Understanding Cortisol Levels

Understanding Cortisol Levels

Control Cortisol level Naturally

Adrenal gland cortex releases the steroid hormone Cortisol. The Adrenal gland is located above the kidney. Majority cells in your body have cortisol receptors. Cortisol helps several vital bodily functions from controlling sugar levels, regulate metabolism and help reduce inflammation and memory creation. It affects the proportion of salt and water thereby controlling blood pressure. It also supports bone growth, nervous system function and stress response. In women, Cortisol helps the developing fetus during pregnancy. Due to these, it is an essential part of health and mental well-being of an individual.

Cortisol is also called as Stress Hormone because their irregularities can impact mental and physical well-being. Your body alarms naturally during stress situations. It creates a ‘fight-or-flight’ response situation.

High Cortisol Symptoms:

Anxiety, depression, weight gain, severe fatigue, muscle weakness, cognitive difficulties, headache, bone loss, high blood pressure, memory loss, skin changes, increased urination, excessive thirst and mood swings are the serious symptoms of High Cortisol levels.

Effects of high and low cortisol levels:

Cortisol Level Test is conducted to diagnose the abnormalities in the bodily cortisol levels. It is done in morning time because Cortisol levels are usually high during mornings. A blood sample is collected for the test around 8 am. The normal results may vary from 6 to 23 micrograms per decilitre (mcg/dL).

High Cortisol level may mean pituitary gland secreting too much ACTH due to a tumor, tumor in the adrenal gland or elsewhere in the body.

High Cortisol levels may cause Cushing’s syndrome. Individuals with Cushing's syndrome will experience rapid weight gain in the face, abdomen and chest. Men with Cushing’s syndrome may face decreased fertility, decreased libido or erectile dysfunction. Women with Cushing’s syndrome may face irregular or absent menstrual periods and hirsutism. Without treatment, Cushing’s syndrome may cause complications in type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, bone loss and muscle loss.

Lower Cortisol levels may indicate Addison’s disease.

Ways to reduce Cortisol levels Naturally:

Cortisol kills existing brain cells. So, we need to control them and reduce them if they grow. There are some ways to control Cortisol level naturally.

  • One of the best natural cortisol reduction method is to have unprocessed food diet, also prebiotic food. Green tea, olive oil, garlic, berries, onion, bananas, lentils, mustard greens, dark chocolate, cocoa powders, etc can naturally reduce Cortisol levels because of their ingredients. Sugar and caffeine cause an increase in cortisol level and hence needs to be controlled.

  • Supplements are available to regulate the Cortisol levels. They help to bring the body into homeostasis which is a balanced state. Ashwagandha, bacopa, arctic root, holy basil, and ginkgo are some ayurvedic supplements you can consume. Other supplements include Vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, lemon balm that can help reduce Cortisol levels.

  • Physical exercise like jogging, walking, cycling, aerobics, acupuncture, etc will naturally help reduce cortisol levels in long term. It will increase the body's response and reduce stress.

  • Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises will increase your awareness level and reduce stress. Thereby Cortisol reduction will take place continuously.

  • Spending time in nature is also a stress-buster. Spending time at sea-shore, gardening, walking in natural settings, etc will help reduce Cortisol levels and stress. We do need to come out of our plastic and a tech-savvy world for some time.

  • Take power naps in the afternoon. It will relax your mind and body. Positive thinking and positive self-talk is also a method to reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Music can help control stress levels your mind and body may be facing. So it is better to listen to some soft calming music during stressful situations. It can reduce the growth of Cortisol if regularly done.

  • According to University College London study, regular consumption of Black Tea can reduce Cortisol level to 50% during stressful situations.

  • Laughter is the best medicine. Watching funny shows, movies or sharing funny things with your friends will relax your mind, reduce stress and cortisol levels. It will also increase the overall mental and physical wellbeing.

  • Scheduling a massage will relax body and mind. The cortisol levels can be controlled to a certain extent and reduce anxiety and stress.

If you have any symptoms or queries regarding Cortisol, you can contact best Hormone Imbalance Treatment Doctors in Kolkata.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad