Cortisol is a stress hormone created by the adrenal gland in the body. Cortisol receptors exist in several organ systems including the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, and respiratory systems where the stress hormone is taken up and purposed for different means. In this article, here will discuss how to increase adrenal cortisol levels in 3 simple steps in details:
A variety of functions exist for the body’s use of cortisol.Cortisol is best known for its role in the fight-or-flight response. During stressful situations, cortisol is released from the adrenal gland causing physiological changes such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, or shakiness. When the body is on high alert, the brain sends stress signals causing a downstream reaction which leads to the release of cortisol from the adrenal gland to allow the body to stay on high alert. Cortisol increases the amount of blood sugar in the brain, increases glucose production by the liver, increases protein degradation by the muscles, increases the release of free fatty acids and glycerol from fatty tissue to be used as an energy source, and decreases insulin release from the pancreas. Cortisol also aids in blood pressure control, metabolism of glucose, and reduction of inflammation.
It is important for the body to keep a consistent level of cortisol to maintain homeostasis. Too much cortisol may lead to Cushing’s syndrome and not enough cortisol production is the cause of a rare disease known as Addison’s disease. In addition, adrenal fatigue is a nonspecific medical condition that may occur in people with low cortisol production. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may include fatigue, body aches, unexplained weight loss, lightheadedness, loss of body hair, and/or skin discoloration. This topic will review how to maintain a healthy balance of cortisol to prevent or decrease experiencing these symptoms in people with adrenal insufficiency. So, here is the 3 simple steps to increase adrenal cortisol levels which is given below:
3 Steps To Increase Adrenal Cortisol Levels
1. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle is central to achieving cortisol homeostasis. This includes actions such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, having consistent sleep patterns, and recognizing mindfulness. A healthy diet high in protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is recommended. Including grapefruit into a diet has been shown to increase cortisol levels.3 Eating food high in iron helps combat symptoms of fatigue. Spinach, organ meats, dark chocolate, lentils, and soybeans are some examples of foods high in iron. Limit alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, carbohydrates, and foods high in sugar. Exercising at least three times a week is also suggested to promote a healthy lifestyle. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night and maintaining the same bedtime and wake time each day will help regulate cortisol. Engaging in yoga or meditation are other steps that bolster healthy cortisol levels.2
2. Consider Supplements
Living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a nutritious diet can be challenging. Because it is difficult to get necessary nutrients through diet alone, supplements can be used for adrenal support. Licorice supplements have been shown to increase the amount of cortisol in the body by preventing the breakdown of cortisol. It also has side effects and should not be taken during pregnancy, or in people with heart, liver, or kidney problems. Licorice root is not recommended for longer than four weeks at a time because of these side effects.
Eating food high in iron helps to improve fatigue, but if it is difficult to eat high-iron meals and if further supplementation is needed to increase energy, over the counter natural iron supplements are an option.
B-complex vitamins may be beneficial for adrenal support. Some research shows that low levels of vitamin B12 can be related to stress on the adrenal cortex and low levels of vitamin B5 are frequently found in adrenally insufficient people. Low vitamin B levels are also common in diets that limit meat consumption. It may be helpful to take a vitamin B-complex supplement to combat adrenal insufficiency.1
3. Manage Stress
Managing stress is another way to improve cortisol levels. Experiencing stressful situations can lead to an acute increase in cortisol levels which causes the fight-or-flight reaction. This leads to increased blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, or shakiness. Appropriately managing day-to-day stress can help relieve the spikes in cortisol created by stressful situations. By reducing overall stress, cortisol levels rise slowly over time rather than being released in bulk during high-stress periods, which quickly diminishes cortisol stores. Yoga, meditation, rest, relaxation techniques, and journal writing are all approaches to stress management.
Adrenal insufficiency is difficult to diagnose due to its nonspecific symptoms. The symptoms can be challenging to deal with, so finding the remedy to treat them is necessary. Eating a healthy diet is the major first step to help boost the adrenal gland. Other natural remedies include exercising, dietary supplementation, and managing stress. It may take months to see an improvement in energy and fatigue, but these suggestions are encouraged before seeking medical treatment.
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2. Hansen, Fawne. “The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan.” Adrenal Fatigue Solution, Perfect Health, 29 Oct. 2018, adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/.
3. Methlie P, Husebye EE, Hustad S, Lien EA, Løvås K. Grapefruit juice and licorice increase
cortisol availability in patients with Addison’s disease. Eur J Endocrinol. 2011;165(5):761‐769. doi:10.1530/EJE-11-0518
4. Nieman LK. Clinical manifestations of adrenal insufficiency in adults.
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 20, 2020.
5. Thau L, Sharma S. Physiology, Cortisol. [Updated 2020 Mar 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet].
Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538239/