- Tips against high cortisol levels
- What is cortisol and how does it affect the body?
- What are the causes of elevated cortisol levels?
- Lowering cortisol levels: These tips can help
- Plenty of exercise
- Conscious relaxation
- Less alcohol and caffeine
- A healthy diet
- Regular screen breaks
- Consciously reduce stress
- Sufficient and restful sleep
- What happens when cortisol levels are permanently too high?
- How can cortisol levels be determined?
- Conclusion: A high cortisol level can also be lowered naturally
Tips against a high cortisol level
Stress and its physical and psychological consequences are now considered the number one widespread disease. Many people are constantly available in their private and professional lives and can no longer get any rest. As a result, the body constantly releases cortisol. The stress hormone makes us more efficient in the short term and gives us more energy, but a permanently elevated cortisol level can be harmful to health.
We explain how cortisol works, what the consequences of a permanently elevated cortisol level are, and what you can do to reduce stress and lower cortisol in your body.
What is cortisol and how does it affect the body?
Cortisol - also known as hydrocortisone - is a hormone produced naturally in the body in the adrenal cortex. Along with adrenaline, it is the best-known stress horm one and is important for various metabolic processes in the body. Cortisol is involved in many important bodily functions and is even vital to us.
Thus, the hormone regulates protein and fat metabolism and our carbohydrate balance. In addition, cortisol increases blood sugar levels and provides the body with energy from the body's energy stores. In addition, the hormone has an anti-inflammatory effect and influences our blood pressure.[¹]
As a stress hormone, cortisol is increasingly released in stressful situations to make us more efficient. Together with cortisol, the messenger substances adrenaline and noradrenaline are also released. As a result, both the pulse and the breathing rate increase and glucose is provided as an energy source. These reactions are important in extreme situations in order to escape danger - the release of cortisol makes the body "ready to fight", so to speak.
If the stress or strain is not acute, but becomes a permanent condition due to chronic stress, then the cortisol level is permanently elevated. This can become problematic and lead to physical and psychological complaints.
What are the causes of an elevated cortisol level?
An elevated cortisol level can have various causes, including stress, hypoglycemia or pregnancy. In addition, hyperfunction of the adrenal cortex, for example due to a tumor on the adrenal cortex, can also lead to a high cortisol concentration in the blood.
However, in addition to these physical causes, personal lifestyle can also lead to elevated cortisol levels. Possible causes include:
- Chronic stress (this includes both physical stress, e.g., from excessive exercise, and psychological stress, e.g., from grief, deadline pressure, heavy workload, etc.).
- Lack of sleep
- Too little relaxation
- Unhealthy diet
- Too much alcohol and caffeine
- Severe overweight
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Lowering cortisol levels: These tips can help
How you can lower cortisol depends on the cause of the increased secretion. If the elevated cortisol level is due to a stressful lifestyle, then you have several options to lower cortisol levels yourself. This essentially works by avoiding the factors that are at fault for the excess cortisol. We have compiled tips for you that can help lower your cortisol levels naturally:
1. get plenty of exercise
With regular exercise and sports, you'll lower your cortisol by regulating blood sugar levels and preventing high blood pressure and obesity - both possible causes of permanently elevated cortisol levels. But be careful, you should always ensure sufficient regeneration. Because even though exercise is healthy and can reduce stress, overly intense sessions can have exactly the opposite effect. Overtraining causes cortisol levels to skyrocket instead of decreasing them. This means it's best not to work out every day and to replace a harder workout with a casual jog or bike ride. Regular yoga sessions can also be helpful in minimizing stress and helping the body recover.
2. conscious relaxation
Take stress signals seriously instead of ignoring them and consciously create time for relaxation. After all, a stressful daily routine can increase cortisol levels. Think about what is relaxing for you personally and integrate these activities into your daily routine. This can be a good book, listening to music, a walk, an appointment with a massage or simply time with family and friends.
3. low alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine not only raise your blood pressure, but they also drive up your cortisol levels. Therefore, especially during stressful periods of your life, it can be a good idea to cut back on caffeine and alcohol to lower the stress hormone cortisol.
4. healthy diet
Lowering cortisol also works through diet. This is because not only alcohol and caffeine, but also refined sugar and trans fatty acids cause cortisol levels to rise rapidly. While sweets raise blood sugar levels, trans fats raise cholesterol levels - both of which stimulate the adrenal cortex to produce cortisol. You can avoid this by eating a balanced diet, avoiding sugar, and opting for whole grains instead of white flour products . These keep your blood sugar levels stable, which results in a lower release of cortisol. You can also replace refined sugar with sugar alternatives.
5. take regular screen breaks
In the age of smartphones and tablets, most people are constantly available - and therefore more stressed. If you consciously spend less time in front of the screen and simply put the smartphone away, this will also have a positive effect on your stress level. This can help reduce the cortisol in your blood. By the way, too much artificial light can also lead to the body not being able to switch off properly and constantly release stress hormones.
6 Consciously reducing stress
In addition to relaxation exercises, there are other specific exercises that can help lower stress levels. One example is the so-called "power posing". For this, you assume a position that radiates self-confidence and confidence - for example, you stand with your legs wide apart and put your hands on your hips. A study from Columbia and Harvard University has shown that these poses reduce the release of the stress hormone[⁴], which can help lower cortisol levels.
7. Sufficient and restful sleep.
Excess cortisol can prevent restful sleep. That's because the stress hormone keeps us awake and gives us energy - making it the antagonist of the sleep hormone melatonin, which makes you tired and allows the body to rest. The problem: lack of sleep, sleep disorders and poor sleep quality prevent cortisol from being released at night and, at worst, can stimulate the release of the stress hormone even further. That's why it's so important to make sure you get restful sleep when your cortisol levels are elevated.
One way to do this is to supplement melatonin. In order for you to calm down in the evening and find sleep, the hormones melatonin and cortisol should always be in balance. This is because cortisol levels should reach their lowest point by midnight. As melatonin levels rise, cortisol levels fall - provided you're not permanently stressed. One spray of our Melatonin sprays contains 1 milligram of melatonin and can help you get to sleep faster.[⁵] To help you feel less tired when you wake up, the spray also contains vitamin B6.[⁶]
In addition to melatonin intake, the right conditions in your bedroom can also help you sleep better. Make sure the room temperature in your bedroom is not too high and the room is sufficiently darkened. Also, it can help to put your smartphone or tablet out of your hand and switch to flight mode an hour before bedtime.
What happens if the cortisol level is permanently too high?
If your cortisol level is permanently too high, this can have far-reaching consequences for your health in the worst case. These symptoms can - but don't have to - occur as a result of elevated cortisol levels:
- Muscle loss
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reduction in performance
- Delayed wound healing
- Weakened immune system
- Sleep disturbances
Since the symptoms of increased cortisol levels are generally rather unspecific, other causes may also be possible. Therefore, it is worthwhile to have corresponding symptoms clarified by a doctor and to check there whether increased cortisol levels are actually the reason for the complaints.
How can you determine the cortisol level?
Therefore, in order to properly determine cortisol levels and obtain a meaningful reading, it is important to always measure at the same time and monitor cortisol levels over time.
Conclusion: A high cortisol level can also be lowered naturally
If constant stress is the cause of excess cortisol, you can lower the cortisol in your body with our tips. It is also important to find the source of your constant stress and change something about it. If you are taking on too much at work or in your free time, it can help to simply say no sometimes. Many stressed people also find it difficult to hand over tasks - if you are aware of this characteristic, something can be done about it. But don't worry, with a more conscious lifestyle and a balanced diet you will surely succeed in lowering your elevated cortisol level. Our ASHWA PRO with Magnesium, Vitamin B6 and Zinc as Anti-Stress Control[⁷] as well as the adaptogen Ashwagandha can additionally support you to come to rest.
 Magnesium and vitamin B6 contribute to normal mental function.
 Zinc contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress and normal cognitive function.
 Melatonin helps shorten the time it takes to fall asleep.
 Vitamin B6 helps reduce fatigue and tiredness.
 Magnesium and vitamin B6 contribute to normal mental function. Zinc contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress and normal cognitive function.