Lowering Cortisol Naturally
Patients often ask me how to lower their cortisol levels quickly.
Difficulty in managing your weight may be because of vitamin D deficiency, which causes visceral fat gain and hormonal imbalance seen as:
- Thyroid deficiency, causing overall weight gain and low metabolism.
- Estrogen Dominance tend to gain in hips, thighs and breasts, marked by having high estrogen and low progesterone.
- Androgen imbalance develops, causing a loss of lean muscle with fat replacement and noted by low testosterone and low DHEA
- Insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, marked by weight gain in the abdomen with increase in insulin, HbA1c, cortisol levels and stress.
High Cortisol tends to result in in anxiety, insomnia, sugar cravings, feeling tired but wired, increase in visceral fat, effect blood glucose levels. Having chronically high cortisol is a risk factor to pre-diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Insulin resistance causes may be sedentary lifestyle, obesity, poor diet poor sleep hormonal imbalance or smoking.
Many people know that cortisol is related to stress but very few will manage it and wonder why they had difficulty with weight control and have stress eating. That cortisol is a hormone produce by the adrenal gland and is part of a complex system to regulates the body.
How to Manage Stress
The things I work with patient first is to make a conscious decision to manage stress, rather than have stress manage them subconsciously. Patients in the ER have told me I don’t understand how stressful their job is. Maybe I don’t understand their job specifically, but when I have to manage a man dying in one room and a baby not breathing in the next, I think I know a little something about job stress! The point is, it’s different for everyone, but the response to stress is the same. The key is learning to calm the brain.
How to Calm the Brain
If you have the luxury to lay down, try to “take 5”. Take 5 minutes, or even better, take 15 minutes every day at 10am and 5pm to calm the nervous system. During this time, consider using meditative imagery or deep breathing to breathe in fresh oxygen and release any stress.
Sleep for lowering cortisol levels
Having uninterrupted restorative sleep is another key step in lowering cortisol levels. With my patients, I work on redesigning individuals’ sleep habits to attain restorative sleep. One habit I most often see is falling asleep in front of the tv, then getting up and going to bed. The best sleep habits include no electronics hour before bed, which I know is a hard one for most. If you read only electronic books, blue light glasses can help prevent digital eye strain.
Gunnar Blue Light Glasses
I like the brand Gunner I have no affiliation with them. If someone can let gunner know I recommend them maybe they can give my patient a discount since I recommend them.
Intermittent Fasting for Stress
I also advocate to my patient with elevated cortisol to fast depending on their lifestyle and body chemistry. I will work with them to find the right way for them to fast.
Supplements for Stress
The best supplement to reduce cortisol is debatable. Some of the supplements I use depend on the stress, weight issue and cortisol level. Some of my prefered herbs and natural sources include licorice, curcumin, ashwagandha and berberine.
References and Additional Resources
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22739410by Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD on
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