15 SIGNS YOU HAVE HIGH CORTISOL, And what you can do about itFeb 09, 2024
Cortisol, the buzz word that's popping up everywhere as we move into 2024. But what exactly is cortisol and why should you be concerned about it? Stick with me, that's exactly what we're going to unpack.
In order to understand why it would be important to pay attention to it, you need to understand what cortisol is. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands and is released when your brain perceives you are in danger. However, whether you are in actual physical danger or your brain perceives you're in danger, the result is the same
For example, if you're out camping and come across a bear, your brain will trigger a danger response, releasing hormones, including cortisol, to prepare you for the physical response of either fighting or running away. The fight or flight response. That same physiological response also happens when your brain merely percevies a threat. Like that time you're alarm didn't go off, you woke up late and went into overdrive to get to work ASAP in an attempt to avoid being reprimanded. You were in “danger” of getting reprimanded, or possibly fired, but hardly comparable to duking it out with a grizzly. Most of us would refer to the latter situation as stressful rather than dangerous.
Even though the severity of each situation is miles apart, your body will react the same for each. This is important to note when it comes to knowing where you are with your cortisol levels and whether it's something you should be addressing. Cortisol plays a cruicial role in regulating energy, metabolism, inflammation and controlling the sleep cycle, and we do need it as it helps with that fight or flight response when we truly are in danger. Like running into a bear. But what if your body is constantly releasing cortisol because it perceives you're in danger when you're really not?
Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Getting up and exercising and moving your body daily helps to strengthen your mucles, including heart and lungs and has a multitude of health benefits. Working out to the point of exhaustion, pain and/or fatigue on a daily basis however, actually causes damage to your muscles and joints and you'll likely end up hating exercise, not doing any and end up worse off in the long run.
Eating healthy, balanced meals stabilizes blood sugar and hormones which in turn allows you to maintain good health and healthy weight, have good energy, and keep metabolism turned on. Oh the other hand, never having that slice of birthday cake, piece of pizza, or Christmas cookie only leads to stressing over food, guilt, and disordered eating. With the exception of very rare instances, extremes in anything don't serve your body, or your health and cortisol is no differernt.
Cortisol is a hormone and hormones help regulate all parts of the body. How do you know when your body's been producing more than what it needs? Here are 15 signs your cortisol is elevated and your body is working overtime; If you've noticed or are struggling with any or all of these - weight gain, puffy/flushed face, mood swings/easily frustrated with small things, memory problems/brain fog, increased anxiety, fatigue, sleep issues, high blood pressure, acne, struggle to focus, sugar cravings, digestive issues, low immune system, change in libido, excessive thirst – you should be looking at how to start bringing down cortisol levels.
The worst part is, some of these issues can actually trigger your body to release even more cortisol. Which of course perpetuates and even worsens the cycle keepingg you stuck, uncomfortable and at risk for metabolic disease the longer it carries on. Identifying these signs and working to bring down cortisol, not simply brushing them off as something expected with age, is critical for overall health and disease prevention. Age in and of itself doesn't determine health outcomes. Rather, it's more about the length of time you've been doing something that is not serving your body. It's the small things we do or don't do consistently over time that yield a result – good or bad
So cortisol. Triggered by danger and stress. And while it's unlikely you'll run into any bears on the way to work, stress on the other hand, is everywhere. Less stress means fewer “danger” signals, which means less cortisol pumping through your body. But as much as we know that bringing down stress is good for us, it's sometimes not an easy thing to do.
We can't often control what comes at us that triggers that stress response, but we can control how we respond to it. Eating clean, balanced foods, making time for movement, staying hydrated, and supplementing with the right strains of good bacteria to restore your gut microbiome are essential to managing stress. Over 90 percent of the hormones that make us happy, regulate mood, and help us sleep are made in the gut. Fix the gut, you're happier, better able to handle what life throws at you and cortisol comes down naturally.
If you've got a “gut feeling” that's what's fuelling your cortisol, email [email protected] and request a free video with a proven solution.