April 20, 2024
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how to lower cortisol with supplements

How to Lower Cortisol Naturally With Supplements

Cortisol is a natural stress hormone that can become elevated when under constant stress. This increases cortisol production, leading to poor sleep, low energy, and weakening immune systems.

There are various natural ways to decrease cortisol levels. Supplements and herbs like ashwagandha, chamomile, rhodiola and L-theanine may all help to lower cortisol and alleviate stress symptoms.

Stress Management

Stress is an inevitable part of life, but if left unmanaged it can have disastrous effects on both physical and mental health. Stressful situations may elevate cortisol levels which in turn contribute to weight gain and digestive issues as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping and impaired immune responses against infection. Luckily there are various healthy strategies available to reduce cortisol such as diet changes, relaxation techniques, sleep aid and supplements which balance hormones to lower cortisol.

When your body is under stress, adrenal glands produce cortisol to help you cope. This hormone is then released through the sympathetic nervous system to trigger a “fight or flight” response; shutting down systems not necessary in an emergency such as digestive and immune systems while increasing blood pressure and heart rate in order to prepare you for action. Once danger has passed, these systems return to their usual functions while cortisol levels return back to more natural levels.

Chronically elevated cortisol can disrupt hormone regulation and lead to a host of health issues, including weight gain, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease fatigue and trouble sleeping. Furthermore, elevated cortisol can negatively impact memory as well as cause digestive distress in the form of stomach pain, bloating or diarrhea.

Stress management involves identifying what causes stress and taking steps to address those aspects that you can control, such as work schedules, relationships and diet. Meditation, yoga or other relaxation techniques may help relieve your tension. A support network of friends or family who provide emotional assistance when necessary can also be invaluable resources for stress relief.

An essential factor for stress reduction and to lower cortisol is eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals, like berries, avocados, garlic, fish, olive oil, dark chocolate and turmeric. Also include leafy greens, legumes and whole grains with healthy fats from nuts and seeds in your diet as well as vitamin C supplements which have been found to lower cortisol by decreasing stress and inflammation within the body; additionally supplements like magnesium ashwagandha rhodiola basil may assist by supporting adrenal gland function as well.

Sleep

Cortisol, commonly referred to as the “stress hormone”, is produced by your adrenal glands when exposed to stress, but chronically elevated levels can be unhealthy and should be reduced through lifestyle tweaks and supplements. However, there are ways of naturally lowering cortisol through lifestyle modifications or supplements.

Sleep is an integral component in reducing cortisol levels. People who experience elevated cortisol at night often suffer from insomnia as a result, making obtaining sufficient rest vital to lowering cortisol and improving mood and concentration.

Make an effort to achieve seven hours of restful sleep each night, and avoid bright lights and electronics before bedtime, which may stimulate cortisol production. A short nap during the day may also prove helpful after experiencing poor restful slumber.

L-Theanine found in green tea has been shown to promote restful sleep and decrease stress levels, while another supplement called Ashwagandha can lower cortisol levels by increasing resilience against stress and helping balance your HPA axis. Be sure to speak to your physician first when adding supplements into your diet to make sure there are no potential interactions with any medications you are currently taking.

Hobbies can help people to relax and reduce cortisol levels, providing them with a great opportunity for restful slumber and reduced cortisol levels. Studies have revealed how gardening, knitting and playing with animals can all be great ways to relieve tension.

People can lower their cortisol levels through positive self-talk and practicing mindfulness, according to studies. Meditation, creating social support networks and performing acts of kindness all help reduce cortisol levels while improving overall wellness.

Cortisol hormone is necessary for survival; however, prolonged high levels can have severe negative repercussions for health. Over time, consistent high cortisol levels can impede cell regeneration and the healing process, destroy healthy bone and muscle tissue, take up chemicals needed by other hormones production, as well as inhibit immunity.

Diet

Cortisol, released by your adrenal glands when stressed, causes your blood sugar levels to spike to help the body escape danger and fight off threats. Unfortunately, prolonged high levels of cortisol may do more harm than good – it increases risk factors for high blood pressure, depression, weight gain and decreased immunity (1). You can lower cortisol by practicing relaxation techniques, eating gut-friendly food, getting adequate restful sleep and taking care of mental wellbeing (1).

When selecting food to eat, prioritize whole and unprocessed carbohydrates. Beware of sugary drinks and refined fats such as vegetable oils and trans fats; opt instead for omega-3 and gamma linoleic omega-6 fats found in salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and avocados that contain these healthy lipids, which have been proven to lower cortisol and regulate blood sugar and insulin levels (2).

Eating on a regular schedule and not skipping meals will help avoid sudden blood sugar spikes that lead to increased cortisol. Choose complex carbs found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Also try eating plenty of protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish, beans nuts and seeds.

Diets rich in vitamin C, tryptophan, quercetin and ashwagandha have been proven to reduce cortisol. Vitamin C helps boost immune cells while producing more restful sleep; tryptophan reduces anxiety while quercetin acts as an antidepressant (3). Incorporating green tea as part of daily stress management regimen is another good strategy; an excellent source of antioxidants but should be consumed cautiously due to caffeine content (3).

Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb known to support normal stress responses (4). A study demonstrated how supplementation with ashwagandha helped reduce psychological and physiological markers of stress for subjects with chronically high cortisol (5). Furthermore, blood pressure and triglycerides were reduced, memory improved significantly as was mood, decreased food cravings, as well as energy (6).

Exercise

When faced with a real emergency situation such as being chased by a lion or involved in an automobile accident, your body releases cortisol as a survival hormone to release glucose for brain fueling purposes and shut off nonessential systems that might distract you. Unfortunately, prolonged production of cortisol can have negative side effects including irritable bowel syndrome, weight gain, memory problems and pre-diabetes symptoms.

Reducing cortisol levels through lifestyle changes such as decreasing stress exposure and improving sleep hygiene is the best way to do it, though supplements may also help. When supplementation is used with lifestyle modifications it may provide even greater benefit; it is however wise to consult a healthcare provider first in order to make sure there are no potentially hazardous interactions with other medications or substances taken for other conditions.

People engaging in endurance exercise such as long bike rides and runs are at particular risk of cortisol imbalance due to prolonged physical stress on the body. Therefore, those who already have an unhealthy cortisol balance should avoid endurance activities until their adrenals can reset.

Non-strenuous exercise such as yoga, walking and casual recreational sports such as volleyball can help to decrease cortisol levels. However, exercise should be completed at a moderate intensity level; studies2 show that high intensity activities such as CrossFit may actually raise cortisol levels instead.

Ayurvedic herbs such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) have been shown to lower elevated cortisol levels while omega-3 fish oil can help decrease inflammation levels in the body. Finally, probiotic and prebiotic supplements may support healthy gut bacteria which is also linked to lower stress and cortisol levels. It is always advisable to speak to a healthcare provider before beginning any supplement regimen; especially if taking prescription drugs.

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