when I started searching for cortisol I found that there is an
abundance of vendors that are willing to sell you supplements to lower
cortisol levels and many of them are somewhat linked to weight loss
So I decided to leave those and concentrate on the most medically
credible sites to find advice on this matter.
High cortisol levels are mainly caused by stress and there are many
ways to reduce the levels of high cortisol, obviously starting with
removing the stressors.
Remember not all stressors involve emotion. Infections, over-training
in exercise, skipping meals, improper diet (activation of gut
associated immunity), high sugar and refined carbohydrate intake and
more also put stress on the body.
You just have to find the stress reduction technique that works better for you
Some of the recommended ones are
moderate aerobic exercise
low glicemic diet (Sugar handling stress increases cortisol levels.)
It is important to remember that without stress reduction, all
therapeutic and support measures will eventually fail.
If you are also looking repair the damage done to the brain from high
cortisol, by mean of nutritional supplements here are some substances
you should consider.
Nutritional Supplements to Support Low or High Cortisol Levels For
basic adrenal support, include:
A good Complete Multiple Vitamin Mineral Supplement.
Mag-C, one capsule three times per day. This is a source of buffered
vitamin C and a source of absorbable magnesium.
Advanced Essential Minerals, two capsules three times per day. Mineral
absorption and assimilation can be impaired by stressed adrenal
glands. Minerals are essential for energy metabolism.
B5, one capsule per day
B6, one capsule per day
One of the best known and most effective ways to lower excess
cortisol levels is with the nutrient Phosphatidylserine (PS).
Phosphatidylserine is believed to facilitate the repair of the
cortisol receptors in the hypothalamus. It is believed that the
cortisol receptors get damaged by high cortisol levels reducing the
ability of the hypothalamus to sense and correct high cortisone
levels. Because Phosphatidylserine helps repair the feedback control
apparatus, it is useful in correcting both high and low cortisol
levels. Phosphatidylserine is also useful for preventing short-term
memory loss, age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Typical
dosages are one to three 100 mg. capsules per day.
However to achieve the levels necessary to help repair the brain
scientists have found that it takes an oral supplementation of about
800 mg daily. At this dose, oral supplementation would cost hundreds
of dollars per month. It is much more efficient and far less costly to
use transdermal (through the skin) delivery by use of a PS skin cream.
In this form, the phosphatidylserine is micellized and is absorbed
through the skin directed to the blood stream. This avoids any PS
being lost through digestion and the first pass through the liver. The
product, ?Cortisol Balance? was designed for transdermal delivery of
PS in levels that will be effective for the protection and repair of
There is an abundance of scientific data on the ability of PS to
support and protect the brain. No other nutrient or pharmaceutical can
match the effectiveness of PS. This PS product combined with a
healthier lifestyle will safely enhance brain function.
Adaptogens are an entire category of herbs that assists the body
in coping with stress by restoring hypothalamic cortisol receptor
sensitivity. AdaptaPhase I from Vitamin Research Products is one such
blend of adaptogenic herbs that is based on Russian research. It is a
combination of Siberian ginseng, Manchurian Thorn Tree extract,
Hawthorn extract, Echinopanax elatum and Schisandra. Typical dosages
are from 1 ml. to 4 ml. per day. AdaptaPhase II is an anti-catabolic
blend of herbs that can be used to enhance the effects of AdaptaPhase.
AdaptaPhase II is synergistic blend of ingredients designed to
help the body overcome the exhaustion that is experienced by people
under such extreme stress. The formula includes soy protein isolate,
Rhaponticum carthinoides, Tribulus Terrestris, and Adjuga
turkistanica. These ingredients exert profound energizing, anabolic,
muscle-building effects. This product is best used in cycles, with
each cycle lasting 10 days with a break of two to three weeks between
each 10 day cycle. Dosages range from 4-10 capsules per day depending
upon the individual's weight and the amount of physical or
psychological stress that individual is undergoing.
CortiTrophin is a combination of adrenal concentrate and
glycyrrhizinate. Glycyrrhizinate is a natural cortisol-mimicking
extract from licorice. Taking a small amount of CortiTrophin 25-100
mgs/day can be beneficial in treating symptoms of adrenal exhaustion
and can provide significant relief from the symptoms of chronic
fatigue and fibromyalgia. To best mimic the body's own physiology,
CortiTrophin should be taken on an empty stomach, first thing in the
morning. If a second dose is required, it should be taken before
lunch. Since CortiTrophin mimics the action of cortisol, one should be
very judicious in using it. It should only be used intermittently and
if any adverse effects occur, such as water retention or elevated
blood pressure, use should be discontinued immediately. Individuals
with high blood pressure should be very cautious with this supplement
and should consult their doctor. Saliva testing should be seriously
considered when using cortisol simulating supplements.
The previous information were collected from a series of web sites,
some of them are
Here is also a quick guide of "8 ways to Reduce your Cortisol"
1. Use cortisol reduction supplements: I use a variety of herbs in my
clinic to reduce cortisol at peak times. Some of my favorites include:
ashwaghanda, phosphatidylserine, and rhodiola rosea.
2. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day: Avoid skipping meals,
as this will create a cortisol release.
3. Eat right for your Metabolic Type: Excessive carbohydrate intake
creates cortisol release in response to constantly elevated insulin
levels. Find out your metabolic type and eat consistently with it.
4. Utilize stress reduction techniques at peak cortisol times:
Neuro-linguistic Programming, meditation, self-hypnosis, or simply
lying on the floor doing belly breathing for 10-15 minutes can work
wonders at reducing stress and thus cortisol levels.
5. Get to bed on time: Get to bed by 10:30 pm at the latest.
6. Avoid stimulants: Stay away from energy drinks that contain
ephedra-like compounds and caffeine. Stimulants shift the body into
sympathetic dominance, ie. "fight or flight". Stimulants can also
disrupt your sleeping patterns. If you must have your daily coffee, be
sure that you do not drink any after 12 noon.
7. Keep your workouts under 1 hour: At the 1 hour mark, your
testosterone levels begin to decline and cortisol levels rise.
Forty-five minute workouts are even better.
8. Do not overtrain: Strength coach Charles Poliquin recommends not
training more than 2 days in a row. Doing so will simply overtax the
hormonal system and therefore increase cortisol levels. Listen to your
body. If you do not feel recovered from your previous workout, simply
take an extra day off or reduce the number of sets you perform in your
Sam Visnic is a C.H.E.K. Practitioner, Nutrition Coach, and certified