How to Lower Cortisol Levels: Advice, Research and Products Reviewed
Cortisol is often known as ‘the stress hormone’. Made in the adrenal gland and it then is released into the blood. After this, it has a wide-ranging role in the body, as every cell has cortisol receptors.
For example, it plays a role in regulating both blood sugar and inflammation in the body. Too much cortisol in your body is bad news, and can have a number of negative effects, for example;
- Changes in the skin
- Weak muscles
- Anxiety and stress
- More frequent urination
High cortisol levels can also have profound effects on your physiology, as well as the above symptoms. After the initial ‘fight or flight’ response, when the other stress hormones subside, if you suffer from chronic stress your cortisol levels will continue to be high.
This is bad news for your body, and may lead to symptoms such as brain fog, mental health problems, memory issues and concentration problems.
Experts say that high levels of cortisol can even actually kill your brain cells. So, you are probably wondering, how do I reduce my cortisol levels?
Our Favorite Products to Help Lower Cortisol Levels:
Doctor's Best Phosphatidyl Serine
Our overall favorite
Nature's Trove L-Theanine
Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder
How to Reduce Cortisol Levels
Change your diet - One simple way to reduce cortisol is by changing your diet. For example, you could eat a healthier diet filled with unprocessed foods such as berries, tea, dark chocolate, garlic and turmeric.
These foods will help you gut become healthier and many foods, such as garlic, leeks, lentils and tomatoes, have healthy prebiotic properties.
Reduce your stress – A bit obvious perhaps but how do you do it? Some things that will help include mindfulness, which has been shown to help with stress, and it can actually change the structure of your brain and prevent neurological disorders.
Merely practicing meditation for about 15 minutes a day can reduce cortisol, and can have a profound effect on your overall health.
Acupuncture – This is not for everyone, but it has been practiced in the far-east for millennia, and it is said to help with many things: cortisol levels, stress, muscle problems, to name a few.
Deep breathing – This very much ties in to meditation and mindfulness. Doing simple breathing activities can help to relax you through the parasympathetic nervous system.
You could practice diaphragmatic breathing, or incorporate breathing activities into mediation and mindfulness sessions, or even Yoga.
Get out and about – Research shows that spending time outdoors can have a big effect on stress and cortisol levels. For example, try running in a green environment, or hiking in the hills.
Exercise – Research conducted in Harvard Medical school shows that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce cortisol and stress levels.
However, don’t overdo it, as exercise that is too strenuous can actually have the revers effect, promoting cortisol production.
Supplements that can Help to Reduce Cortisol Levels:
As well as the above methods to reduce cortisol levels, many have begun to use supplements to reduce or manage their cortisol levels.
These supplements could be particularly useful to you if suffer from a mental health condition that obliges you to take medication to manage your symptoms, as you may find that some supplements are equal effective as pharmaceutical products.
Phosphaditylserine - This is a type of fat that improves cognitive function and memory, and it is effective in reducing cortisol, as well as other things such as fatigue and neurological issues.
The FDA has approved the supplement for helping neurodegenerative disease, as it is rejuvenates neurons and synapses, and it seems to be particularly effective as reducing cortisol
Choline Bitartrate - This is made in small amounts in our bodies, and is found in mainly animal products. Choline deficiency is relatively common.
Choline is often supplemented to improve memory and cognitive performance, though it also reducing cortisol and anxiety symptoms. This is supported by studies that have shown that post-surgery, patients with lower amounts of choline have higher amounts of cortisol.
Ashwagandha - Ashwagandha is often associated with Ayurvedic practice, which is an ancient form of natural medical practice derived from Hinduism. Research has shown that this herb is great for lowering stress and cortisol.
In fact, studies have shown that it has profound affects both in cortisol reduction and in helping the immune system after a illness, which is why it is often called ‘strength of the stallion’ in India.
L-Theanine - L-Theanine is a supplement that is widely used for a number of health benefits, e.g. cognitive performance. However, it is particularly effective for reducing stress and cortisol levels.
It is found in tea, and is said to work by altering the way your brain responds to stressful situations. As we previously stated, though, it is also a good idea to supplement with l-Theanine as it has many neuro-protective properties.
The Best Supplements to Help Reduce Cortisol Levels Product Reviews:
L-Theanine 200mg - 365 Vegetarian Capsules
This supplement is extremely popular and well regarded by its users. If you want to reduce your cortisol levels, then users have directly cited this supplements ability to help with this, and have also noted;
- Helps with the anxiety of animals
- Helps with sleep
- Helps with focus
One customer actually called this product ‘life changing’, and said that, though they were dubious, they found that it had a profound effect, especially if taken before stress arises.
Another user pointed out that, though it doesn’t completely eradicate their anxiety it improved their symptoms whilst lacking the negative symptoms of prescription antidepressants and having some bonuses, such as more energy and improved cognitive function.
Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder 1200mg
This Ayurvedic supplement can have massive effects, and many users swear by the supplement, citing its ability to;
- Manage anxiety/depression
- Help with pain
- Help with fatigue
- Reduce cortisol levels
One user who has previously been prescribed with antidepressants claimed that this worked better than them, particularly if they combined it with Rhodiola Rosea.
Another said that they have been able to manage their anxiety completely using this product. What’s more, this supplement is almost completely without side effects, unlike most antidepressants.
Doctor's Best Best Phosphatidyl Serine
This is another product that has mostly positive reviews, and users have expressed a lot of benefits, such as that it;
- May help to improve MS symptoms
- Helps to manage pain caused by stress
- Helps with sleep problems
- Improves mental focus
One user found that it reduced cortisol as a bonus, as they originally started taking it to improve their memory. They found that their high cortisol levels caused them stress that led to pain in their joints and muscles.
However, once they started to take this product the pain went away, and they realized that the reason that they had this pain was stress, or being in ‘fight or flight’ mode at all times.
Bulk supplements Pure Choline DL-Bitartrate Powder
This product is extremely highly rated by users. Those who have taken the supplement have praised the fact that it;
- May help with liver health
- Improves anxiety and OCD
- Predictable elevation in energy and mental awareness
- Improves mental and cognitive function
For example, one user said that their anxiety and OCD reduced as a result of this supplement. They tried a bunch of other things, as they were a little unsure about what exactly was having the positive effect, before eventually realizing it was the choline.
Is It Worth Trying Supplements to Reduce Cortisol Levels?
If you are suffering from stress and anxiety, then you may want to try one of the above options.
They are completely natural, and what’s more, they can often be combined for greater effects. And while it's important to check with your physician and do your own research, if you have no other medical conditions they are generally safe to use, with little side effects.
In combination with an improved diet and lifestyle, finding the right supplement is likely to have a great effect on your cortisol levels and ultimately your overall health.
Let us know what you think and how you get on.