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Supplements to Reduce Cortisol

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that our bodies produce from the adrenal glands in response to stress. Not always considered a negative, it plays a crucial role in many of our bodily functions. However it can have negative impacts on the body when chronic elevated levels of this stress hormone occur, and that can result in fatigue, poor mood, lower immune system and even weight loss or weight gain.

What are the effects of Cortisol?

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugar which is known as glucose, in the bloodstream and this then enhances the brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances in the body that repair tissues. Cortisol also slows functions that would be nonessential or harmful in a fight-or-flight situation.

Symptoms of high Cortisol include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor sleep
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Intestinal problems including constipation, diarrhea or bloating
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Low libido or sexual interest
  • Disruption to menstrual cycle leading to irregular periods
  • Muscle pain or cramping
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What supplements can help to reduce Cortisol

There are many ways to reduce and limit the effects of this stress hormone, but some include taking supplements that have ingredients known for their effective targeting and healing properties on the body. These include:

  • Magnesium
    Magnesium plays an essential role in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is involved in the body’s stress response. Having adequate magnesium levels may help regulate how our bodies release Cortisol.
  • Vitamin C
    Taking regular vitamin c supplements to reduce Cortisol can form part of an overall healthy lifestyle and balanced diet
  • Omega-3
    Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits which can help the body to regulate our response to stress and how we release Cortisol. We can get Omega-3 from our diets to look to take Omega 3 supplements to reduce Cortisol
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS)
    This is a phospholipid, which is a chemical released in the brain, and this has been regularly researched and studied for its effects on lowering Cortisol. It’s looked at often in relation to reducing stress from exercise, usually when our bodies have been pushed hard during a workout or activity. Taking a supplement with phosphatidylserine included can help to reduce and regulate how our bodies react to stress.
  • Ashwagandha
    This adaptogenic herb has been used for many centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, and it’s thought to be able to reduce Cortisol levels as part of an overall wellbeing approach.
  • L-Theanine
    This is found in tea leaves, and L-theanine has a calming effect which can promote relaxation without causing drowsiness.
  • Rhodiola Rosea
    Another adaptogenic herb, rhodiola rosea has been praised for its potential to reduce stress related fatigue and lower cortisol levels.
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Other ways to reduce Cortisol

Reducing Cortisol levels often involves a combination of lifestyle changes and stress management techniques, such as:

  • Get enough sleep
    Aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night, and build a consistent sleep schedule with a regular bedtime and wake up time each day.
  • Exercise regularly
    Moving your body can help to regulate Cortisol levels and improve your overall mood. Try activities like cardio exercise, strength training or pilates or yoga to help your body stay fit and active, as well as reducing stress.
  • Eat a balanced diet
    A foundation of all health is to eat a balanced diet of all food groups, and this can also help to reduce Cortisol levels and the impact it can have on our bodies. We can also use supplements that can help with our daily health as well as lowering our stress levels, and that can include vitamin b12 supplements to reduce Cortisol as well as many others.
  • Embrace mindful techniques
    Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to help lower Cortisol levels when stressed. You can also consider trying mindfulness-based practices like yoga or tai chi.
  • Build a support network
    Our friends and family as well as those we like to spend time with can also help to reduce our Cortisol levels, as spending time with them encourages endorphins. Talking and sharing problems when stressed can also give us emotional support when needed.
  • Reduce stimulants and sugar
    Having stimulants like caffeine via coffee or energy drinks or having refined sugars in our diet can also lead to Cortisol spikes, which can make us feel anxious and stressed.
  • Stay hydrated
    Dehydration can contribute to stress, so keeping our bodies well hydrated can help us to regulate our emotions and hormones. We should all aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Manage your time
    Running out of time or feeling pressured can make our Cortisol levels spike, and lead to feeling stressed. It’s perfectly acceptable to prioritise tasks, delegate where needed and say no when necessary too.
  • Recognise stress factors and reduce them
    Sometimes there can be a clear root cause of our stress and be the reason for Cortisol levels being higher, and sometimes it might be necessary to reduce it or consider making changes in our lives. This can mean changing jobs if your work is stressful, spending less time with people who make us feel stressed or changing our daily routine too.
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