol levels become abnormally high in the body due to an excess of hormones. This usually happens after prolonged exposure to exogenous steroids (hormone replacement therapy).
A person who develops Cushing syndrome would exhibit many symptoms, including weight gain, muscle weakness, headaches, low libido, depression, acne, and easy bruising.
If you think you might have Cushing syndrome, visit your doctor immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious health complications.
Importance of Cortisol Testing
Before you start treating your high cortisol levels, it’s essential to test them first to confirm whether your symptoms are related to your hormones or not.
At home Cortisol test is used to measure adrenal performance or stress. Online results in 2-3 days.
Method of Collection: A simple finger prick can be enough to measure cortisol levels.
Precautions when taking cortisol tests
You shouldn’t skip doses or stop taking medications without consulting your physician. Also, don’t drink alcohol or smoke while being tested for cortisol. These substances can affect the accuracy of the test.
It is best to complete the test early in the morning.
Side effects of lowering cortisol levels
The most common side effect of lowering cortisol levels is fatigue. You might also experience headaches, muscle cramps, irritability, and weight gain. If this happens, you should speak with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to determine if low cortisol levels are causing your symptoms or not.
Naturally Lowering Cortisol Levels
Many factors influence cortisol levels, including genetics, age, diet, sleep habits, exercise, hormones, and medication use. So, the best way to lower cortisol levels is to take an all-encompassing approach to improve overall wellness.
If you’re looking to cut down on stress, try meditation. Or, if you struggle with anxiety, talk therapy could help. Or perhaps you need to eat better. Whatever the case, find ways to improve your overall well-being so that your body doesn’t produce more cortisol than it needs.
Try one of these natural remedies to lower cortisol levels and boost your energy:
Ginger contains gingerol, which can help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Plus, it helps fight inflammation throughout the body.
This spice contains curcuminoids, which have been shown to lower cortisol levels and fight inflammation.
3. Cayenne pepper
Capsaicin found in cayenne peppers can help decrease inflammation in the body. It also raises the temperature at which fat cells release their stored fats.
4. Green tea
Green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which protect cell membranes and DNA. Studies show green tea lowers cortisol levels, which makes sense since caffeine is part of green tea.
5. Fish oil
Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils can help reduce inflammation, reducing cortisol levels.
6. Chia seeds
Chia seeds contain omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, along with fiber and protein. In a study published in Nutrients, researchers noted that chia seed intake was associated with reduced cortisol levels.
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can raise cortisol levels. However, some studies show that decaf coffee has less impact on cortisol levels than regular coffee.
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps promote healthy immune function and decreases inflammation. According to research conducted by Dr. Michael Holick, vitamin D can also help reduce cortisol levels.
Probiotic supplements can help balance gut bacteria, which play a role in regulating inflammation. A recent study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology concluded that probiotics might help prevent or treat depression.
Exercise reduces cortisol levels because it stimulates endorphins, making us feel happy!
To Sum up,
Cortisol plays an important role in our bodies. Too little cortisol can cause fatigue, anxiety, and depression. High levels of cortisol are associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. The right amount of cortisol is necessary for maintaining normal functioning. However, if you’re experiencing excessive stress and/or have been exposed to steroid medication, it’s likely that your cortisol levels are too high.
Cortisol Testing holds the key in determining if your current medication regimen is working for you or if your condition requires a change in medication. It’s essential to seek professional medical advice when it comes to matters regarding health. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplement that claims to help with your health concerns.
Maybe you are worried or want to take control of your health, no matter the case, the Lab Me Cortisol test is here to help you.