Cortisol, most of us have heard the word but what actually is it?
Cortisol, also known as the 'stress hormone' is produced by our adrenal glands and it's the pituitary glands job to determine how much cortisol is released, to help with our fight or flight response.
Normal cortisol levels are needed to maintain sustained energy throughout the day and the release of them follows a curve which should be higher in the morning. This gets you up and out of bed and slowly reduces throughout the day and into the night while you get a restful sleep.
When we are stressed, under pressure, low on sleep and overworked our cortisol release goes into overdrive. Instead of tapering off during the day it spikes all over the place and doesn't slow down. This excess exhausts our adrenal glands and depletes happy brain chemicals like serotonin which only add to the viscous cycle of feeling like everything is working against us. When cortisol is unbalanced or in overdrive you quite often feel exhausted in the morning, struggle to get out of bed and then feel wired at night and struggle to fall asleep, even though you are tired.
When we are stuck in this cycle it can contribute to many problems such as:
- Mood swings
- Lowered immune system function
- Thyroid issues
- Hormonal imbalances
- Fertility issues
- Muscle aches and pains
- Excess belly fat
- High blood pressure
Just to name a few.
So what can you do about it?
The first step is to know exactly what your cortisol curve is doing throughout your day.
The best way to test your cortisol levels is to use the DUTCH hormone test. This is a dried urine test, done in the comfort of your own home and utilises 4-5 samples at various times of the day / night to give us a solid picture of where your cortisol levels are at and what times your cortisol rises and falls.
These test can be organised during naturopathic consults and together we can work through the results to help you find balance.
During Naturopathic consults we can also discuss some of the drivers of cortisol, such as sugar and caffeine and look at ways to make simple dietary changes to support balanced cortisol levels. We can also use herbal adaptagens and key nutrients to nourish your adrenal glands and reduce the impact of stress on your body.
We can also help by interrupting the stress pattern in your life with regular massage. Massage is such a feel good way of relieving stress and interrupting the hyperactive release of cortisol, which will give your adrenal glands a break and give you some 'time out' away from all your stress triggers.
We can also talk about lifestyle issues that may be contributing to an unhealthy cortisol curve and get you back to feeling fantastic and having enough energy to master your day with ease.
Let us help you.
Book an appointment to see Karina or Chantal online or call us on 0421 649 064.