It’s well-known that human health state, appearance and mood are highly affected by hormonal state of the body. Thus, the hormone Cortisol plays an important role, since its greatest concentration is released under stress. It refers to a group of Corticosteroids produced by the upper cortex of suprarenal gland and is necessary to stabilize the heart function and nervous activity. A human body can easily bear a single or slightly elevated Cortisol release, but too strong nervous and physical shocks, as well as a state of constant stress over a long period may lead to very serious consequences for health and even life.
What Causes High Cortisol Levels?
There may be different reasons of high Cortisol levels; some of the have a pathologic character, the others don’t. Pathological reasons are usually connected with functioning of suprarenal capsule and pituitary gland:
– Hyperactivity of thyroid body. Supersecretion of the thyroid hormones forces metabolism greatly thus putting the organism to unpredictable chronic stress with an increased Cortisol level in blood;
– Secreted adenoma of suprarenal capsule. It destroys the mechanisms between hypothalamus, pituitary gland and suprarenal capsule thus increasing Cortisol levels too much;
– Cellular carcinoma of the suprarenal capsule. Unlike adenoma, carcinoma is a cancerous growth, which stimulates Cortisol secretion;
– Adrenal hyperplasia. Hyperplasia is an anomalous organ size. Enlarged suprarenal capsule produce anomalously high level of Cortisol;
– Small-cell lung cancer. This is a cancer that affects mainly smokers. It can cause intracerebral secretion of ACTH, which stimulates the secretion of Cortisol;
– Rectal cancer. Even if there are no lesions, rectal cancer increases Cortisol level in blood.
Another group of reasons what causes high Cortisol level is connected with the way of living of a certain patient:
– Stress. Cortisol is known as a stress hormone. It seems clear that any stressful situation may boost the level of this hormone: strenuous physical activity, excessive mental workload, bereavement, grave responsibility, strong doldrums and so on;
– Complex coordination sports;
– Eating lots of carbohydrate-rich and high-glycemic food;
– Taking some sorts of medications (antifertility agents, spironolactone for acne treatment, and prednisone);
– Despite the fact that pregnancy is a natural process, it is the stress for the female body and her nervous system that causes an increase of the Cortisol secretion.
What are the High Cortisol Symptoms?
Too high Cortisol level firstly damages the thyroid functions. As a result the production of other hormones decreases that leads to certain health problems. All the high Cortisol symptoms are rather dangerous and demands diagnosis and treatment. Among the most widespread symptoms are the following ones:
– Asthenic reaction. It involves chronic laxity even after a minimal exertion;
– Decrease in immunity. High Cortisol level doesn’t let lymphocytes produce defensive protein;
– Sexual problems and sterility. High Cortisol diminishes the secretion of reproductive hormones both in men and women;
– Decrease in immunity;
– High Cortisol leads to uncontrolled feed intake that can result in fat depot on the neck, stomach, face and upper arms;
– Gastrointestinal disorders. They’re connected with the previous two high Cortisol symptoms and manifest in gastritis, pancreatitis, heartburn and peptic ulcer;
– Chronis high Cortisol level suppresses the production of bone tissue;
– Decrease in memory and cognitive abilities;
– Sleep problems.
It’s impossible to ignore all the symptoms and health problems caused by high Cortisol that’s why it’s may be useful to know how to reduce Cortisol and improve health.
Diagnostics of Cortisol Levels
It is held that any person regardless of age, sex, race and weight, has a Cortisol level not more that 10mg/dL. Since the Cortisol level during the day is quite unstable, high Cortisol levels are 80-150mg/dL. But if the level exceeds 180mg/dL, then we are talking about a very high level of Cortisol in the blood. This indicates the presence of extreme stress, close to the shock state, or very serious physical fatigue, even the exhaustion of all forces. Usually doctors assign their patients to have Cortisol blood level drawn to determine Cortisol level. Taking into account the fact that Cortisol levels differ within the day, it’s recommended to submit to a blood test twice in one day.
However, diagnosis and treatment of high Cortisol levels is impossible without a number of clinical studies:
– Computer tomography;
– MRT of hypophysis and suprarenal capsule;
– Chest X-ray.
Identification of index cases is necessary for the specialist to decide how to lower Cortisol levels and for order entry. There are people who just take testosterone containing steroids because they cause Cortisol decrease. Unfortunately, they do it without extra clinical studies. It may be rather dangerous because uncontrolled intake of some oral anabolic steroids may lead some grave diseases provoked with hormonal flux. Moreover you may have any contraindications for steroid intake. For instance, medication with a patent name nebido is not for women and for persons with prostatic carcinoma. That’s why it’s highly recommended to visit a doctor and rely on his or her professional opinion in the terms of treatment option.
How to Lower Cortisol Levels? Natural Reduction
At suspicion on the elevated level of Cortisol, it’s recommended to seek medical help from a thyroid specialist. This is the very specialists who determines the primary causes of the hormonal imbalance and knows how to decrease a high Cortisol. Every person who wants to recover his or her Cortisol level should know that there is no a universal remedy for the purpose. In addition, doctors give precedence to natural methods of Cortisol reduction.
Most of these ways are aimed to increase a testosterone level in blood. The thing is that testosterone is a major hormone that inhibits the growth of Cortisol level in the organism. That’s why all the recommendations you’ll read below are ways to increase natural testosterone level that professional sportsmen and bodybuilders follow to keep the growth of their muscle tissue and strength:
– Daily rest and night sleep not less than 7-8 hours. A good rest is one of the most important ways to lower Cortisol level. It’s well documented that if a person doesn’t get enough sleep, all the rest methods will be absolutely useless. The thing is that a person with a chronic lack of sleep is in a steady-state stress, which causes an increase in the stress hormone, Cortisol;
– No bad habits including caffeine abuse;
– Change of occupation if it’s emotionally draining;
– Healthy eating. For the reduction of the hormone harmful influence and for muscle recovery, it’s recommended to eat food products containing easily digested proteins (dairy products, cottage cheese and eggs). Besides, it’s very healthy to follow a meal plan, watch your calories and not to eat too much sweets.
– Medium physical activity. Regular sports for 40-60 minutes twice a week are quite enough to keep testosterone level in blood. Testosterone increase happens while intensive stimulation of internal organs. When the body is on the move, hormones are produced, which give you strength and hardiness. Besides, the “hormone of happiness” endorphin is produced. It promotes well-being of a person, gives self-confidence and fills the cells of the body with energy. But excessive training has the opposite effect. Overtraining causes stress and an increase in Cortisol level, which diminishes the secretion of testosterone;
– Positive attitude to life. It’s considered to be the best reducer of high Cortisol because stress and stressful situations are major triggers of hypercorticism;
– Taking vitamin-mineral complex. They may be in two forms: pills and supplements. Most food supplements to lower Cortisol levels contain vitamin C, magnesium and glutamine. The best supplements contain acid magnesium salts such as magnesium chloride, citrate, gluconate or glycinate. They reduce high Cortisol level and have some more advantages: they boost immune system and increase protein production. There is one more group of supplements, which are aimed to increase testosterone level. Among these supplements are Halodrol and forskolin. However, specialists recommend to take them only on the assumption of regular training and under the care of a doctor.
How to Reduce Cortisol: Pharmaceutical Treatment
When the level of Cortisol is pathological, specialists prescribe special medications. As it was already said, there are no specific medications for decrease of Cortisol secretion. That’s why specialists usually prescribe drugs, which effect on Cortisol is a side-effect. They are:
– Growth hormone preparations;
– Thyroid hormone preparations;
– Steroids. Everyone who knows what do steroids do are sure that they’re the best preparations to decrease Cortisol level though their main action is focused on testosterone increase. As it was already mentioned above, increasing testosterone level diminishes Cortisol growth. Taking into account the specificity of the action of such preparations, patients should rely on the opinion of the doctor in the choice of steroids to reduce the level of Cortisol. It is drostanolone propionate, which works well in practice. Besides suppressing catabolic processes in the body by reducing the production of Cortisol, it has valuable properties for any athlete. So, it increases the muscle definition and reduces the quantity of fat tissue.
It should be noted that most anabolic steroids are safe enough, but only in the case of their course intake and without exceeding the prescribed dosage. In addition, it will be incorrect to use additional drugs to enhance their effects such as Anastrozole and the like. It should be understood that all these drugs affect the hormonal background of a person, which influences a human health in general.