HIGH CORTISOL LEVELS
Thyroid patients can be very familiar the low cortisol issue, but what about having high cortisol?
Turns out its a common problem, whether ones saliva results reveal high cortisol here or there, or high results at all four times, or just having too high levels right at bedtime. And having high cortisol can create the exact same symptoms as having lownausea in the face of stress, adrenaline surges which wire you or keep you awake, lowered temp, high RT3you name it. High cortisol inhibits conversion of T4 to T3, and increases your RT3 level,. You can see a return of hypothyroid symptoms and a lowered temp.
Having too high levels of cortisol two or more times in the day can point to untreated hypothyroidism (due to the TSH lab test or by being off by choice), undertreated hypothyroidism (due to being on T4-only meds), dosing with too much progesterone cream, current high life stressors, chronic illness, and more. (By the way, this is different from the disease called Cushings, which is the result of taking too much cortisol prescription meds, or a tumor causing the excess cortisol.)
High bedtime cortisol can cause disruption of your sleep pattern, resulting in problems falling asleep, or staying asleep, or bothwhich is the very thing you dont need!
But help is just around the corner at your local health food store. The following are examples of over-the-counter products which could help lower your cortisol levels. Remember to watch for symptoms that reveal your cortisol is back down (such as being able to fall asleep and stay asleep, or less anxiety, or rising temps, etc). You can then decrease the supplement and soon get off so you dont lower it too much!
- Phosphatidyl serine (PS) is a fatty acid found in your immune cells and muscle tissue, as well as being prevalent in your brain cells. And as a supplement, it helps lower cortisol when its high levels are damaginglowering it from 30% to 70% according to different literature. When you shop for it, you want simple Phosphatidyl Serine rather than Phosphatidyl Complex, which will contain both PS and Phosphatidyl Choline. The complexes will often say 500 mg, of which 100 mg is the Phosphatidyl Serine. But the complex can give you a strange spacey feeling in the mornings. Recommended doses of PS range from 300 mg to 1000 mg, and you might start around 300 mg and see if you get relief, or raise until you do. If you have all day high cortisol, you can experiment with 300 mg at breakfast, another 300 by lunch, and 300 around supperor every few hours. One downside of PS: its derived from soy. And soy is a known thyroid inhibitor. So you might want to pay careful attention to your other sources of soy, and eliminate them. Another good alternative is Seriphos, which has the ingredients that PS converts to: Phosphorylated Serine. And most brands have no soy! Check the label.
- Zinc can also help lower high cortisol levels! Recommended dosages range from 25 mg to 100 mg, and the latter has been the most effective at nighttime, say patients. Its important to have food in your stomach when taking zinc to prevent stomach upsets. Some patients will add zinc to their PS dosage. Dont take zinc foreverit can lower copper levels. Use it until cortisol is lowered. Or, add copper to your supplementation, such as 2-4 mg say some experts. (Note: if you have an MTHFR mutation, you may need to check your zinc levels before using zinc)
- Adaptogens can help lower high cortisol due to their regulating effect on stress. They include Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Schizandra and Eleuthero.but Holy Basil is more targeted to lower high cortisol.
***The revised STTM book covers the high cortisol topic even more and other supplement suggestions, if needed.
By the way, if morning is low, and noon is high, you can help lower the latter by treating the former with cortisolor if bedtime is high, and morning is low, you can improve the morning by lowering the bedtime.