Stress is an inherent part of life. No matter how hard we try to control stress, it seems to linger. However, experts tell us we must learn to control our stress levels to keep cortisol in check.  If we cannot do this we will eventually deteriorate our health. While cortisol, often called the stress hormone, has a bad rap, it is needed to keep the body in a life-sustaining state of balance. In actual or perceived life-threatening situations, a surge of cortisol is released (flight or fight mode). This causes a rush of glucose to our muscles to prepare us to fight or run. Blood pressure also is increased to maintain a good supply of oxygen to the brain to help us think more clearly. Other bodily functions like digestion, sexual arousal, and immune functions take a temporary backseat to enable energy and resources to flow to vital organs.

Fluctuations of Cortisol Levels

Cortisol levels normally fluctuate throughout the day and night. People who are stressed constantly produce a high amount of circulating cortisol. Then the cortisol does not return to normal levels. Because of the constant stressors in our lives, our cortisol levels can stay surged, causing fatigue, heart disease, weight gain, indigestion/slow bowel movements, depression, memory impairment, and unhealthy skin. Adrenal fatigue sets in because the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with demand. Left untreated, the thyroid and sex hormones also become unbalanced.

Tips to Keep Cortisol in Check

Nutritional support, meditation, and a regular fitness regimen are essential in balancing cortisol and helping us cope with life’s stressors. Unless you live the life of a monk who meditates all day, chances are you may be deficient in the calming mineral magnesium. That’s because our cells dump a lot of magnesium during times of stress. Also, we actively push the mineral out of our bodies to rev up our nervous system to cope with stress.

Magnesium supplements are my favorite stress busters. However, if you don’t take the right kind, it will just sit in your gut and cause diarrhea and not be absorbed into your cells where it is needed. I recommend magnesium glycinate or malate. Most adults need approximately 800mg per day. Magnesium prevents excessive cortisol, lowers blood pressure, and lowers blood sugars through insulin control. Better insulin control means fewer sugar cravings.

Other supplements that help lower cortisol include quality fish oil rich in omega 3 fatty acids and high doses of Vitamins B and C. A group of supplements called adaptogens enables people to cope with stress better. These include ashwagandha, holy basil, valerian, L-theanine, phosphatidylserine, Rhodiola, and passionflower.

Want to Find the Supplements that You Need

Come into Towne Lake Pharmacy to get the supplements or that you need to restore your health. We carry pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and offer a variety of medicinal compounds.