Ever been so stressed you think your body would shut down? Well, your stress hormone cortisol must have been released in excess quantities due to the level of stress you were going through. Cortisol is your body’s primary stress hormone released by the adrenal gland whenever you are stressed.
Bosterbio.com tells us that this steroid hormone plays a lot of roles in the body. It even aids in the control of blood sugar levels. Please speak to one of their representatives for antibody tests and BDNF Elisa kits. Due to the stress of chores, work, and workouts in the morning, cortisol levels are always high in the morning but reduce as the day goes by. Let’s take a look at some roles of cortisol.
Roles of Cortisol in the body:
- Controls the body’s blood pressure
- It helps the body manage how it uses proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Reduction of inflammation
- Regulating when the body sleeps and wakes up
Is high cortisol a problem?
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Every hormone has its function in the body, and for that function to be achieved, it must not be over-secreted or under-secreted. Too little or too many levels of hormones cause malfunctions in the body and might lead to health issues. Now, the body depends on the effective communication of three parts of the human body to secrete the right amount of cortisol. These three glands include;
- The pituitary gland
- The adrenal gland and
- The hypothalamus (this is a part of the brain).
They function in sync to stimulate the secretion of the steroid hormone cortisol when the body needs it and block the secretion when the amount needs to drop. Too much or too little cortisol can be dangerous to the body. How do you know when the body has too little cortisol? Here are some symptoms of low cortisol levels.
Symptoms of Low Cortisol levels
- Low blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Abnormal weight loss
- Darkening of certain areas of the skin
- Muscle weakness
Low cortisol levels can create a health condition known as Addison’s disease. Let’s take a glimpse at the symptoms of high cortisol levels in the body.
Symptoms of High Cortisol levels
Apart from stress, high cortisol levels in the body could indicate a tumour or a side effect of certain drugs. Cushing’s syndrome is the result of high cortisol levels. The following are symptoms to look out for:
- Frequent urination
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased libido
- Increased thirst
- The appearance of bruises or purplish stretch marks
- A flushed face
- Sudden mood swings
- Sudden weight gain in the abdomen and face
- Irregular periods or stopping of menstruation
Increased levels of cortisol can lead to the following medical conditions:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Impaired functioning of the brain
- Extreme tiredness
Natural Ways To Manage High Cortisol
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The body can increase and reduce cortisol levels whenever it needs to. Sometimes, cortisol levels remain high even after stress levels drop. The following natural ways of managing high cortisol levels will always come in handy.
1. Reduce stress
If you find out that your cortisol levels are high, the first thing you must do is reduce stress. This can be achieved by getting yourself out of that stressful environment or situation or learning to manage your stress. Adopt fun ways to cope with stress, and you can easily manage your cortisol levels better. You can neither do any of those above two, and you can get medications to improve your stress tolerance as prescribed by your doctor.
2. Adopt healthy relaxation techniques
Try out every relaxation technique you have heard about to find which suits you best. Simple techniques such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, and meditation can go a long way to help you maintain a stable cortisol level.
3. Get enough sleep
Your body suffers when you are sleep bereaved, and the more you don’t get enough sleep, the more you are at risk of an increased cortisol level. Therefore, ensure enough sleep and maintain a healthy bedtime routine to get that quality sleep your body needs.
4. Eat a healthy diet
An apple a day remains the doctor away alright. This applies to managing high cortisol levels. A healthy diet keeps your cortisol level in check. Ensure to watch your sugar intake. Here are some foods to take when trying to stabilize your cortisol levels; Pears and bananas, dark chocolate, probiotics in food like yoghurt, and foods that have soluble fibre. Ensure to stay hydrated too.
5. Have fun
Take vacations, take up a hobby, learn a fun art for relaxation, paint, draw, dance, start your hands up in the air and laugh so hard while having fun. Being happy and having a positive mindset helps to keep your cortisol levels stable. Take breaks from work and have the pleasure of your life because there’s no better way to reduce stress and maintain a healthy cortisol level.
6. Exercise every chance you get
Physical activities such as mild field games, swimming can improve your mood, thereby improving your cortisol levels too. Ensure not to go too hard at your exercises as it might trigger an increase in cortisol levels instead of stabilizing it.
7. Have good relationships
Peaceful and loving relationships with family, partner, and friends goes a long way to stabilize cortisol levels. This is because no matter the stress you go through and have a loving partner or family to go home to, it quiets the storm and causes a happy glow that helps control cortisol levels.
High cortisol levels can be deadly. Therefore take a trip to the hospital if you have tried these natural ways and still can’t get your cortisol levels to stabilize.