Not to be overly dramatic, but even though there are hundreds of hormones floating through your body at the moment, there’s one hormone in particular that could be ruining your life.
Too much cortisol is a significant problem, and it can have a seriously dramatic effect on the quality of your life.
I know that’s a broad, sweeping statement. And I also understand saying that doesn’t necessarily give you any insight into whether or not too much cortisol is an issue for you.
Fortunately, there are a few options for adequately determining if too much cortisol is negatively affecting your health.
Is Too Much Cortisol A Problem For You?
The first and most effective way to find out is by getting a blood panel done to assess your cortisol levels. We offer this service at our office, and it’s easily one of the most commonly prescribed panels.
However, I know it’s tough to get into our office for visits, so getting a quick answer to the question of whether or not too much cortisol is an issue for you is not easily accomplished by that method.
The next thing you can do is self-diagnose.
This isn’t an exact science, I realize that.
And yet, if you answer honestly to the questions on the image below, I believe you’ll be given a reasonably accurate answer concerning your cortisol levels.
That’s because excess cortisol is often a direct result of adrenal fatigue (which is the overproduction of adrenaline and norepinephrine).
Adrenal fatigue is a serious problem for most Americans.
In the past 5 years I’ve touched on the subject a handful of times because I believe adrenal fatigue as well as the resulting excessive cortisol levels are pandemic and are causing many people to live lives that simply aren’t awesome.
If you feel crummy, tired, beat-down…
And if fatigue follows you like a shadow and rest does very little to recharge your batteries…
I suspect you might be dealing with problems associated with adrenal fatigue/excessive cortisol.
To see if that’s true go through this checklist real quick – answer honestly – and then meet me on the other side.
So where did you score?
Were you a 20-40?
Or a 70 and over?
Regardless of what your score was, there are certainly a number of things you can do to modify the production of excessive cortisol.
But before I show you what they are let me explain where all that extra cortisol comes from and then give you an idea of what makes it so harmful.
Here’s Why Your Cortisol Levels May Have Climbed To Unhealthy Levels
The first thing to realize is cortisol isn’t bad.
Just like sugar isn’t bad.
It’s only when there’s too much of it that it’s a bad thing.
One of cortisol’s jobs is to help your body respond to stress.
Cortisol interacts with adrenaline and norepinephrine, insulin and a variety of other hormones to help your body adapt quickly to stressful situations.
When it comes to stress and how your body deals with it, there’s a certain order in which things happen. The first thing your body does is release adrenaline.
Adrenaline is the hormone that causes your body to feel jittery and focused at the same time. It’s the hormone that may give you superhuman strength or helps you make an incredible escape from a potentially catastrophic situation (like getting out of the way of a falling tree branch).
We need adrenaline to deal with stress.
But if we’re always stressed (which I’m sure most people would say they are) then the constant release of adrenaline causes a secondary problem.
Over-stimulation of cortisol production.
After an initial release of adrenaline is initiated, your body will then promote the release of cortisol. This happens in milliseconds, so it’s not something you can necessarily stop. Cortisol is released so your body manages the physiological side effects of whatever is stressing you.
It helps “tame” your response to adrenaline so you’re not in a permanent state of fight or flight.
In a perfect world, the cycle of adrenaline release and cortisol production wouldn’t happen with a great deal of frequency.
However, because we’ve entered into a day and age where we’re always “on” we typically experience the release of adrenaline and cortisol dozens, possibly hundreds of times.
This unnatural state of hormone production eventually leads to adrenal fatigue, wherein your body produces so much adrenaline, and cortisol that eventually your adrenal gland is tapped out and can’t deliver any more adrenaline to deal with stress and cortisol production is ramped up.
The problem with too much cortisol is other hormone levels are negatively affected by the excess in hormone levels. Elevated cortisol levels will change how other hormones in your body work and this has been shown to lead to:
- Muscle loss
- Weight gain
- Increased inability to fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, yeast
- Loss of bone density
- Decreased protein building
- Retention of fluid in the body
- Rampant spikes in blood sugar
Along with a number of other consequences, you won’t like dealing with.
The Simplest Ways To Balance Cortisol Levels
While patients of mine are sometimes guided to this supplement to help rebalance their cortisol levels, this recommendation is only ever made inside of a holistic approach to stress reduction.
Adrenal Support contains a variety of adaptogenic herbs that support your body’s ability to handle stress.
But I strongly caution against taking a supplement and leaving your life unchanged.
Excessive cortisol in light of excessive stress indicates the solution in your life is more about decreasing how much stress you expose yourself to.
This includes environmental stress (things like work, relationships, over-scheduling) as well as chemical stress (things like exposure to toxins, dietary considerations, alcohol, cigarettes etc.)
Before taking Adrenal Support I recommend performing an inventory of what’s stressing you and removing as much as you can.
This is going to require some tough decisions.
When I speak to my patients about reducing stress I make recommendations they sometimes don’t want to hear.
Like cutting out toxic friends, or carving out time where the TV isn’t on and they’re alone with their thoughts to meditate or pray.
Stress is a common enemy for many Americans, but it’s not an enemy you always have to deal with.
I believe part of my calling as a physician and a Christian isn’t simply about making recommendations that are solely based on nutrition, supplementation, and behavior modification…but are rooted in spiritual health too.
Ultimately your body manifests how stress affects your spirit.
So do what you can to heal your spirit and emotional state and your body will reap the rewards.
If my patients are already systematically attacking those issues and need some help then I recommend Adrenal Support.
You can learn more about it on this page, but the reason I recommend it is because the combination of herbs it gives you help to shield your body from the negative effects of stress AND rejuvenate your cells from the inside out so that the adverse effects of stress reverse themselves.