Get to Know your Biomarkers: Cortisol
GET TO KNOW CORTISOL
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that is released in response to stress. Levels of cortisol fluctuate during the day, though they peak in the morning and are lowest at night. Cortisol is important for providing quick spurts of energy, maintaining blood glucose levels, regulating blood pressure, and aiding in fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism, among other functions.
High levels of cortisol negatively impact health.
Elevated levels of cortisol often indicate high levels of stress. Sustained, elevated levels of cortisol can lead to an increase in body fat, impair immunity, accelerate the process of aging, and negatively impact mental health.
Elevated cortisol may damper the immune system.
Prolonged high cortisol has been found to inhibit the secretion of histamine, an organic compound which recruits white blood cells to ward off infection. Cortisol also decreases the efficiency of immune cell signaling pathways, impairing the bodies ability to remove foreign or potentially harmful cells.
Too much cortisol may affect your mental health.
Cognitive deficiencies in memory storage, formation, and processing appear to be related to cortisol secretion in individuals with depression. Other research has found an association between increased cortisol levels and symptoms of depression such as anxiety and unhappiness.
WAYS TO OPTIMIZE CORTISOL
Exercise and eat whole foods daily.
Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet (think whole foods!), reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine intake, getting sufficient sleep and rest, and maintaining positive and healthy relationships all help to maintain optimal cortisol levels.
Focus on stress management techniques.
Stress management techniques can play a significant role in controlling cortisol levels. Identifying how you respond to stress, as well as your personal stressors and relaxants, is important. Practice relaxation through yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or listening to music.
Add natural products to your wellness routine.
Adding natural products to your wellness routine would be the best way to start managing your stress levels. Hemp-derived CBD might be the perfect natural ingredient to regulate cortisol levels by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, thus helping your metabolism's natural rhythm.
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