I am so very happy to share this guest post which was written by John Bejakovic! John writes about his experience with using natural solutions to help control cortisol! This is something I believe I can work on personally as well so I plan to put at least a few of these suggestions into practice!
If you struggle with controlling your cortisol and other stress hormones then this post is definitely for you!
Without further ado, let’s turn it over to John!
4 Natural Ways To Control Cortisol And Other Stress Hormones
For several years now, I’ve gone for a hormone test every few months.
Each time, all the results came back perfectly fine, except… for the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. From the start, my cortisol levels were high, and with each test they kept going a little higher.
At the same time, I had some lingering health issues — fatigue, trouble sleeping, anxiety, even frequent cold sore breakouts. After a bit of reading, I quickly learned that excess cortisol could be contributing to all these issues.
So I kept researching and I started experimenting on myself, in a quest to lower my cortisol levels and deal with the associated health issues. Today, I want to share with you the things that made a significant and positive impact in helping me do just that.
1. Vitamin C
What do human beings and guinea pigs have in common?
Unlike the vast majority of plants and animals, humans and guinea pigs — along with a few other unlucky species — cannot synthesize their own vitamin C. Instead, they have to get their vitamin C from food.
This is significant for a few reasons. First off, vitamin C has been shown repeatedly to reduce cortisol spikes, and animals secrete vitamin C as a way of recovering from stress. The fact that we cannot make our own vitamin C means that we are apparently missing out on an important stress-relief mechanism.
Second, animals that can synthesize vitamin C produce very high amounts of it. For example, your average goat can produce over 13 grams of vitamin C per day. Compare that with the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C for humans — 45 milligrams a day, or 0.3% of what the goat gets.
Kiwis, citrus fruits, and bell peppers are all dietary sources of vitamin C. While it’s definitely a good idea to include more of them in your diet, you are unlikely to get to goat levels of vitamin C this way. For example, it takes 16 whole kiwis to get just 1 gram of vitamin C.
Instead, I’ve personally relied on chewable tablets to get adequate vitamin C. A typical tablet contains between 500mg and 1g of vitamin C, has an addicting orangey taste, and does a great job of treating those cortisol spikes.
Lots of essential oils are known to help improve mood and reduce anxiety. At least a few of them do this by balancing stress hormones.
From the research I’ve found, lavender oil seems to be the best supported essential oil for both treating anxiety and reducing cortisol. In fact, inhaling lavender oil occasionally is enough to lower cortisol levels by a significant amount.
I’ve personally noticed that lavender oil was a great help when I started getting anxious or negative. Lavender oil also promotes deep sleep, which will additionally help you get rid of excess stress hormones.
For a long time, hearing the word “gelatin” simply conjured up pictures of gummy bears in my mind. It turns out I was quite uninformed.
You see, gelatin is basically cooked collagen, the most prevalent protein found in animal tissue. We need this stuff to be healthy, and we need quite a lot of it. However, our typical sources of protein, such as dairy and boneless, skinless meat, contain only small amounts of the amino acids that make up gelatin.
This has some big consequences. The amino acids in gelatin have an inhibitory effect on the nervous system, and they play a vital role in restorative, uninterrupted sleep. When you take those two facts together, it’s easy to see how a gelatin/collagen deficiency could lead to elevated stress hormones.
My own protocol to fix this was simply to drink a tablespoon of gelatin mixed with water each day. If you’ve got the appetite for it, you can also increase your consumption of gelatin-rich foods such as bone broths, cartilaginous cuts of meat, and animal skin.
Either way, be patient about results — it took several weeks before I personally noticed an improvement in my sleep and stress levels from regularly eating gelatin.
Salt has gotten a lot of bad press over the last few decades, and it’s only slowly beginning to recover its public image. While it might be true that some people eat too much salt, if you are a health-conscious person, there’s a good chance you’re actually not eating enough.
I initially got the suggestion to increase salt intake in order to lower stress hormones from Matt Stone’s 180 Degree Health blog. Since then, I’ve found this idea supported in many other places, including scientific studies.
In my own case, the problem seemed to be twofold. Over the years, I had significantly reduced my salt intake, based on the vague notion that this was healthy. And I had also developed the habit of drinking more and more water, which increases the amount of salt you need.
The fix wasn’t hard, but it took some time to bear fruit. I started adding salt to taste, particularly in dishes rich in meat and starches. Just as importantly, I made a focused effort to drink only when I was thirsty, rather than out of habit or boredom. Along with eating gelatin, I believe this was the most significant change that allowed me to lower cortisol.
There’s one thing that’s very important to point out. Yes, high cortisol levels negatively affect your health. But on the other hand, health issues (such as poor sleep or chronic infections) also raise your cortisol levels, creating a feedback loop. That’s why it’s important to deal with both cortisol as well as with related health issues at the same time.
The good news is, it can absolutely be done. My own cortisol levels are now solidly in the normal range, and I’ve tamed all those problematic issues I listed at the start. If you are dealing with excess levels of stress hormones like cortisol, I hope you can use the info in this article as a starting point to reclaiming your own health.
John Bejakovic writes about health and wellness at unusualhealth.com. He started out just trying to solve his own health issues (like lowering cortisol)… and discovered a passion for digging through old research papers and modern health blogs. His goal is to come up with simple and useful advice on combating modern health issues, using the best of what both traditional and modern medicine has to offer.