Actions That You Can Take To Lower Cortisol Levels

Your adrenal glands, which are situated on top of your kidneys, are responsible for the production and release of the steroid hormone known as cortisol. The hormone cortisol plays a role in the regulation of activities such as the immune response, inflammation, and metabolism.

There are occasions when the levels of cortisol might become excessively high, despite the fact that it plays a crucial role in your body. This has the potential to result in a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (the accumulation of plaque in the arteries), heart disease, and diabetes.

An elevated amount of cortisol can be brought on by a wide variety of factors, including stress and certain medical problems. You are in luck since there are actions you may do to reduce your cortisol levels.

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For what reasons do high cortisol levels occur?

Stress is a factor that can contribute to elevated levels of the hormone cortisol. Your adrenal glands are prompted to release adrenaline and cortisol while you are under stress because stress causes signals to be caused within your body. In order to get ready for anything that could be difficult, dangerous, or even painful, your body is going through this process.

It is possible for short bouts of stress to raise cortisol levels; however, once the threat has passed, cortisol levels return to their normal levels. However, if your stress is persistent, your body’s response to these stressful stimuli will never stop. This means that your adrenal glands will continue to generate cortisol and distribute it throughout your body.

Other than stress, conditions such as the use of oral corticosteroids for an extended period of time and some malignancies can cause an increase in cortisol levels.

Why is it Adverse to Have High Cortisol Levels?

When lower cortisol levels remain elevated for an extended length of time, it can result in a variety of symptoms and diseases. One example is that research indicates that elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol play a significant impact in the development of a variety of cardiovascular problems. If your cortisol levels are high, you have a greater likelihood of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

There appears to be a correlation between high cortisol levels and some mental health disorders. This is due to the fact that cortisol might have an effect on your central nervous system. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol, for instance, have been associated with both anxiety and depression. A significant proportion of individuals who have just been diagnosed with depression have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. People who suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also shown to have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Although it is not known if the high levels are a cause that contributes to the mental health illness or whether they are a co-occurring condition, it is known that a drop in cortisol levels often leads to an improvement in symptoms.

The presence of elevated lower cortisol levels can also cause sleep disturbances, lead to weight gain, and hinder the immune system’s ability to respond.

It is possible to acquire Cushing’s syndrome if your lower cortisol levels are elevated through the use of medicine or if you have a tumor. Your body has been producing an excessive amount of cortisol for an extended period of time, which is the source of this illness, which can result in major problems such as a heart attack and blood clots.

Understanding the Signs That Your Cortisol Levels Are High

During a surge of cortisol in your body, you will experience feelings that are very similar to those you would have during a fight-or-flight situation. There is a possibility that you will experience bodily sensations such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, as well as an elevated heart rate and muscle tension.

It goes without saying that the causes of your elevated lower cortisol levels can have a significant impact on the symptoms you experience. Here are some of the possible signs and symptoms of having an excessive amount of cortisol:

  • High blood pressure
  • Memory issues or difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness or breakdown
  • Slowed wound healing
  • Easy bruising
  • Flushed face
  • Purple streaks on the breasts, hips, or stomach
  • Weight gain (especially in the face or abdomen)

Both you and your healthcare practitioner have the ability to conduct a cortisol test in order to determine whether or not you have elevated amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. This examination determines the amount of cortisol that is present in your blood, urine, or saliva.

In the event that the healthcare professional is examining the amounts of cortisol in your blood, they will request that you do a blood test. Most of the time, they will do a test that lasts overnight. You will take one milligram of dexamethasone, which is a steroid medication, around eleven o’clock at night and midnight. A blood sample is performed the next morning, between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., in order to determine the levels of serum cortisol.

If the healthcare professional is going to do a urine test on you, they will most likely ask you to collect your urine over the course of a period of twenty-four hours. A single urine sample, which is typically collected in the morning, may, on occasion, be utilized for the purpose of conducting a cortisol test.

When it comes to the saliva test, you will be provided with a kit that will allow you to collect your saliva. It is most likely that you will be requested to collect your saliva throughout the night, when your cortisol levels are at their lowest.

Ways To Lower Cortisol Levels

It is possible to experience adverse effects if you live with elevated cortisol levels. Since this is the case, it is essential that you acquire the skills necessary to effectively manage your stress and make other adjustments that can assist in lowering your cortisol levels. In order to potentially reduce the amount of cortisol in your body, here are some things that you may do right now.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Consuming a diet that is rich in nutrients can assist you in managing stress, which may in turn result in a reduction in your lower cortisol levels. In order to prevent your cortisol levels from increasing, you should begin by giving some thought to reducing the amount of added sugars that you consume. According to research, a high blood cortisol level is the result of consuming a lot of added sweets.

It has also been demonstrated through research that consuming foods that are heavy in refined grains and saturated fats can result in elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is in contrast to a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsaturated fats.

Intake of an adequate amount of water can assist in preventing an increase in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It has been demonstrated through research that even minor dehydration can produce an increase in lower cortisol levels.

Take Supplements

You might want to discuss the possibility of taking supplements with your healthcare professional in order to assist in reducing the levels of cortisol in your body. An example of this would be a study that was conducted in 2021 and discovered that after taking omega-3 supplements for a period of four months, subjects saw decreased levels of cortisol and increased resilience to stress. Despite the fact that the researchers warn that the findings are preliminary, they hypothesize that taking omega-3 supplements on a regular basis may also reduce the impact of repeated stress on the aging of cells and the likelihood of developing depression.

It has been suggested that the herb ashwagandha helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. After ingesting 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha extract for a period of sixty days, participants in a small randomized controlled experiment noticed a significant reduction in their lower cortisol levels. In addition to promoting sleep, ashwagandha has the potential to reduce feelings of worry.

If you are thinking about taking supplements, it is essential to consult with a healthcare expert before actually beginning to use them. It is possible for certain supplements to create adverse effects or interfere with the effectiveness of drugs in individuals who have specific medical conditions. Also, unlike pharmaceuticals, supplements are not subject to any regulations.

Be Physically Active

Participating in physical activity can assist you in managing stress and may also result in a reduction in lower cortisol levels . You may better manage stress in general by engaging in regular exercise, which also helps clear your mind and provides you with more clarity. Cortisol levels may initially rise in order to provide your body with the necessary support during physical activity; however, they will fall when the activity has ended.

For those who are interested in incorporating physical activity into their daily routine, the following are some activities that can be done at a moderate level of intensity:

  • Walk briskly
  • Take a water aerobics class
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Play doubles tennis
  • Take a ballroom dancing class
  • Lift weights or use resistance bands

Exercise of a moderate level should be performed for a total of one hundred fifty minutes by adults, as recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. workouts that develop your muscles, such as lifting weights or workouts using only your own bodyweight, should also be performed for a period of two days.

Get Good-Quality Sleep

The most effective method for lowering your cortisol levels is to acquire the skill of learning to prioritize your sleep. It has been established that increased cortisol levels are associated with persistent sleep problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia.

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Getting into bed at the same time every night and maintaining a regular bedtime routine are two things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. You should stay away from smoke and alcohol, and you should cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume. Even reducing the amount of blue light that you feel from your electronic devices can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Conclusion

The hormone cortisol is one that is secreted by the body, particularly in response to stressful situations. Despite the fact that cortisol plays a critical role in the regulation of vital body systems, it has the potential to have a detrimental effect on your health if your levels remain elevated for an extended length of time. This can result in a variety of chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, among others.

 

 

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