Balancing cortisol levels in a stressful life and the importance of adrenal testing with your Naturopathic Doctor to avoid adrenal fatigue.
Cortisol is one of the main hormones produced by the adrenal glands and released under times of stress. It is often referred to as the “fight or flight” hormone as it helps the body to take on a stressor by increasing blood sugar levels, increasing the heart rate, and activating the central nervous system all to help the body to respond to the stressor it has encountered. Under the daily stressors of every day life, output of cortisol is often disrupted which causes an imbalance in the normal daily rhythm. When the adrenal output cannot keep up with the every day demand it is often referred to as adrenal fatigue and results in symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, difficulty losing weight, anxiousness, or depression.
Balancing the adrenal output of cortisol is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Both high or low cortisol output can lead to health problems including further disruption of other hormones in the body such as thyroid and sex hormones. Some simple tips to balance and manage stress and cortisol rhythm include exercise, deep breathing, maintaining normal sleep habits, repletion of deficient nutrients, and using adaptogenic botanicals.
Exercise is a great way to manage and balance stress. In fact, exercise reproduces a healthy stress response by naturally stressing the body. Cortisol output increases and the heart rate increases, you begin to sweat, and breathing gets heavier. Once you start to cool down, cortisol response decreases, teaching the body to adjust it’s cortisol output as necessary and avoiding constant highs or constant lows. Another great way to balance stress and lower cortisol is to take your exercise outside as small studies have shown that exercise outdoors lowers blood levels of cortisol but not only that many studies have shown the improvements in self-esteem, enthusiasm, pleasure and even can lower feelings of fatigue and depression.
Another great way to work on the adrenal balance is to implement a healthy sleep-wake cycle by implementing a nightly bedtime routine with a healthy bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the body, which helps to cause drowsiness. Melatonin output increases in darkness and begins to increase at the end of the day as cortisol levels begin to lower. Disturbances in either hormone can lead to sleep disturbances so avoiding lights or other stimulation such as from a computer, TV, iPad or phone at bedtime is important in a bedtime routine so that melatonin secretion in not dampened.
There are many other natural supplements and herbal therapies that help rebalance the cortisol output which your naturopathic doctor can help to implement. It is important to consult with your naturopathic doctor to implement adrenal testing to determine what type of adrenal imbalance you might have. Whether cortisol output is too high, too low cortisol, or other imbalance such as an irregular circadian rhythm, testing adrenal output will help your provider to better implement a treatment plan that covers your particular imbalance.
Contact our office in Minnetonka, MN today at (952) 417-1912 to get your adrenal testing done so you can start managing your stress and balancing your cortisol rhythm.