1-4 caplets daily or as directed by your health practitioner
If currently taking cortisol-like steroids, use as directed by your health practitioner.
If pregnant or nursing, do not take except as directed by your health practitioner.
Chronic Stress and Cortisol
Your body’s stress response is designed to help you adapt to changes in your outer and inner environments and cope with psychological and physical stressors. It is a very complex system that, through brain chemicals and circulating hormones, affects every aspect of you mentally, emotionally and physically.
Stress response control is primarily handled via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis through which your brain regulates adrenal gland stress hormone production. Cortisol is the adrenal stress hormone with the most pervasive and lasting effects throughout your body.
The primary function of cortisol is to shift mental and physiological resources from growth, maintenance and repair to activities that prepare you to respond/adapt to a stressor. This means that cortisol increases:
- Energy by raising blood sugar
- Muscle capacity by raising blood pressure and heart and breathing rates
- Alertness by triggering excitatory brain neurotransmitters
- Short-term immune activity
These same cortisol-regulated changes designed to help you deal with an acute stressor become harmful when stress is frequent or chronic over extended periods of time. Chronically elevated:
- Blood sugar produces increased insulin, insulin resistance and increased abdominal fat, which can potentially develop into metabolic syndrome and diabetes
- Blood pressure and heart rate contribute to cardiovascular disease
- Excitatory brain stimulation can lead to anxiety and mood disorders, cognitive and memory impairment, sleep problems and an inability to relax, leaving you feeling ‘wired and tired’
- Stress hormones suppress immune function and makes cells less responsive to the anti-inflammatory actions of cortisol, increasing inflammation.
In addition, chronic stress decreases digestive efficiency, disrupts optimal function of other endocrine glands like the thyroid and gonads, and slows cellular growth, maintenance and repair throughout your body. Safe to say, chronic stress with elevated cortisol is not what you want going on in your body.
Exercise, meditation and other lifestyle factors that help you reduce your stress load or better adapt to the stressors in your life, along with dietary factors that moderate cortisol and shift brain neurotransmitters towards relaxation are all important to protecting yourself from stress overdrive and staying healthy in a stressful world.