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How to Lower Cortisol for Better Aging

How to Lower Cortisol for Better Aging

December 28, 2023

How to Lower Cortisol for Better Aging

Casey picture
By: Casey Einhorn
Functional Health Practitioner 

 

Summary:

    • There are natural strategies you can implement to reverse the damage of chronic stress and age better.
    • Supplements like licorice root, magnesium and ashwagandha can optimize cortisol function.
    • Morning sunlight, meditation, nutrition and exercise are daily habits that can mitigate the effects of stress and improve cortisol levels.

 

The Toll of Stress on Aging

aging and cortisol levels - man looking out window

 

Table of Contents

Fit and old, ripped and mature, jacked and aged. Everyone wants to look and feel better as we get older. One of the main reasons we have trouble looking and feeling our best in our later years is due to all the abuse the body has endured for half a lifetime.

This abuse coming in the form of stress. Whether that’s 20 years of a stressful job, a weekend warrior lifestyle, improper sleep, or a poor diet, it all takes a toll. Chronic stress causes poor cortisol function (the stress hormone), increased inflammation, hormone imbalance and more. And as the years go on, we pay for it with decreased energy and performance, loss of muscle mass, pain and more body fat...to name a few.

The question is, can we reverse the damage chronic stress has caused and bring the body back to homeostasis to feel and look younger? The answer being...yes! While we may not be able to get the body back to its invincible and unaffected 21-year-old state, we can improve our physiology and get the body and mind functioning more efficiently with healthy cortisol levels.

Sleep and Cortisol Levels

Night shift workers have greater rates of disease and die younger. There’s many reasons for this, but one is due to the completely erratic elevated cortisol levels that accompany the sleep cycle required for this type of job.

Sleep and cortisol levels are intertwined. Cortisol levels should be at their highest in the morning around 6 a.m. gradually descend as the day goes on, with the lowest amount being produced at 10 p.m. This allows us to fall asleep. High cortisol levels at night can lead to sleep deprivation.

Anabolic Hormones and Quality Sleep

Testosterone, growth hormone and melatonin are anabolic hormones that are in high production during sleep. These anabolic hormones are very anti-inflammatory and quality sleep, ideally between the hours of 10 pm-6 am, are needed to maximize the benefits these hormones have to offer. If cortisol levels are high at night, we will create more inflammation, and the body won’t repair itself as well. Disease and poor hormone function thrive in an inflammatory state. So a good night's sleep is very important.

Supplements to help optimize cortisol and sleep

Combating Elevated Cortisol Levels Before Bed

Lowering cortisol levels before bed is obviously important for overall health and well-being.

Phosphatidylserine

One herb that can help to lower elevated cortisol levels is phosphatidylserine (PS). PS is a chemical that is important for many functions in the human body, especially in the brain. It supports the hypothalamic pituitary axis to balance and lower cortisol levels. It also improves neurotransmitter function and enhances brain function.

Taking 400mg before bed can help to regulate cortisol secretion and improve sleep. A product I recommend to clients, called AdrenaCalm by Apex Energetics, is very helpful when taken before bed. It’s a cream you put on topically, so it absorbs readily through the skin and directly into the bloodstream. It also contains other ingredients that aid in sleep and recovery. Some people report sleeping like babies when starting this.

Magnesium: Detoxifying Cortisol and Enhancing Sleep

Magnesium is another amazing nutrient that helps to detoxify cortisol in the body. It’s responsible for 300 different biochemical reactions in the body and when taken before bed, can really improve the circadian rhythm. Low levels of magnesium can alter electrical signaling in the brain, causing more interrupted and agitated sleep. It is rare to find someone today that isn’t deficient in magnesium.

Around 100-300mg before bed of a good chelated magnesium like glycinate, can help sleep quality, cortisol levels and overall better bodily function. It is a great mineral to combine with PS. Also, adding magnesium rich foods like spinach and pumpkin seeds will help to increase magnesium concentrations in the body.

Boosting Morning Cortisol Production

If you’re waking up in the middle of the night and feel tired and unmotivated in the morning, you may have poor morning cortisol production.

Licorice Root

Licorice root is a great herb that can increase normal cortisol levels and production and even help make more DHEA, which basically converts into testosterone. Licorice root can also improve cholesterol levels and thyroid hormone. This herb is to be used in the morning if cortisol production is lagging at a dose of 150-300mg. The only caveat is, you need to avoid this supplement if you have high blood pressure.

Without a cortisol salivary test, you won’t know for sure if your cortisol levels are low or high in the morning. So I’d really pay attention to what type of person you are. If you’re stressed and wired in the morning, I’d avoid licorice root. But if you’re having difficulty sleeping and feel tired and unmotivated in the morning, then adding licorice root to your morning routine for about 4 weeks may be very beneficial.

For many people, taking licorice root in the morning followed by PS and magnesium before bed, can have a profound effect on many aspects of health, including better energy and hormone function.

Ashwagandha: Adaptogen for Cortisol Management

Ashwagandha, often referred to as the "Indian Ginseng," stands out as a powerful adaptogen known for its incredible impact on hormonal balance and overall well-being. It works wonders for most men, regardless of their individual cortisol makeup.

Balancing Cortisol Receptors

One of ashwagandha's notable attributes lies in its ability to clean out cortisol from receptors. Cortisol, often termed the stress hormone, can wreak havoc on the body when elevated for prolonged periods. ashwagandha's adaptogenic properties play a crucial role in restoring balance to cortisol levels, ensuring they don't linger excessively, and mitigating the adverse effects of chronic stress.

Optimizing Testosterone Function

Ashwagandha emerges as one of the go-to adaptogens for enhancing testosterone function. Studies have demonstrated that ashwagandha, when administered alone, can trigger an impressive 17% increase in testosterone production. This surge in testosterone levels not only contributes to improved vitality but also supports muscle development, maximum strength, and overall physical performance.

When paired with tongkat ali, ashwagandha's potency reaches new heights. The combination of these two compounds creates a synergistic effect, amplifying their individual impacts on testosterone production. Tongkat ali, renowned for its aphrodisiac properties and testosterone-boosting abilities, complements ashwagandha's actions, resulting in a potent blend that supports optimal hormonal balance.

A great supplement that often pairs tongkat ali with a powerful, clinically-studied ashwagandha extract for testosterone support and stress reduction is Mdrive. They have a range of T-support products formulated based on your goals, whether it's weight loss or just improving your overall health.

Balancing Hormones Naturally: Daily Activities and Sunlight

Boost cortisol levels with sunlight - man standing outside in sun

While supplements can be very beneficial, we should always start by making sure we are doing the right daily activities to optimize health and function.

Most of us know the benefits direct sunlight has on our bodies in large part due to Vitamin D. Vitamin D is responsible for over 1000 different biochemical reactions in the body and people with better Vitamin D levels have healthier hormone function and lowered risk for illness and disease. But sunlight has even more beneficial effects that go beyond vitamin D. For our purposes, morning sunlight is going to provide the biggest, “bang for your buck.”

Setting the Tone for the Day: Morning Routine and Cortisol

What we do first thing in the morning can set up our entire day. Blood sugar, adrenal health and even gut function is impacted by our morning routine. After a night of darkness, getting in the sunlight as soon as you can upon awakening can get your body’s cortisol levels and circadian rhythm functioning better. Morning sunlight will increase cortisol at the exact time of day it should be at it’s highest and prepare our bodies for sleep later that night. It will also have a positive impact on your immune system, mood and metabolism.

Morning sunshine is definitely on my top 10 list of things you can do to optimize health. Just 5-10 minutes of morning sunshine will provide a deep benefit to the body. Even if it’s cloudy, you can still get benefit from being outside under the sun.

Recognizing the Chronic Stress of Modern Living

Modern humans are bombarded with all types of stress on a 24-hour basis. Even though it’s nearly impossible to remove all the daily physical and mental stress from your life, there are strategies we can take to mitigate the effect these daily occurrences have on our body. And after a lifetime of such stress levels, all people will benefit from implementing better nutrition, lifestyle, and supplementation routines into their life.

This can greatly improve the health of the body, lower our risk for illness and disease and get us looking and feeling our best. In a little bit of time, you too can turn back the clock and re-gain a little of that youth you had in your 20s.

Strategies to Mitigate 24-Hour Stress

There are strategies we can take to mitigate the effect of stress response these daily occurrences have on our body.

Implementing Better Nutrition

Starting with nutrition, consider incorporating nutrient-rich foods that support overall well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts can help combat inflammation, a common consequence of prolonged stress.

Cultivating a Healthy Lifestyle

Engaging in regular physical activity is crucial for stress management. Exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, promoting a sense of well-being. Whether it's a brisk walk, yoga, or weight training, find an activity that brings joy and vitality.

Exploring the Power of Supplementation

Supplementation can be a valuable addition to your routine. Focus on essential nutrients such as vitamin D, which plays a pivotal role in immune function, or adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola Rosea, known for its stress-relieving properties.

A Holistic Approach: Mind-Body Connection

Understanding the mind-body connection is paramount. Practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness can help manage stress by calming the mind and promoting relaxation.

Aging Gracefully: The Ultimate Goal

Incorporating these strategies into your daily life can have a transformative effect on your health and well-being. It's not about erasing the years, but about aging gracefully and maintaining the vibrancy of youth.

Mastering Cortisol for Timeless Well-being

Taking control of cortisol levels is not just a means to combat the visible signs of aging; it's a holistic approach to timeless well-being. By addressing stressors, optimizing your sleep cycle, and incorporating targeted nutrition and supplementation, you pave the way for a healthier, more vibrant future.

Embrace the Journey of Aging

Embrace the journey of aging with a proactive mindset. Consider it an opportunity to refine your habits, nurture your body, and appreciate the wisdom that comes with the passing years. Reversing time may be a poetic concept, but with the right strategies, you can certainly enhance your quality of life and approach each day with the energy and vitality of youth.

Ready to Turn Back the Clock?

Are you ready to turn back the clock? Start today with small, sustainable changes. Listen to your body, prioritize self-care, and let the journey towards timeless well-being begin. Remember, it's never too late to invest in the health and vitality that will carry you through the years with grace and resilience.

Shop Mdrive T-support products for powerful stress-reduction and top of the line testosterone support.

 

Disclaimer:

This article is for general information only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult with a healthcare professional before making significant health changes. Individual health profiles vary, and personalized medical guidance is essential. The content doesn't establish a doctor-patient relationship, and readers should consult a licensed healthcare provider, especially if they have medical conditions, take medications, or are pregnant/nursing. Supplements and lifestyle changes may have risks or interactions; discuss with a healthcare professional. The authors disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from the information provided.




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