9

votes

Best hack to lower cortisol and increase leptin sensitivity?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 24, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Shooting from the hip, looking at my myself, I don't think that my leptin sensitivity is out of whack (albeit it could probably be much better) -- I am pretty sure my cortisol levels are completely out of whack --- high stress from my day job, high stress from admin-ing PaleoHacks (just kidding), not enough sleep b/c of job & Paleo babby, and I probably drink waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy too much coffee. (Bad Patrik! Bad Patrik!)

One of our most popular PaleoHackers, The Quilt writes:

If you are fit or in decent shape and not sure based upon the above symptoms I would tell you to go get a blood test and check your reverse T3. It will be elevated. I also recommend simultaneously checking a salivary cortisol level.

Which describes me fairly well --- could stand to lose a few pounds (maybe 10-15 lbs) but am not really overweight and don't have any inflammation.

So, my question is -- for people in my condition, leptin probably okay, but could be better. Cortisol levels probably very bad. What would you and/or The Quilt suggest about people in my condition?

Gimme a prescriptive hack, the more concrete the better.

BTW If you say "stop stressing" or "work less" -- I might drop my ban hammer on you. Only sort of kidding.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I am still confused as to how one knows they have cortisol issues. There's all kinds of talk on here about it but how is one certain that cortisol is the culprit and not something else? I thought I had the same thing but I just don't fit the descriptions. (Sorry if I raised your cortisol, Patrik. Blame it on my socialist ways)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 08, 2012
at 04:15 AM

Apparently nothing.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 21, 2011
at 02:28 PM

Quilt, how much Maca do you recommend? How long does it usually take to work (in your personal experience)?

B4313b18cc03036a6147543d7b0872d6

(566)

on July 26, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I've been reading on mindfulness meditation (The Mindful Brain, by Siegel). Siegel offers anecdotal and scientific evidence that such meditation actually rewires the brain. It's worth a look.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 25, 2011
at 08:00 PM

Quilt -You list in this comment section are my test results exactly. I am a women, though. My cortisol is extra low in the morning & sort of low the rest of the day. (saliva test). What do you suggest?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 06:01 PM

Um, that would be breathing exercises. Just breathing is great too. I try to do that all the time.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Nancy - breathing is great. I try to do it at least every early AM & before bed. More if I can remember. Surprisingly it really doesn't take long to have at least some effect.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Hating on meditation? Seriously?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Hey folks. When you leave a down vote, how about leaving an explanation? It would be informative/possibly useful to know why. 4 down - I'm curious.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 05:51 PM

I've blocked all the LEDs and placed the alarm clock across the room with a cover over it. It sure did help. I've put yellow "bug lights" in my night time lamps and I think that is helping too with better sleep, but I still haven't weaned off the nighttime computer. Sounds like time to do so.

D5096ff5baffc0ba5d20b21346414a7a

(1112)

on July 25, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I think if I have difficulty practicing gratitude daily that is just evidence that I need to incorporate the practice. The same is true of meditation and focused breathing. Can't make time for it...proof I need it.

62f89aa727cf3ce77c36651347cabc14

(884)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Well, don't drink coffee at or after lunch. :) Some coffee is fine. A lot of coffee is fine. Just time limit it to keep it from impacting your sleep and chronically elevating cortisol.

40f8d3ffac16ac3c098186a30d6068aa

(205)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:09 PM

Laughing meditation or other forms of active meditation are great for relieving stress. See pragito dove (http://discovermeditation.com/). My stomach muscles get a wonderful "workout" when I do this, and I feel on top of the world.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 25, 2011
at 02:50 PM

I've only tried it for an hour, mostly because I just fall asleep once I sit down. Blocking all LED's from direct line of sight really helps. If I do wake up, I don't bother to notice the time, because that involves turning on the alarm backlight and then I will stay awake longer. I just tell myself, "its early" and settle back into sleep. Works for me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:11 PM

dude, i need to move somewhere where i can surf. CA here I come

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:06 PM

Get a shortboard and surfing will become the best exercise you can do :p No workout compares to a couple hours of ripping on a HPSB

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:51 AM

Ironically these are the people I make do mindfulness on first and they are the most resistant to it. They drop their exercise but often it's not enough.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:51 AM

Do you know of any studies like this run on women? We often react differently.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:50 AM

Do you know of any studies like this run on women? We often react differently in clinical studies.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:50 AM

Plus one.......

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:50 AM

Plus one.......this is really true when patients demonstrate a mild pregnenolone steal syndrome at same time. Easiest way to find that out is check vitamin D levels, DHEA level and free and total testosterone. If all are lower than one would expect you can bet your ass their cortisol is a problem.......classic case there.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:47 AM

How long before sleep do you find best?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:45 AM

I've been trying walking meditation lately - I like it better than sitting and it seems an easier way for me to let go of thoughts and just be.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:15 AM

I use mac a because it is pro progesterone and anti cortisol so there is no spike in adrenaline. I have not seen big adrenaline spikes with adaptogens

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:11 AM

Surfing is a great core stabilizer set of exercises and very comparable to yoga

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on July 25, 2011
at 10:26 AM

well there isn't just one form of meditation!

91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

(1054)

on July 25, 2011
at 08:48 AM

I was also going to say Patrik should consider what could be altered around sleep to get more of it, seems like definitely the Occam's Razor when it comes to cortisol. (Note me writing this comment at 1:45 a.m.) Increasing exercise-related activities would seem to only exacerbate the problem here.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 25, 2011
at 07:35 AM

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081125113005.htm and this guy (http://kashdan.socialpsychology.org/#publications has also written lots about positive psychology and specifically gratitude (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090313145939.htm) and what's more it's a (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524072912.htm) "booster shot for romantic relationships"!

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on July 25, 2011
at 04:11 AM

Yup, punt the coffee.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on July 25, 2011
at 04:11 AM

And, I might add, don't drink caffeinated beverages. Drastic times, drastic measures.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:52 AM

@Arlokk -- going to implement that immediately. Thanks.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:52 AM

@Quilt -- I think I will eschew Crossfit-esque exercise for now as when I did long met-cons, it would jack me up and get me high/wired and buzzing on the stress. Felt great, but I couldn't sleep all night. Surfing for me is a walk in the park in terms of exercise.

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on July 25, 2011
at 02:57 AM

But... but... What if you don't wake up until 2pm? I would hate to have to drink my coffee in my sleep.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:56 AM

Fair enough, but if he's not gonna 'stop stressing', 'work less', or meditate, moderate exercise seems like a reasonable idea. no?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:04 AM

cant practice medicine over the net. I think if you read my stuff you will get a general feeling of what you need. To really get it all together requires a history and physical. One of the ladies from MDA showed up at my office unexpectedly for me to hack her spine. When she left an hour and 15 minutes later she knew more about what really was her problem based upon all the labs her other 7 docs drew. Getting labs is not enough. Knowing what they mean is paramount. Understanding that requires a history. Read my blog of today for an example. That was a spine patient who had a diet issue

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:01 AM

plus one......but some need higher protein levels.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:00 AM

eating early does surpress the AM cortisol. Its part of the leptin prescription. When I hear I cant do it......first thing I think of is LR and high cortisol issues.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:59 AM

exercise plus cortisol is great way to induce injury

2f361c2cec9ddf7409bf0094977aac1e

(150)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:53 AM

I've heard some of the recent gratitude research in passing and need to put it into practice. I have a chronic pattern of constantly thinking about what I DON'T have or what I HAVEN'T done.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:01 AM

My initial thought would be that cross-fit might be too stressful but that some, dare I say, moderate, exercise would actually help you manage stress quite nicely. Maybe surfing alone would do it? Maybe some moderate resistance training or some bike rides? The HIIT people don't seem to be big fans of moderate cardio, but there can be something very enjoyable and relaxing about it.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 11:26 PM

@Jeff -- exercise these days is almost non-existent. That said, I did surf for an hour this morning. But I need to start back into crossfit-esque real, intense exercise sometime soon -- but I am curious if I should fix my cortisol first...

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 11:24 PM

@TheQuilt -- been a while since I had labs done --- I suppose I could do some this week. Which ones do you suggest? (If they are not too expensive, I will do 'em this week.)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:59 PM

Hey Quilt, with adaptogens, do you think they could actually provoke a cortisol increase in some instances? Having taken ashwagandha in the evening and then not going to sleep, I've gotten an adrenalin rush feeling a few times.

E3c6d84c01a12e2ee1c49e2180d84238

(315)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:50 PM

I forgot to mention that I get some calories in me withing 30 minutes of rising in the morning. I don't like to eat a big breakfast before I swim, but some cream in my tea or a few nuts - this has helped enormously.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:42 PM

It's kind of cute that "Happy Now" suggested "practicing gratitude." ;)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:40 PM

I have a hunch patrik based upon my ambient awareness of you......pregnenolone and progesterone would likely help you......but it's hard to make those recs without labs. Do you know your latest CO2 levels? HDL and calculated LDL?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

I also use pregnenolone in patients with very high omega six to three ratios and elevated salivary cortisol.......again got to have context.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:26 PM

what is your exercise like?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:09 PM

I usually get Herb Pharm tinctures, but I'm sure there are many other good ones. They usually recommend 30-40 drops as a dosage (which conveniently is almost always 1 dropperful). Valerian is going to make you feel like you popped a valium, so don't take it before driving. I think it is best in the evening right after work. If your muscles feel rubbery, ease back on the dosage. For the Ashwagandha an evening dose about an hour before bedtime is good. The key is to go bed when it starts making you feel sleepy or you can get a boomerang effect. You can also take it in the morning.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:51 PM

@Happy Now -- what amounts of these?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:50 PM

Which variables, Quilty?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:49 PM

I practice plenty of gratitude everyday -- I truly live a blessed life -- but I need something more concrete than this.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:42 PM

Adaptogens are a levee in the quilt......I have not hit yet but those two are nice ones. My favorite is Maca.....and if your hormonally broken, which most of my patients are I use a secret weapon.......progesterone. But it has to used when you know more variables.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:40 PM

For some it's true.......

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:39 PM

Plus one.......

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:39 PM

Plus one.......

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:26 PM

+1 to make up for the point that went away. Weird. Maybe someone doesn't want Patrik to destress?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:13 PM

Seems concrete +1

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:03 PM

I think meditation is great -- that said, it ain't enough for me.

  • 93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

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12 Answers

best answer

4
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:40 AM

From this paper: Caffeinated Coffee...Prevents Serum Cortisol Concentrations from Falling in Healthy Men

This graph shows the effect of a morning coffee on cortisol levels.

best-hack-to-lower-cortisol-and-increase-leptin-sensitivity?

Changes in serum cortisol concentrations in men after the control (triangles), Caffeine (diamonds), and Defafinated (squares) interventions.

The 16 healthy young men in this study were habitual coffee drinkers. They were given 200ml of instant coffee, decaf or water with a meal at 9am after an overnight fast.

Cortisol is naturally high upon waking and falls during the morning. As you can see from the graph the coffee prevented most of this fall in cortisol for at least 3 hours and cortisol levels were a third higher. Even a single coffee in the morning might not be a great idea if you are worried about being stressed and having high cortisol levels.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:50 AM

Plus one.......

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:51 AM

Do you know of any studies like this run on women? We often react differently.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:51 AM

Ironically these are the people I make do mindfulness on first and they are the most resistant to it. They drop their exercise but often it's not enough.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 25, 2011
at 08:00 PM

Quilt -You list in this comment section are my test results exactly. I am a women, though. My cortisol is extra low in the morning & sort of low the rest of the day. (saliva test). What do you suggest?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:50 AM

Plus one.......this is really true when patients demonstrate a mild pregnenolone steal syndrome at same time. Easiest way to find that out is check vitamin D levels, DHEA level and free and total testosterone. If all are lower than one would expect you can bet your ass their cortisol is a problem.......classic case there.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:50 AM

Do you know of any studies like this run on women? We often react differently in clinical studies.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 08, 2012
at 04:15 AM

Apparently nothing.

7
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Learn to meditate. Great to take down cortisol.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1801007

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:03 PM

I think meditation is great -- that said, it ain't enough for me.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:39 PM

Plus one.......

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on July 25, 2011
at 10:26 AM

well there isn't just one form of meditation!

40f8d3ffac16ac3c098186a30d6068aa

(205)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:09 PM

Laughing meditation or other forms of active meditation are great for relieving stress. See pragito dove (http://discovermeditation.com/). My stomach muscles get a wonderful "workout" when I do this, and I feel on top of the world.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Hey folks. When you leave a down vote, how about leaving an explanation? It would be informative/possibly useful to know why. 4 down - I'm curious.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:45 AM

I've been trying walking meditation lately - I like it better than sitting and it seems an easier way for me to let go of thoughts and just be.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Hating on meditation? Seriously?

B4313b18cc03036a6147543d7b0872d6

(566)

on July 26, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I've been reading on mindfulness meditation (The Mindful Brain, by Siegel). Siegel offers anecdotal and scientific evidence that such meditation actually rewires the brain. It's worth a look.

5
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Eat 30 to 50 g of your daily protein soon after waking up. Eat it at the same time every day.

Eat your last meal, 10 to 12 hours before waking the next day.

This should help reset your daily hormonal rhythms, including cortisol.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:01 AM

plus one......but some need higher protein levels.

5
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 24, 2011
at 08:54 PM

This may be too along the lines of "stop stressing" and is going to sound really cheesy, but practicing gratitude about every little thing that goes right in your life can crowd out stressful thoughts, and I'm assuming stress hormone production too.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:13 PM

Seems concrete +1

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:26 PM

+1 to make up for the point that went away. Weird. Maybe someone doesn't want Patrik to destress?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:49 PM

I practice plenty of gratitude everyday -- I truly live a blessed life -- but I need something more concrete than this.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:42 PM

It's kind of cute that "Happy Now" suggested "practicing gratitude." ;)

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 25, 2011
at 07:35 AM

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081125113005.htm and this guy (http://kashdan.socialpsychology.org/#publications has also written lots about positive psychology and specifically gratitude (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090313145939.htm) and what's more it's a (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524072912.htm) "booster shot for romantic relationships"!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 06:01 PM

Um, that would be breathing exercises. Just breathing is great too. I try to do that all the time.

2f361c2cec9ddf7409bf0094977aac1e

(150)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:53 AM

I've heard some of the recent gratitude research in passing and need to put it into practice. I have a chronic pattern of constantly thinking about what I DON'T have or what I HAVEN'T done.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Nancy - breathing is great. I try to do it at least every early AM & before bed. More if I can remember. Surprisingly it really doesn't take long to have at least some effect.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:39 PM

Plus one.......

D5096ff5baffc0ba5d20b21346414a7a

(1112)

on July 25, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I think if I have difficulty practicing gratitude daily that is just evidence that I need to incorporate the practice. The same is true of meditation and focused breathing. Can't make time for it...proof I need it.

4
957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on July 25, 2011
at 10:42 AM

I think you need to get your saliva cortisol result first before deciding a plan of action. There are different stages of adrenal fatigue, each needing their own specific treatment. You don't know for certain that you have high cortisol - for all you know, the cortisol rhythm (peaks in the AM, dips in the evening) may be out of whack (in some people it is actually reversed), or you may be low across all 4 readings in the 24 hr test.

That said, there are many general things you can do, most of which have been suggested above. Other things are Vitamin C (the adrenals are Vitamin C hogs), high B5 (plus the other Bs are needed too), adaptogens are mentioned above. I have personally benefitted from licorice root which helps prevent the breakdown of cortisol by the liver (this effectively stretches out your cortisol supply) but you cannot take this if you have high blood pressure. I'm currently using Now's Super Cortisol and Nutricology's Adrenal Glandular to wean myself off hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is used by many "alternative" docs to give the adrenals a rest from cortisol production for a short period of time in the case of adrenal fatigue. I've also found that upping my fat intake has helped me immensely with weaning off it, which seems to indicate my use of fat as an energy source is taking some of the stress off different bodily systems.

Also get your DHEA-S (sulfate) checked as often this can be pooped if your adrenals are a bit tired.

A few people I know on a thyroid/adrenal forum take pregnenolone as this is a precursor to many steroids and hormones in the body. Ensuring you have enough good cholesterol in the body means you have the right building blocks to create these steroids and hormones in the first place.

For high cortisol, I know some who have taken phosphatidyl serine but I haven't personally.

The best book on this subject is "Adrenal Fatigue" by James Wilson: http://www.amazon.com/Adrenal-Fatigue-Century-Stress-Syndrome/dp/1890572152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311590364&sr=1-1

And, yeah, cut back on the coffee (swiss water decaf tastes just the same - I often mix half/half with regular coffee when I make it at home) - it sends your adrenals into a spin by releasing adrenaline which can eventually contribute to burnt out adrenals - something you want to avoid!

3
183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

on July 25, 2011
at 06:54 AM

Been dealing with the same cortisol issues here - this is what worked for me so far -

~ Totally gave up coffee. Still drink black tea, but for some reason the caffeine from tea affects me differently than coffee. Doesn't "wire" me.

~ Being REALLY strict with sleep - start winding down at 9:30, lights out at 10pm. This is the hardest, especially socially. But so worth it. I know that you said the sleep thing is hard, but I would go so far as to alter other things around sleep to facilitate it - sincerely believe it's THAT important.

~ Cutting back on Tabata style HIIT stuff and doing more "relaxing" exercise - long walks and callanetics.

~ Doing a few more things just for pleasure and freeing up the mind to distract yourself from work stress - watching movies, drawing for fun (I am am illustrator and have been exclusively drawing for clients only for months and months (stressful) neglecting my own personal art. Doodling for myself helped tremendously, alter to fit your hobby/passion in life)

After about a month my IBS is much better and the fat around my midsection is finally starting to budge.

91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

(1054)

on July 25, 2011
at 08:48 AM

I was also going to say Patrik should consider what could be altered around sleep to get more of it, seems like definitely the Occam's Razor when it comes to cortisol. (Note me writing this comment at 1:45 a.m.) Increasing exercise-related activities would seem to only exacerbate the problem here.

3
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 24, 2011
at 11:56 PM

Every evening, get off all the things you are plugged into and just do something else before sleep. Disable all blue LED's.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:47 AM

How long before sleep do you find best?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 25, 2011
at 02:50 PM

I've only tried it for an hour, mostly because I just fall asleep once I sit down. Blocking all LED's from direct line of sight really helps. If I do wake up, I don't bother to notice the time, because that involves turning on the alarm backlight and then I will stay awake longer. I just tell myself, "its early" and settle back into sleep. Works for me.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 05:51 PM

I've blocked all the LEDs and placed the alarm clock across the room with a cover over it. It sure did help. I've put yellow "bug lights" in my night time lamps and I think that is helping too with better sleep, but I still haven't weaned off the nighttime computer. Sounds like time to do so.

3
560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on July 24, 2011
at 09:16 PM

Maybe put a hold on the coffee for a bit, Last time I did this I lasted 4 days but I think I need to give it a 30day pass.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on July 25, 2011
at 04:11 AM

Yup, punt the coffee.

3
62f89aa727cf3ce77c36651347cabc14

(884)

on July 24, 2011
at 08:17 PM

Don't drink coffee after 11am.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on July 25, 2011
at 04:11 AM

And, I might add, don't drink caffeinated beverages. Drastic times, drastic measures.

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on July 25, 2011
at 02:57 AM

But... but... What if you don't wake up until 2pm? I would hate to have to drink my coffee in my sleep.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:40 PM

For some it's true.......

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:52 AM

@Arlokk -- going to implement that immediately. Thanks.

62f89aa727cf3ce77c36651347cabc14

(884)

on July 25, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Well, don't drink coffee at or after lunch. :) Some coffee is fine. A lot of coffee is fine. Just time limit it to keep it from impacting your sleep and chronically elevating cortisol.

2
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2011
at 09:49 AM

Go for long walks in natural places - beaches, forests, mountains etc. Put the emphasis on enjoying and relaxing rather than making time. Pick some edibles on the way. Sit in a stream or walk in the surf. Very paleo.

1
E3c6d84c01a12e2ee1c49e2180d84238

on July 24, 2011
at 10:20 PM

I'm dealing with the cortisol issue too and, along with identifying allergens, exercising to relax rather than to work up a sweat (I try and do an almost leisurely and meditative swim several times a week), what has helped me is to try and stop at least a dozen times a day and unclench my neck, shoulders, abdomen, and anything else that might be knotted up. I usually find that if I relax my solar plexus first, the rest will follow. It's still hard for me to maintain the relaxed posture, but I'm hoping that if I do it for twenty seconds as often as I can remember to, it will become a habit. (I also sing as lustily as I can for at least ten minutes (like in the shower). I get to do controlled yelling and regular deep breathing at the same time.)

E3c6d84c01a12e2ee1c49e2180d84238

(315)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:50 PM

I forgot to mention that I get some calories in me withing 30 minutes of rising in the morning. I don't like to eat a big breakfast before I swim, but some cream in my tea or a few nuts - this has helped enormously.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:00 AM

eating early does surpress the AM cortisol. Its part of the leptin prescription. When I hear I cant do it......first thing I think of is LR and high cortisol issues.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:20 PM

Okay, 2 strikes here, I'm gonna swing one more time. Hack it with herbs, valerian and ashwaganda both reduce cortisol production.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:09 PM

I usually get Herb Pharm tinctures, but I'm sure there are many other good ones. They usually recommend 30-40 drops as a dosage (which conveniently is almost always 1 dropperful). Valerian is going to make you feel like you popped a valium, so don't take it before driving. I think it is best in the evening right after work. If your muscles feel rubbery, ease back on the dosage. For the Ashwagandha an evening dose about an hour before bedtime is good. The key is to go bed when it starts making you feel sleepy or you can get a boomerang effect. You can also take it in the morning.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:51 PM

@Happy Now -- what amounts of these?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:42 PM

Adaptogens are a levee in the quilt......I have not hit yet but those two are nice ones. My favorite is Maca.....and if your hormonally broken, which most of my patients are I use a secret weapon.......progesterone. But it has to used when you know more variables.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 01:04 AM

cant practice medicine over the net. I think if you read my stuff you will get a general feeling of what you need. To really get it all together requires a history and physical. One of the ladies from MDA showed up at my office unexpectedly for me to hack her spine. When she left an hour and 15 minutes later she knew more about what really was her problem based upon all the labs her other 7 docs drew. Getting labs is not enough. Knowing what they mean is paramount. Understanding that requires a history. Read my blog of today for an example. That was a spine patient who had a diet issue

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 09:50 PM

Which variables, Quilty?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:59 PM

Hey Quilt, with adaptogens, do you think they could actually provoke a cortisol increase in some instances? Having taken ashwagandha in the evening and then not going to sleep, I've gotten an adrenalin rush feeling a few times.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:40 PM

I have a hunch patrik based upon my ambient awareness of you......pregnenolone and progesterone would likely help you......but it's hard to make those recs without labs. Do you know your latest CO2 levels? HDL and calculated LDL?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

I also use pregnenolone in patients with very high omega six to three ratios and elevated salivary cortisol.......again got to have context.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 24, 2011
at 11:24 PM

@TheQuilt -- been a while since I had labs done --- I suppose I could do some this week. Which ones do you suggest? (If they are not too expensive, I will do 'em this week.)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 25, 2011
at 11:15 AM

I use mac a because it is pro progesterone and anti cortisol so there is no spike in adrenaline. I have not seen big adrenaline spikes with adaptogens

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 21, 2011
at 02:28 PM

Quilt, how much Maca do you recommend? How long does it usually take to work (in your personal experience)?

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