1 Cortisol Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Below is a list of commonly used nutritional compounds used to help improve cortisol levels. Consult with your doctor before starting any nutritional supplements. High Cortisol Dietary: Autoimmune, Keto or Paleo Lifestyle: lower stress Exercise: Yoga, Tai Chi, walking. Supplements Phosphatidylserine (PS) PS has been shown to be effective in lowering elevated cortisol levels. A minimum of 600mg per day in divided doses is necessary, with as much as 2,000mg possibly being helpful. Individual results will vary and finding a dose suitable for you can take some experimentation. Adaptogens (please see list below for more information on adaptogens) Adaptogens are a group of herbs that have been shown to improve the body s stress response, and are indicated in the case of low cortisol, regardless of the cause.
2 Below are a list of supplements that are needed for effective regulation of the cortisol feedback control mechanism. All of these nutrients are necessary in nutritionally correcting adrenal dysfunction: vitamin B6 pantothenic acid vitamin C calcium magnesium potassium manganese zinc Low Cortisol Dietary: Autoimmune or Paleo Lifestyle: lower stress Exercise: Yoga, Tai Chi, walking. Supplements Licorice Root Licorice root extract has been shown to increase the half-life of cortisol in the body. In other words, it does not increase cortisol production but rather, keeps the cortisol in circulation longer, thereby increasing levels. Adaptogens The number one class of compounds most likely to be of benefit to stress and adrenal gland dysfunction are called adaptogens. The term adaptogen was originally coined by a researcher, Berkman, in the late 1950s and was used to described compounds were shown to help increase the body s ability to resist and tolerate stressful situations. Since then the term adaptogen has come to mean a number of different things, but the main principle still applies adaptogens help the body deal with stress whether someone is experiencing high or low adrenal function.
3 Panax Ginseng (Korean ginseng) 200mg of standardized extract daily in divided doses Panax ginseng may potentiate adrenal activity in part through immuno-modulation. Its principle constituents, ginsenosides, have analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Panax has been shown to improve fatty acid oxidation during prolonged exercise, which increase the body s utilization of fatty acids rather than glucose and glycogen. This can decrease the demand of cortisol production by the adrenal glands and is evidenced by its ability to reduce adrenal gland weight, triglycerides and serum corticosterone levels during chronic stress. Eleutherococcus senticosus (previously known as Siberian Ginseng) mg of standardized extract daily in divided doses Eleutherococcus can help improve the HPA axis during acute and chronic stress. It has been shown to decrease adrenal hypertrophy and subsequent depletion of adrenal vitamin C levels. It has been shown to increase stamina, has anti-fatigue, anti-stress and anti-inflammatory effects, and may be beneficial to the immune system. Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera, Indian ginseng, winter cherry) mg of standardized extract daily in divided doses Ashwagandha has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha has antistress, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and immunostimulatory effects. It has also been shown to prevent an increase in stress induced adrenal weight, and has increased stamina and endurance in animal studies. Unlike Panax ginseng, ashwaghanda has been shown to increase relaxation. Rhodiola rosea mg of standardized extract daily in divided doses Rhodiola has a strong tradition of use in Eastern Europe and Asia, with a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, decreasing depression, improving work performance, and eliminating fatigue. Extracts of rhodiola produce favorable changes in a variety of physiological systems including neurotransmitter levels, central nervous system activity and cardiovascular function. Rhodiola has also been shown to improve cognitive function and decrease mental fatigue. Numerous animal studies demonstrate Rhodiola s ability to offer resistance against a range of physical, chemical and biological stressors. Holy Basil mg of standardized extract daily in divided doses Holy basil has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. While human trials are sometimes sparse, holy basil is suggested to have antifatigue, antioxidant, and cardioprotective properties. Holy basil has been shown to promote normalization of blood sugar, triglyceride and cortisol levels, as well as improve digestive health and function. Adrenal Glandulars Dose will vary depending on the manufacturer Adrenal glandulars are actual concentrates of adrenal gland from animal (i.e. porcine, bovine) sources. Little research has been done on adrenal glandular formulations, though they have been used clinically for a long time.
4 Additional Nutrients There are a number of various vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that have been shown to be helpful when nutritionally supporting adrenal dysfunction. Many of these nutrients will be found in broad-spectrum adrenal support supplements. Vitamin C has been shown to support adrenal function and decrease elevated cortisol levels. Vitamin C has also been found to reduce the oxidation rate of catecholamines. Thiamin has been shown to protect the adrenal gland from functional exhaustion secondary to surgery (stressor) by reducing cortisol production during the surgery. Administration of thiamin reduced postsurgery cortisol levels. Pantethine has been shown to enhance adrenal cortex function and may decrease hypersecretion of cortisol secondary to stressful situations. Pantothenic acid is essential to the adrenal glands for production of the glucocorticoids Lipoic Acid is typically known for its antioxidant properties, but has been shown to prevent the accumulation of catecholamines in cardiac tissue secondary to stress, and also increases the degradation of catecholamines (i.e. epinephrine). Tyrosine in people with low adrenal function, or who perform poorly on the orthostatic hypotension test, may be beneficial in maintaining normal levels of catecholamines. Tyrosine is a precursor amino acid to epinephrine and nor epinephrine and therefore may help individuals low in these adrenal hormones. Pyridoxal-5'-phosphate has shown antistress effect by significantly reducing levels of brain norepinephrine. It is also important in healthy adrenal gland function. Folic acid and vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) when deficient have been related to disturbances in norepinephrine metabolism. COMPOUNDS TO CONSIDER IN ANXIETY The following compounds may be helpful in stressful situations when anxiety, insomnia or hyperreactivity are present: Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) mg daily in divided doses Valerian has a long history of use for its sedative effects. It appears to stimulate release of the primary inhibitory nerurotransmitter GABA, improve the function of GABA receptors, and inhibit breakdown of GABA. Passion flower (Passiflora incarnate) 0.5-2g of dried passion flower 3-4 times daily It has been suggested that the passion flower constituent, apigenin, binds to central benzodiazepine receptors, possibly causing anxiolytic effects without impairing memory or motor skills.
5 Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) One cup of tea taken several times per day as needed This herb has been suggested to improve calmness via the inhibitory action of GABA, similar to benzodiazepines, but without the overt side-effects of these medications. L-theanine 200-1,200mg daily in divided doses L-theanine has demonstrated in animal models to decrease norepinephrine, decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and suppress the stimulatory effects of caffeine. It is an amino acid found in green tea and has been associated with relaxation as well as helping to improve alpha wave activity in the brain Taurine 1-6 grams a day in divided doses Along with GABA, taurine is recognized to be a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, specifically acting as a modulator of GABAnergic function. Magnesium mg daily in divided doses Given that patients who are experiencing elevated catecholamines are often insulin resistant, and given the fact that insulin resistance retards cellular uptake of magnesium, it is extremely important to use highly absorbable chelated forms of magnesium such as malate or glycinate. Specific Formulas Designs for Health: Adrenatone Plus, Catecholacalm, Adrenal Complex, Stress Arrest Integrative Therapeutics: Cortisol Manager, Stress Essentials, Adrenal Complex