Which are the Right Supplements to Reduce Cortisol? Adrenal Adaptogens vs. Adrenal Extracts
This blog post was inspired by a great question about cortisol, the stress hormone, and adrenal adaptogens vs. adrenal extracts. Both have been used as supplements to reduce cortisol but they have very different impacts on your body.
It’s a great question because understanding cortisol and how to reset it is crucial for combating chronic health issues, inflammation and reversing autoimmune disease.
Cortisol and the Importance of Relaxation Techniques
Cortisol can get disrupted and stuck in stress mode, leading to a long list of health issues.
It is vital to engage in relaxation activities like:
- Tai Chi
- Repetitive prayer
- Deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
These activities create calm in the body and help cortisol shift from stress mode to relaxation mode. The science is clear that it’s daily consistency that provides the most benefits. Five minutes a day is better than 30 to 60 minutes a few times a week.
Relaxation techniques also have a profound impact on optimizing epigenetics by turning off bad genes and turning on good genes in every cell of the body.
Harvard did a study that documented how daily meditation optimizes epigenetics and does it very quickly. The researchers rechecked epigenetics after only eight weeks of teaching people how to do meditation.
Researchers found the meditators were already flipping hundreds of genes the right way and stated this is exactly what you want to do to treat and prevent all types of autoimmune and chronic disease.
Addressing Physical Stress
In addition to relaxation techniques, it is essential to address the physical stressors causing cortisol imbalances.
These can include infections, vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances, gut disruptions, and food sensitivities.
Addressing these factors can help cortisol transition from stress mode to relaxation mode.
For individuals in their mid-teens or older, adrenal adaptogens are often necessary to help rebalance cortisol levels.
Adrenal adaptogens, such as the AdrenaMed available on my website, contain herbs and vitamins that help cortisol find calm and facilitate healing.
Understanding Cortisol, DHEA, and the “Running from a Bear” Analogy
Cortisol can get stuck in the stress mode (fight or flight mode) and cause another important adrenal hormone, DHEA, to rise.
DHEA helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, keeps the brain sharp, and prevents osteoporosis. However, DHEA cannot sustain high levels forever, and when it crashes, cortisol can start to decrease as well, leading to various health issues.
Imagine you’re running from a bear 24/7 – that’s what being stuck in stress mode feels like.
Your body needs DHEA to prevent heart attacks, strokes, brain fog, osteoporosis, and joint pain while you’re “running” from the bear. However, when DHEA crashes, you feel worse, and cortisol levels start to become a ticking time bomb for serious health issues.
Adrenal Adaptogens: Balancing High and Low Cortisol
A saliva cortisol test can determine if your cortisol levels are high or low.
But even without the test, adrenal adaptogens can help balance cortisol levels by bringing them down if they’re high and raising them if they’re low.
This allows your cortisol rhythm to return to normal, ensuring a good night’s sleep and a refreshed start in the morning.
Adrenal Extracts Can Be Counterproductive to Reducing Cortisol
In some cases, adrenal extracts may seem like a solution for low cortisol levels.
However, using adrenal extracts can be counterproductive, as they can increase cortisol levels when the body is trying to fight off infections by lowering cortisol.
Instead, using adrenal adaptogens like AdrenaMed and relaxation techniques can help reset cortisol levels once the infections have been addressed.
In conclusion, understanding cortisol and managing it through relaxation techniques and adrenal adaptogens can help improve your overall health and well-being.