The Best Supplements To Reduce Cortisol
Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to various physical and mental health problems, and one of the main hormones involved in the body's stress response is cortisol. High cortisol levels can be detrimental to overall health and well-being, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and a weakened immune system. Fortunately, there are a variety of natural supplements that can help reduce cortisol and promote relaxation and reduced stress. This post will explore some of the best supplements to reduce cortisol, their benefits, and how they work in the body.
What is Cortisol and How is it Related to Chronic Stress?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress and is the body's primary stress hormone. Steroid hormones like cortisol are synthesized from cholesterol and are involved in a variety of bodily functions. Cortisol plays an important role in the body's response to stress by increasing blood sugar levels, suppressing the immune system, and altering the body's metabolism. It also affects brain functions, such as memory, mood, and mental clarity. While some amount of cortisol in the body is good, elevated cortisol levels due to prolonged exposure to stress can have negative effects on overall health.
Adrenal Glands and the Body's Automatic Response
The adrenal glands play an important role in the body's autonomic response to stress by producing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help the body respond to stressors by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels, and by suppressing non-essential bodily functions such as digestion and reproduction.
When the body experiences prolonged or chronic stress, the adrenal glands may become overactive, leading to excessive production of cortisol and other stress hormones. This can result in a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. The stress hormone cortisol is important in times of actual danger, however, excessive levels for prolonged periods will negatively impact overall health.
It is important to take steps to manage stress and support the health of your adrenals, such as practicing relaxation techniques, getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise. Consulting with a healthcare provider can also help identify and address any underlying health issues that may be contributing to high cortisol levels.
Cortisol and Metabolism
Cortisol is released by the adrenals in response to stress and has various effects on the body's metabolism. In some cases, cortisol can increase metabolism by stimulating the breakdown of stored energy sources, such as fat and glycogen. This can provide the body with a quick source of energy to deal with a perceived stressor.
In addition, cortisol can also aid in metabolism by influencing the breakdown and synthesis of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Cortisol promotes the breakdown of muscle tissue to release amino acids into the bloodstream, which can then be used by the liver to synthesize glucose. In dangerous and stressful situations, this stress hormone plays a crucial role in keeping you alive. However, chronically elevated levels of cortisol will lead to muscle wasting over time, decreased energy levels, and poor metabolic health.
Overall, cortisol plays a complex role in metabolism, and its effects vary depending on the situation and duration of stress. Chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can damage the metabolism and lead to numerous physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, excess cortisol secretion can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and affect overall brain function.
Cortisol and Brain Health
The brain and nervous system play a key role in regulating cortisol levels. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain produce hormones that stimulate the adrenal glands to produce hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol is too high, the brain and nervous system can become dysregulated, leading to a variety of health problems.
Reducing stress and cortisol levels can have positive effects on the immune system, digestive system, and other body organs. It can improve mental clarity, reduce psychological stressors, and promote overall health. It is important to reduce excessive cortisol levels if you want to improve cognitive performance, brain health, and mental alertness while reducing cognitive decline.
Common Causes of High Cortisol Levels
High cortisol levels can be caused by various factors, including chronic stress, which leads to prolonged activation of the body's stress response system. The adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, can become overworked and produce too much cortisol leading to elevated levels in the bloodstream. Other factors that can cause high cortisol levels include lack of sleep, caffeine intake, alcohol abuse, and a poor diet. In some cases, certain medications, such as steroids or antidepressants, can also increase cortisol levels. Additionally, medical conditions such as Cushing's syndrome or adrenal gland tumors can cause excess cortisol production. It's important to manage stress levels and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to prevent and manage high cortisol levels, as prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisol can lead to various health problems.
7 Evidence-Based Supplements to Reduce the Stress Hormone Cortisol
Here are some of the best supplements to reduce cortisol levels
Vitamin B is a group of eight essential vitamins that play a vital role in various bodily functions, including maintaining healthy nerves, skin, and digestion. Some research suggests that certain B vitamins, specifically vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin), may help in cortisol reduction and alleviate stress.
Vitamin B5, for instance, helps support the adrenal glands responsible for producing cortisol. When the adrenal glands are overworked due to stress, they can become depleted of vitamin B5, leading to an overproduction of cortisol. By replenishing vitamin B5 levels, cortisol production may be reduced, helping to alleviate stress.
Vitamin B6 is also involved in cortisol regulation, and studies have shown that it can help reduce cortisol levels when taken as a supplement. Additionally, vitamin B12 has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, which may indirectly lead to a reduction in cortisol levels.
Arctic root, also known as Rhodiola rosea, is an adaptogenic herb that has been traditionally used to reduce stress and fatigue. It is believed to reduce cortisol levels by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is responsible for the body's stress response.
Arctic root contains compounds called rosavins and salidrosides, which are believed to modulate the HPA axis and reduce cortisol production. These compounds are also thought to increase the sensitivity of the body's stress response system, making it more efficient in responding to stressors.
Additionally, arctic root has been found to have antioxidant properties, which can help protect the body from the damaging effects of stress-induced free radicals.
While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which arctic root reduces cortisol, some studies have shown promising results. For example, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Planta Medica found that arctic root supplementation was able to lower cortisol in individuals with chronic stress.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a potential role in reducing cortisol levels in the body. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate the production and secretion of cortisol by the adrenal gland. In addition, omega-3s can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which are both factors that can lead to elevated cortisol levels.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that supplementation with omega-3s significantly reduced cortisol levels in healthy adults experiencing mental stress. Another study published in the journal Biological Psychology found that omega-3 supplementation reduced cortisol response to a psychologically stressful situation in overweight and obese individuals.
Chamomile is a natural herb that has been used for centuries as a calming agent and to help alleviate anxiety. Some studies have suggested that chamomile may also have a positive effect on cortisol levels in the body. One study conducted on postpartum women found that those who took chamomile extract daily for a month had reduced cortisol levels compared to the placebo group.
It is thought that the flavonoids in chamomile may be responsible for its cortisol-reducing effects. These flavonoids may help to regulate the HPA axis, which is the body's stress response system that controls cortisol production. By regulating the HPA axis, chamomile may help to reduce cortisol levels and alleviate the negative effects of stress on the body.
Chamomile is available in many forms, including tea, supplements, and essential oils. It is important to note that while chamomile is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications or cause allergic reactions in some individuals. As with any herbal supplement, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider before use.
Valerian root is an herb commonly used to treat anxiety and improve sleep quality. It may also have a calming effect on the body and may help to reduce cortisol levels. One study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research found that a valerian root extract reduced cortisol levels in response to stress in healthy volunteers. Another study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that valerian root reduced cortisol levels in rats exposed to a stressful environment.
The exact mechanism by which valerian root reduces cortisol levels is not fully understood. However, it is believed that valerian root may work by modulating the body's stress response and promoting relaxation. Valerian root contains compounds that are thought to interact with the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps to reduce activity in the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.
Magnesium can reduce cortisol levels by regulating the body's stress response system. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol, which can lead to a range of negative health effects. Magnesium helps to regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls the body's stress response system and can therefore help to reduce cortisol levels. Magnesium can also promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, which can help to reduce stress levels and therefore lower cortisol.
Research has shown that magnesium supplementation can reduce cortisol levels in both healthy individuals and those with stress-related conditions such as anxiety and depression. A study published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research found that magnesium supplementation was effective in reducing cortisol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Another study published in the journal Pharmacopsychiatry found that magnesium supplementation reduced cortisol levels in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lemon-scented herb that has been used traditionally for its calming and sedative effects. It has been found to have a positive impact on reducing stress and anxiety, which in turn can help to lower cortisol levels. Research has shown that lemon balm has a modulating effect on the HPA axis, which can help to reduce the stress response and lower cortisol levels.
Lemon balm is also rich in rosmarinic acid, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These effects can also help to reduce stress and cortisol levels, as inflammation and oxidative stress are known to be linked to the stress response.
In addition, lemon balm has been found to have a positive impact on cognitive function, including improving memory and mental clarity. This can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can lower cortisol levels. Overall, lemon balm is considered to be a safe and effective natural supplement for reducing cortisol levels and improving overall health and well-being.
Habits for Natural Cortisol Reduction
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but it doesn't have to control us. There are many natural ways to manage stress and promote relaxation. Some natural ways to lower cortisol include improving areas of your life such as breathwork, exercise, mindfulness, diet, and sleep.
One of the simplest habits to adopt is to practice deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing stimulates the body's relaxation response, reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. By focusing on your breath and practicing various breathing techniques, you can activate the relaxation response in your body and calm your mind. This can help decrease feelings of anxiety and tension, as well as lower cortisol levels, which is the hormone associated with stress. In addition to its stress-reducing benefits, breathwork can also improve overall respiratory function, increase energy levels, and enhance mental clarity. So, incorporating breathwork into your daily routine can be a simple and effective way to promote relaxation and improve your overall well-being.
Regular exercise has numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. Exercise can help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the body that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. It can also improve sleep quality, boost immune function, and increase energy levels. However, it's important to find the right balance when it comes to exercise. Over-exercising or pushing yourself too hard can increase stress levels and lead to injuries or burnout. The best way to incorporate exercise into your routine is to start slowly and gradually increase intensity, while also allowing for rest and recovery time. It's also important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit with your lifestyle, as this can help make exercise feel less of a chore and more of a positive addition to your daily routine.
Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, individuals can decrease stress and anxiety levels, as it helps them to focus on the present rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and body scan exercises, can help to reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation. By incorporating mindfulness into daily routines, individuals can improve their well-being and manage stress more effectively.
Maintaining a healthy diet is another important habit for stress management. Consuming nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and quality animal products can help to support the body's stress response and improve overall health.
Getting enough sleep is also crucial for managing stress. Lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels and exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, and creating a comfortable sleep environment can all help to improve sleep quality and reduce stress.
How Will Tea Help?
Brewing and drinking tea can provide numerous benefits to your overall health and well-being. Tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help to protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation in the body. These polyphenols have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Drinking tea regularly may also help to improve brain function and cognitive performance. Studies find that green tea extract improved cognitive performance and working memory in healthy adults. Green tea contains l theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. This can help to improve your mood and promote better sleep quality. Another study found that drinking black tea improved attention and alertness in participants. Both true teas and herbal teas have been found to provide numerous relaxation benefits that may serve to lower cortisol levels naturally.
We've covered a few supplements to reduce cortisol. Herbal supplements are our personal favorites. Fortunately for you, Symbi has tea for that ;) When you need it the most, our AnxiTea can be like a breath of fresh air. Its unique blend of diverse herbs has natural stress-reducing properties that help regulate your mood and promote a sense of calm. Each herb has its distinct function that works together with the others to boost your mental state. So, this tea can be a source of comfort for you and support decreased cortisol levels.
In addition to its physical and mental health benefits, brewing and drinking tea can also provide a sense of ritual and relaxation in your daily routine. Taking a few minutes to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm and mindfulness. So why not add a cup of AnxiTea to your daily routine and enjoy the many health benefits it has to offer?