I think we can all agree this past year left us all stressed at some point. And for many of you stress may even be something you deal with daily.
One of the main stress hormones our bodies produce is called Cortisol. Cortisol regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response.
Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone with levels that fluctuate in small amounts throughout the day in response to many physiologic changes and or stressors. Typically, it will peak within the first 30 to 45 minutes after awakening and gradually decline throughout the day.
Signs of dysfunctional levels include:
sugar and/or salt cravings
memory loss brain fog
Common irregularities in cortisol levels:
Pattern #1: High AM cortisol. Elevated cortisol first thing in the morning can be a pre-clinical biomarker indicative of early stages of adrenal dysregulation.
Pattern #2: Elevated throughout the day. This can be a sign of chronic stress, lack of coping skills.
Pattern #3: Elevated PM cortisol: This is often marked by sleep disturbances; difficultly getting to sleep, insomnia, easy waking, and fatigue, particularly in the morning.
Pattern #4: Low levels throughout the day. Consistently low levels throughout the day may point to signs of an Autoimmune pathology involving the Pituitary Gland.
Here are some things you can do to gain control over your own cortisol levels:
Diet: Try getting 8-10 servings of vegetables a day, and 2 servings of Fruits
Vitamins: B complex, Magnesium, Vitamin C, CoQ10, Glutathione support, Omega 3 fatty acids, Zinc
Lifestyle: Yoga, Meditation, low-moderate Exercise (15-20 minutes 3 to 5x a week)