Too much cortisol, your primary stress hormone, can wreak havoc on a sensitive thyroid. Here are five proven ways to protect your thyroid and get your health back on track.
We are all very familiar with stress, but what we often don’t know is that cortisol – a hormone in the body – drives this stress response. Cortisol is vital for a healthy immune system, blood pressure regulation, and crisis response.
Problems arise, however, when our cortisol levels remain high for too long. Excess cortisol can cause thyroid chaos, so balancing your cortisol levels are key to improving your health.
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Why Your Thyroid Problems Aren’t Getting Better
If you discover that you have low thyroid function – either as hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – it’s assumed that you need to increase your thyroid function with medication. This is partially true for many people, though simply throwing medication at the problem won’t help you understand how the issue started in the first place. While there are many underlying triggers of low thyroid, there is one common factor: stress, or high cortisol.
Stress is a huge problem for those with thyroid issues in particular, because cortisol actively suppresses thyroid hormone output. (1, 2) In essence, stress decreases thyroid activity in an effort to conserve energy for the “fight or flight” task at hand.
High levels of cortisol can also lead to blood pressure changes, weight gain, poor digestion, blood sugar instability, and even anxiety and depression. These issues can all contribute to exacerbated thyroid symptoms. (3, 4, 5, 6)
The good news is that there are things you can do to decrease cortisol levels. If you’ve been feeling the pressure from work, personal life, parenting, health, or other challenges, odds are your cortisol levels are out of whack.
5 Herbs and Supplements to Decrease Cortisol
Cortisol is a natural response in the body when stressful situations arise. However, when your body is always on the alert, cortisol gets out of control. The following five tips can help restore your natural hormone balance. Just remember to always check with your doctor before taking new herbs or supplements.
When choosing a fish oil supplement, make sure it is sourced from wild-caught fish and contains no fillers, like this one. Follow the recommended dosage.
Keep in mind that l-theanine can make you feel very relaxed, so it’s best taken right before bed. For optimal results, take it regularly to reap the benefits of lowered cortisol levels the next day. Try a product like this and follow the recommended dosage from your practitioner.
Valerian root is an herbal sleep aid that works by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain, reducing stress-related issues like anxiety and insomnia. (10) Valerian is not habit-forming and can help address many types of sleep issues, like poor sleep quality. Try a product like this.
Tip: Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking, as sleep aids have a higher chance of interacting with them.
Do you take a daily multivitamin? Not everyone does, but if you’re dealing with chronic stress and cortisol problems, it might be a good idea.
Be sure to choose a multivitamin that has higher amounts of B vitamins, like this one. More B vitamins help to reduce stress levels, even for people with certain genetic mutations (like MTHFR) that make it hard to convert and activate B vitamins. (11)
Do you find the smell of lavender calming? Research shows that the scent of lavender can lower cortisol levels in new mothers who are sleep deprived, as well as stress in infants. (12) The best part about lavender aromatherapy is that it’s safe and easy, with no medication or other supplemental interactions.
Diffuse lavender in your room while you sleep, at your desk while you work, in your bath or shower, or mix it with a carrier oil, like jojoba, for a stress-busting facial oil.
The Bottom Line
Cortisol can be a good thing when it’s in balance. A certain level of stress helps our bodies get things done, like boost adrenaline to get through a marathon or a big work presentation. But when stress levels become chronic, the negative effects outweigh the good. Lowering cortisol back into balance is vital for overall health as well as a balanced thyroid.
These five supplemental options help to calm elevated cortisol levels. Still, don’t underestimate the value of gentle exercise, deep breathing, and any other activities that you find stress-relieving.
(Read This Next: Discover More About Thyroid Disease Symptoms, Signs & Treatment Here)
Not getting enough sleep can
make you fat, kill your sex drive,
trigger depression, and even DOUBLE your risk of death.
Not getting enough sleep
can make you fat,
kill your sex drive, trigger
depression, and even
DOUBLE your risk of death.