If you’ve ever narrowly avoided a dangerous situation or faced a stressful event, you’ve experienced a spike in cortisol.
Excess cortisol in your blood can lead to increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and an abrupt halt of your digestive system.
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands and affects nearly every organ and tissue in your body. It helps manage your metabolism, immune response, and inflammation. It’s also responsible for triggering the fight or flight response.
Experiencing cortisol surges on occasion can help you quickly avoid danger. However, cortisol levels that remain too high for too long can negatively change your immune response. It can also suppress your digestive, reproductive, and growth processes.
Let’s explore the dangers of high cortisol, learn how to lower cortisol naturally, and find hormone lab tests that can help you figure out what’s causing your symptoms.
Cushing syndrome, or hypercortisolism, is commonly found in adults between the ages of 20 and 50. It occurs when cortisol levels remain high over time. This can occur naturally or be the result of taking oral corticosteroid medications.
If left untreated, high cortisol levels can lead to health complications, including:
Prolonged periods of high cortisol can cause the following physical signs and symptoms:
High cortisol can also lead to more serious health conditions, including:
Women may also experience thicker or more visible body and facial hair and irregular (or absent) menstrual cycles.
Hypercortisolism can lead to regular weight gain (despite exercise and diet), extreme fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and night sweats. Major depressive disorder is the most prevalent mood disorder in those with Cushing syndrome, affecting 50-70% of cases.
People struggling with Cushing syndrome often report feeling weak, tired, and sad. However, people with high cortisol levels may also struggle to control their emotions or experience impaired memory and concentration.
Addison’s disease, or adrenal insufficiency, is an uncommon disorder that occurs when your adrenal glands underproduce cortisol. People with the following autoimmune disorders have a higher risk of developing Addison’s disease:
Making some lifestyle changes can help you manage your anxiety. If you want to learn how to lower cortisol naturally, follow these steps:
The best way to test your cortisol levels is with a blood test. Our physician-approved cortisol lab tests are convenient, affordable, and always confidential.
We offer a variety of testing options that can check for increased or decreased cortisol production, such as:
Quest Diagnostics conducts all tests. Results are typically available within 1-2 business days.
Doctor's orders are never required.
Here are four supplements that can help rebalance your cortisol hormone levels, keep them in a healthy range, and lower stress and anxiety:
A natural cortisol blocker is a dietary supplement or medication used to block stress hormones. They help regulate and balance cortisol levels and other bodily functions.
Many people use these blockers to treat Cushing syndrome, anxiety, and increase new muscle tissue. Talk to your doctor to find out if these blockers are right for you.
If you want to learn how to lower cortisol naturally, try foods rich in omega-three fatty acids:
Foods rich in magnesium:
Foods rich in L-theanine:
Are you living with chronic stress and anxiety that are elevating your cortisol levels? Find the Ulta Lab Tests that are right for you and start healing your immune, digestive, and reproductive systems.