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What Does Cortisol Do in the Body?


Why It Is So Important to Have the Right Levels of Cortisol

Cortisol, better known as the “stress hormone,” serves many key purposes in the body. Most cells in the body have cortisol receptors, so the hormone can affect many different functions throughout the body. Cortisol is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands at the top of each kidney. Some of the functions of cortisol include:

  • Helping control blood sugar levels
  • Regulating metabolism
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Assisting with memory formulation
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Controlling salt and water balance
  • Increasing the body’s metabolism of glucose
  • Regulating the body’s response to stress or anger

The adrenal glands that produce cortisol are regulated by the pituitary gland, which is impacted by the hypothalamus in the brain. The pituitary gland is a small, peanut-sized gland at the base of the brain that influences almost every part of the body. The hormones in the pituitary gland regulate vital bodily functions, like growth, blood pressure, and reproduction.

When cortisol levels in the blood are low, the hypothalamus releases a corticotrophin-releasing hormone. This encourages the pituitary gland to secrete another hormone, the adrenocorticotropic hormone, which the adrenal glands take note of and take action. When you wake up in the morning, exercise, or experience acute stress, the pituitary gland signals the adrenaline gland to produce cortisol, so these are the times when the body carries the highest levels of the hormone.

The blood levels of cortisol can still change throughout the day. When the body produces the correct amount, cortisol serves some useful and healthy purposes. However, when the body produces too much cortisol, the result can be an unpleasant condition called Cushing’s syndrome. Cortisol affects all tissues and organs in the body, and when these interactions happen excessively, the result can be a condition that causes a fatty hump between the shoulders, a rounded face, and pink or purple stretch marks. Other symptoms of Cushing's syndrome include high blood pressure, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, mood swings, and increased thirst or frequency of urination. High levels of cortisol have also been linked to low sex drive and reproductive problems in women like irregular periods.

How Do You Lower Cortisol Levels?

In the long run, the best way to lower cortisol levels is to manage stress. We know this can be easier said than done, but when you begin to incorporate the healthy living practices that work best for you, you will likely stay motivated to continue them because of how great they make you feel. Some of the best ways to lower cortisol levels in the body include:

  • Getting regular exercise

When you exercise regularly, you reduce levels of the body’s stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. On the flip side, you stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators, so it’s a win-win.

  • Getting adequate sleep

If you are not getting enough sleep, the body is more likely to produce high levels of cortisol. After a period of sleep deprivation, subjects have displayed higher levels of cortisol later in the day, which is the time that the body should ideally be preparing for rest.

  • Spending time in nature

A study published in Frontiers in Psychology showed that spending at least 20 to 30 minutes submerged in nature was associated with the biggest drop in cortisol levels. Throughout the years, studies have shown time and time again that heart rate and blood pressure lowered when individuals spent more time in outdoor environments. As it turns out, the great outdoors can actually facilitate greater health.

  • Establishing mind-body practices

Mindfulness and meditation lower the cortisol levels in the blood, which suggests that it lowers stress and can decrease the risk of diseases that result from stress, including psychiatric disorders, peptic ulcers and migraines, according to a study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at Srinakharinwirot University. This suggests that mindfulness and meditation can be an excellent counterpart to other healthy habits in controlling stress levels.

At Soza Weight Loss, we would like to help you establish the kind of healthy habits that can regulate your cortisol levels and ultimately, your stress levels. Our “Soza Adrenal Energy Support” is designed to help with stress, anxiety, and weight loss. It is a glandular based adrenal product that offers comprehensive support for overall adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function. In other words, it helps you regulate your stress hormones and achieve optimal health.

We have designed a specific concoction of ingredients that work together to promote ideal levels of cortisol in the body as well as replete common nutritional deficiencies that can result from stress. As an added benefit, if you take Soza Adrenal Energy Support when you are experiencing chronic stress, you might have less negative side effects, like anxiety and weight gain. Cortisol plays an important role in your body, but understanding how it works and how to control it will help you establish some healthy boundaries with the hormone, which will keep your body happy.

To learn more about how our products and programs can support your weight loss journey and your health, call Soza Weight Loss at (504) 475-9817 or contact us online.