Home Hormones High Cortisol Levels: Symptoms, Reasons and the Ways of Reduction!

High Cortisol Levels: Symptoms, Reasons and the Ways of Reduction!

Posted by admin in Hormones Category. Reviewed and Updated: 1 July, 2019

It’s well known that our overarching health, countenance, and moods are greatly affected by our hormonal. Thus, cortisol plays a pivotal 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 cardiac function and nervous activity.

The body can easily bear a singular or slightly elevated cortisol release, but blistering nervous and physical shocks and a state of immutable stress over a long period may lead to substantial consequences.

What Causes High Cortisol Levels?

High cortisol levels develop for a plethora of reasons. Some sufferers experience spikes in cortisol of a pathologic character. Pathological reasons are usually linked to the operation of the suprarenal capsule and pituitary gland.

  • Hyperactivity of the thyroid: supersecretion of thyroidal hormones greatly prompts the metabolism thus straining the body and bringing on temperamental chronic stress with an erratic increase in cortisol.
  • Secreted adenoma of suprarenal capsule: this destroys the mechanisms between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the suprarenal capsule thus increasing cortisol levels immensely.
  • 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. An enlarged suprarenal capsule produces anomalously high levels of cortisol.
  • Small-cell lung cancer: this cancer primarily affects smokers. It can cause intracerebral secretions of ACTH, which sparks the secretion of cortisol.
  • Rectal cancer: even if there are no lesions, rectal cancer increases cortisol levels.

High cortisol levels are also linked to the lifestyle of the patient:

  • Stress: cortisol is the stress hormone. Any stressful situation may boost the level of this hormone. This includes, but isn’t limited to, strenuous physical activity, excessive mental workloads, bereavement, massive responsibilities, a case of the doldrums and so on.
  • Complex coordination sports
  • Eating excessive carbohydrate-rich and foods high on the glycemic index
  • Some sorts of medications: antifertility agents, spironolactone for acne treatment, and prednisone for asthma, arthritis, and immune system dysfunctions

Despite pregnancy being a natural process, it still induces stress on the feminine form that causes an uptick in cortisol secretion.

What Are the Symptoms of High Cortisol?

Jumps in the cortisol level firstly and severely damages thyroid functions. As a result, the production of other essential hormones decreases, leading to certain health problems. All the high cortisol symptoms are rather dangerous and demand quick diagnosis and hasty treatment. Among the most widespread symptoms are:

  • Asthenic reaction: this involves chronic laxity even after a minimal exertion
  • Decreased immunity: high cortisol levels prohibit lymphocytes from producing defensive proteins.
  • Hypertension
  • Sexual problems and sterility: disproportionate cortisol remits the secretion of reproductive hormones both in men and women.
  • Uncontrolled hunger: high cortisol leads to uncontrolled feed intake that results in fatty deposits on the neck, stomach, face, and upper arms.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: these manifest as gastritis, pancreatitis, heartburn, and peptic ulcers.
  • Bone tissue production suppression
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Compromised memory and cognitive abilities
  • Sleep deprivation

Never ignore any of these symptoms. Discuss your experiences with your physician so appropriate combative measures can be established.

Diagnostics of Cortisol Levels

It is held that everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, and weight, has a cortisol level, not more than 10 mcg/dL (micrograms per deciliter). Since cortisol levels in the daytime are quite unstable, high cortisol levels are 80–150 mcg/dL.

If levels exceed 180 mcg/dL, it’s cause for concern. This indicates the presence of extreme stressors, close to shock, or very serious physical fatigue, even diagnosable exhaustion. Usually, doctors assign their patients to have bloods drawn to determine cortisol levels. Because cortisol content varies throughout the day, systematic multiple tests are ordered to achieve the most accurate reading.

However, diagnosis and treatment of high cortisol levels are impossible without a number of clinical studies:

  • Computed tomography (CT scan)
  • MRT or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the hypophysis and suprarenal capsule
  • Chest X-ray

Identification is necessary for your practitioner to decide how to lower cortisol levels and for order entry in your electronic medical record and other hospital systems.

Many people take steroid containing testosterone because they induce a cortisol decline. Unfortunately, they do so unsupervised and without extra clinical studies. This is dangerous because an uncontrolled intake of some oral anabolic steroids may lead to some serious diseases provoked by the hormonal flux.

Moreover, you may have contraindications for steroid intake. For instance, the medication under the patent name Nebido is not for women nor persons with prostatic carcinoma. That’s why it’s highly recommended to visit a doctor and rely on his or her professional opinion in terms of treatment options.

How to Lower Cortisol Levels—A Natural Reduction

Under suspicion of an elevation in cortisol? Seek medical advice from a thyroid specialist. These are the very specialists who determine the primary causes of hormonal imbalances. They’re fully equipped with the knowledge of decreasing high cortisol levels in unique situations. There is no universal remedy. In addition, doctors continually give precedence to natural methods of cortisol reduction before resorting to prescription drugs.

The aim is to increase the testosterone level in the blood. Testosterone is a major hormone that inhibits the growth of cortisol levels. The below recommendations are methods of increasing natural testosterone levels that professional athletes and bodybuilders follow to retain the growth of their muscle tissue and strength:

Getting daily rest and a night’s sleep, not less than seven to eight hours. A good rest is one of the easiest ways to lower cortisol levels. It’s well documented that if a person doesn’t get enough sleep, all other methods will be fruitless. A person with a chronic lack of sleep is in a steady state of stress, which causes an increase in cortisol.

Abstaining from bad habits including caffeine abuse, excessive alcohol use, smoking, etc.

Consider a change of occupation if it’s emotionally draining
Maintaining a healthy diet. For the reduction of cortisol 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 kiss candies goodbye.

Engaging in moderate physical activity. Regular sports for 40 to 60 minutes twice a week suffices for keeping testosterone levels adequate. Testosterone increases during intensive stimulation of internal organs. When the body is on the move, hormones are produced, which offer strength and hardiness. Besides, the happiness hormone, endorphins, are produced. Endorphins promote wellbeing, invigorates self-confidence, and fills the cells with energy. Excessive training has the opposite effect. Overstraining causes stress and an increase in cortisol which diminishes the secretion of testosterone.

Holding a positive outlook on life. It’s considered among the best reducers of high cortisol because stress and stressful situations are major triggers of hypercorticism.

Taking vitamin and mineral complexes. They may be in two forms—pills or supplements. Most supplements that 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 levels, boost the immune system, and increase protein production. Further supplements that increase testosterone levels include Halodrol (chlorodehydromethylandrostenediol, CDMA) and Forskolin (coleonol). However, specialists recommend taking them only on the assumption of regular trainings and under the supervision of a doctor.

How to Reduce Cortisol with Pharmaceutical Treatment


When elevated cortisol is pathological, endocrinologists prescribe special medications. As previously discussed, there are no specific medications for the decrease of cortisol secretion. So specialists rely on prescriptions—of which a side effect is cortisol diminution. They are growth hormone preparations, thyroid hormone preparations, and steroids.

Everyone who knows what steroids do is sure they’re the best potions to decrease cortisol levels, as their main actions are focused on testosterone increase. Increasing testosterone levels stifles cortisol growth. Taking into account the specificity of the action of such preparations, patients should rely on the opinion of the doctor in choosing a steroid to reduce cortisol.

Drostanolone propionate works well in practice. Besides suppressing catabolic processes in the body by reducing the production of Cortisol, it has valuable properties for any athlete. It increases muscle definition and reduces the quantity of fat tissue.

Note that most anabolic steroids are safe enough, but only when their course intake is not abusive. Exceeding the prescribed dosage is ill-advised. In addition, it would be incorrect to use additional drugs to enhance their effects such as Anastrozole, and the like. It should be understood that all these drugs can affect our hormonal background which influences human health in totality.