3

votes

How would you/did you lower cortisol?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

After a year or so of being suspicious that my cortisol was high [inability to lose fat, (gaining, in fact) despite a strict diet and increasing exercise] some lab tests confirmed my suspicions.

So, now what? I have read conflicting arguments for high vs low carb, HIIT vs lifting heavy, fasting vs no fasting. I am at roughly 50-75g of carbs per day from veggies and sweet potato or winter squash. Workouts are first thing in the morning, fasted. I had been doing P90X for quite a while and most recently finished Body Beast. Grass fed beef, sardines, eggs from a local farmer, sweet potatoes or winter squash and veggies make up my diet. No caffeine, no dairy. Rare fruit, berries once a week or so.

I'm not sure where to go from here. What have you done (or what would you do) with your diet and exercise that has successfully lowered your cortisol?

Thanks in advance.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on March 03, 2013
at 10:48 PM

I'm still working on it. Shorter workouts, more starchy carbs, trying to relax more. I haven't noticed a difference one way or the other...I'm so impatient.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on March 03, 2013
at 10:41 PM

hey have you figured anything out?

Medium avatar

(389)

on February 17, 2013
at 10:39 PM

Correct - I believe siberian ginseng raises it but there is another that lowers it. Might have to do a little research, but when it comes to this stuff it's worth it, Cortisol is huge!

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 17, 2013
at 07:36 PM

Yes, more from a diet and exercise standpoint. I totally agree with reducing stress and many of the methods mentioned.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 17, 2013
at 07:32 PM

The description of your previous exercise pattern is so perfect for me I could have written it myself.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on February 16, 2013
at 09:03 AM

You wanna know why ice cubes are so boring? It's cause you make 'em out of stupid water!

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on February 15, 2013
at 02:06 PM

please see if there is any way you can calmn down, especially first thing in the am. perhaps make a different ritual, drink some tea and stretch, eat a meal early, it doesnt have to be big, straight up easy to digest proteins and fats, this will help your body to pull energy from the meal, not from the endocrine system. then do some light exercise. its really necessary to keep your exercise short, less then 45 minutes or you will start to get into stress zone.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on February 15, 2013
at 02:04 PM

yep, i have been there, i suffered from exercise bullemia(its a real thing) for years. exercising in the morning took the cake for amping me up and frying my adrenals. i would wake up at 4:30 and BOLT out the door, almost in a panic, to run, do jumping jacks, MOOOVE. always fasted. its actually a great way to elicite cortisol. at 4 in the morning you should be sound asleep, its the time of day your adrenals and kidneys are due for repair. i wish someone had enlightened me to CALM THE FUCK DOWN, when i had a better chance. i fought it for a few years, and totally burnt myself out.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 15, 2013
at 10:15 AM

I am a type A personality, something I am working on. I find that not exercising stresses me out even more. I'm trying to find that balance where I am exercising at an amount that is helpful and not harmful. Thanks for your thoughts.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 15, 2013
at 10:14 AM

I never even thought to search pub med, thanks!

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 15, 2013
at 10:11 AM

But then how could I read these suggestions? :)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on February 15, 2013
at 06:22 AM

Get rid of all technology and artificial light http://www.jackkruse.com/emf-5-what-are-the-biologic-effects-of-emf/

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 14, 2013
at 11:23 PM

I guess you mean from a diet standpoint, I would focus on the non-diet stuff if you are already paleo. Stress is a state of mind.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 14, 2013
at 11:22 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by conflicting advice? They all seem to recommend the same sorta thinga. I.E. meditation, yoga, etc. A few people have some more unique ideas, but I don't really notice anyone disagreeing with them.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 14, 2013
at 05:06 PM

bed before it gets too late so that you don't artificially keep your cortisol up into the wee hours with artificial lighting. I'm usually in bed by 10 and up by 6 and I feel like that has helped some from when I used to stay up till all hours of the night. I feel like this might fall into circadian biology which tbh I don't know much about. But I think turning out the lights at a reasonable hour (few hours after sunset) and going to bed is a good idea. I find I get more done in the early morning than I would playing night owl anyways.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 14, 2013
at 05:04 PM

Yea, that may or may not be helping your cortisol levels, I wouldn't be able to say without testing. But remember something important, you DO NOT want to lower your cortisol levels, what you want to do is create more dynamic cortisol levels, ie you want them high in the morning and low in the evening. A flatlined cortisol high or low is predictive of health issues, you don't want to lower it, you want it to be in rhythm, you want it high and low, just at different times. With that being said, one thing I think I can say relatively definitively is that for optimal cortisol you want to get to

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 14, 2013
at 04:39 PM

Hmmm...from what I have read ginseng,caffeine and other stimulants tend to raise cortisol levels. Something to look into, thanks!

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 14, 2013
at 04:23 PM

I do have a tendency to use tabata intervals in a fasted state, that probably is not helping my cortisol issues.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 14, 2013
at 01:27 PM

I have found a few threads, with a lot of conflicting advice. I was hoping for real life "been there, done that" success stories/approaches.

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6 Answers

2
F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 14, 2013
at 01:14 PM

Isolation Tanks seem like a cool idea to relax

There's a bunch of threads on here about managing stress with lots of good ideas in case you haven't found them.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 14, 2013
at 01:27 PM

I have found a few threads, with a lot of conflicting advice. I was hoping for real life "been there, done that" success stories/approaches.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 14, 2013
at 11:22 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by conflicting advice? They all seem to recommend the same sorta thinga. I.E. meditation, yoga, etc. A few people have some more unique ideas, but I don't really notice anyone disagreeing with them.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 14, 2013
at 11:23 PM

I guess you mean from a diet standpoint, I would focus on the non-diet stuff if you are already paleo. Stress is a state of mind.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 17, 2013
at 07:36 PM

Yes, more from a diet and exercise standpoint. I totally agree with reducing stress and many of the methods mentioned.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 15, 2013
at 10:14 AM

I never even thought to search pub med, thanks!

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on February 16, 2013
at 09:03 AM

You wanna know why ice cubes are so boring? It's cause you make 'em out of stupid water!

1
2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

on February 15, 2013
at 03:29 AM

lifestyle, its what works best. keep eating a clean healthy paleo diet, low carbs, high fats, even add raw cultured dairy(sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, regular cheese) if you tolerate it well. its very calming and healing to those who are not sensitive. take tons of omega threes, do yoga instead of hiit/p90x and go for walks, if you start feeling anxious LAY DOWN and breath deeply...do it, its amazing, its like it makes your adrenal glands reset.....sleep, sleep early. dont fast, eat consistent meals, not too big, not too small, make sure you are getting sufficient calories to maintain your weight if you arent over weight. if your life is stressful because of work, see what you can do to make it better, same goes with personal relationships. how do you manage your time, are you goals and ideals realistic, do they suit you, are you stressing yourself out, could you be more accepting of yourself and your abilities now?

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on February 15, 2013
at 02:06 PM

please see if there is any way you can calmn down, especially first thing in the am. perhaps make a different ritual, drink some tea and stretch, eat a meal early, it doesnt have to be big, straight up easy to digest proteins and fats, this will help your body to pull energy from the meal, not from the endocrine system. then do some light exercise. its really necessary to keep your exercise short, less then 45 minutes or you will start to get into stress zone.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on February 15, 2013
at 02:04 PM

yep, i have been there, i suffered from exercise bullemia(its a real thing) for years. exercising in the morning took the cake for amping me up and frying my adrenals. i would wake up at 4:30 and BOLT out the door, almost in a panic, to run, do jumping jacks, MOOOVE. always fasted. its actually a great way to elicite cortisol. at 4 in the morning you should be sound asleep, its the time of day your adrenals and kidneys are due for repair. i wish someone had enlightened me to CALM THE FUCK DOWN, when i had a better chance. i fought it for a few years, and totally burnt myself out.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 15, 2013
at 10:15 AM

I am a type A personality, something I am working on. I find that not exercising stresses me out even more. I'm trying to find that balance where I am exercising at an amount that is helpful and not harmful. Thanks for your thoughts.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 17, 2013
at 07:32 PM

The description of your previous exercise pattern is so perfect for me I could have written it myself.

1
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 14, 2013
at 02:33 PM

I'd say more carbs, less exercise, and better sleep. Don't do such intense workouts fasted until you dial your hormones back in. Maybe some licorice tea in the morning could help too.

0
Medium avatar

(389)

on February 14, 2013
at 04:36 PM

I went on a ginseng/rhodiola mix when my cortisol was low. Although I used it to raise my cortisol, I have read that these and other adaptogenics work either way: If your cortisol is low, it raises it. If it is high, it lowers it.

Might be something to look into.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 14, 2013
at 04:39 PM

Hmmm...from what I have read ginseng,caffeine and other stimulants tend to raise cortisol levels. Something to look into, thanks!

Medium avatar

(389)

on February 17, 2013
at 10:39 PM

Correct - I believe siberian ginseng raises it but there is another that lowers it. Might have to do a little research, but when it comes to this stuff it's worth it, Cortisol is huge!

0
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 14, 2013
at 04:17 PM

I have read conflicting arguments for high vs low carb, HIIT vs lifting heavy, fasting vs no fasting.

You want enough glucose to replenish the glycotic process of your super fast twitch muscles. Super fast twitch muscles use glycotic means for ATP production, regular fast twitch use and oxidative glycotic combination and slow twitch muscles use purely oxidative phosphylation for ATP sythesis.

Fasting, vs no fasting I mean, I wouldn't fast for more than 16 hours and definitely not day after day. I'd eat bigger lunches and breakfasts than dinners and if you DO eat carbs, I'd probably eat them in the lunch and breakfast meals.

As for HIIT vs lifting heavy, why not both? Done properly either method can work SUPER fast twitch muscle fibres (IIB) and so you can intermix them accordingly. Remember, your super fast twitch muscles can only run off glucose and so they only keep maybe 6-15 seconds worth of energy stored in them. I won't go into too much detail here but to sum up everything I've said:

If you choose to eat carbs eat them in proportion to the stress you put on your super fast twitch muscle fibres (not fast/slow, but super fast IIB). Put stress on your super fast muscle fibres through either hiit protocols (tabata or sprint 8, or a mix of 20 second sprints and longer rests to help restore glucose stores in IIB before repeated exertion, maybe 1:3 work to rest ratio no more than 6-8 sets). And if you do fast, be careful combining fasting with hiit, hiit is extremely demanding and if you perform such an exercise without refueling your body appropriately that is a recipe for disaster IMO.

Lemme know if you have any questions, I've written this really quickly in b/w classes so it might be a little abstract.

A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on February 14, 2013
at 04:23 PM

I do have a tendency to use tabata intervals in a fasted state, that probably is not helping my cortisol issues.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 14, 2013
at 05:06 PM

bed before it gets too late so that you don't artificially keep your cortisol up into the wee hours with artificial lighting. I'm usually in bed by 10 and up by 6 and I feel like that has helped some from when I used to stay up till all hours of the night. I feel like this might fall into circadian biology which tbh I don't know much about. But I think turning out the lights at a reasonable hour (few hours after sunset) and going to bed is a good idea. I find I get more done in the early morning than I would playing night owl anyways.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 14, 2013
at 05:04 PM

Yea, that may or may not be helping your cortisol levels, I wouldn't be able to say without testing. But remember something important, you DO NOT want to lower your cortisol levels, what you want to do is create more dynamic cortisol levels, ie you want them high in the morning and low in the evening. A flatlined cortisol high or low is predictive of health issues, you don't want to lower it, you want it to be in rhythm, you want it high and low, just at different times. With that being said, one thing I think I can say relatively definitively is that for optimal cortisol you want to get to

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