The Role of Cortisol and Stress

By Karen Morris

You go through your day-to-day life, usually with mild levels of stress and then one thing might lead to a little more moderate stress, like an almost car accident or a call that your child has been hurt at school or you’re pressured to meet a deadline… and you feel your heart start to race and tension in your body…

And this surge of high energy coursing through your bloodstream can help you meet that deadline or save that accident from happening.

But what happens when your body is producing too many stress hormones and you never come down off that high?

When your body perceives stress, your Adrenal glands make and release the hormone, cortisol and send it into your bloodstream.

Cortisol, often called the “stress hormone” causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Your “fight, flight or freeze” response kicks in and spikes your levels of cortisol.

It’s okay if normal levels of cortisol are released if you are out running or at the gym – this can help regulate your blood pressure and strengthen your heart. In healthy doses like this, cortisol can help improve your memory, boost your immune system and lower your pain threshold.

However, too much stress, particularly when it contributes to weight gain, a lack of physical activity, increased alcohol consumption and other unhealthy choices, can lead to a whole host of negative side effects, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Digestive issues
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Low libido
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Increased blood pressure

How does Cortisol work?

When your body experiences that kind of high stress, your adrenal glands release cortisol into your bloodstream. The cortisol then triggers a release of glucose to your large muscles that supply an immediate source of energy.

Cortisol narrows the arteries while another hormone, epinephrine increases your heart rate. This forces your heart to pump harder and faster as you try to resolve the immediate situation or threat.

We are conditioned that stress is normal, however, if you are under constant high stress, your body may be continually pumping out cortisol and this is not healthy.

Too much cortisol leads to heart disease, immune disorders, digestive issues and more.

There are many things you can do to slow down, such as:

  • Get better sleep.
  • Find ways to deal with stress and slow your heart rate – breathing exercises and meditation are good ways of doing this.
  • Get enough exercise.
  • Schedule in your downtime.
  • Connect with friends and family.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

Here at Herbs Online Shop, we have a variety of ways we can help you to regulate your cortisol levels and reduce and manage your stress.

Firstly, take a good Magnesium supplement. Magnesium Citrate may relieve and reduce the incidence of migraines, headaches, stress, anxiety, depression, constipation, restless leg syndrome and more.

We then recommend a herbal protocol such as Adrenal Fatigue Tonic. Adrenal Tonic is for anyone suffering from any of the symptoms such as exhaustion, weakened immunity, sleep disturbances, insomnia, anxiety, foggy mind, and food cravings.

If you feel you need extra help with your nervous system, try our Nerve Tonic – it helps to restore your nervous system, is great for performance anxiety and restores balance and restfulness in the body. With a blend of Skullcap, Chamomile, Oats, Lemon balm and Zizyphus., it will have you feeling nourished, calm and supported.

When your sleep is impacted by stress and anxiety, we all know it’s hard to function well. Our blend of Sleep Forte herbs are specially designed to help you get to sleep and stay asleep longer. It’s one of our most popular herbals for sleep and calming the mind and the body.

Of course, if you are unsure and need extra support on your health journey, please do contact us at (02) 9555 5117 or book yourself in for a consult and we’ll design a protocol that’s especially for you. Click here for the link to book.

It’s so important to get on top of your stress levels before they lead to health complications down the track. We want you to be functioning at your very best, so please do reach out for support and let us help you, naturally.

And, as always, please consult your doctor before starting any new protocol.