Cortisol: The Surprising Mood Booster and Stress Buster You Might Be Missing Out On

Cortisol is a hormone often dubbed the “stress hormone,” and it’s been generating significant interest in the world of natural healing. Produced by the adrenal glands, cortisol plays a crucial role in many of our body’s functions, including metabolism. When used in safe, small doses, cortisol can help reverse many common signs of illness and provide impressive mood-boosting benefits.

Corticosteroids: Misunderstood and Misused

Cortisol is the key hormone manufactured by the adrenal cortex and is the same molecule as prescription medications like hydrocortisone (Cortef®) and Compound F. Synthetic versions of cortisol such as betamethasone and dexamethasone are used as powerful anti-inflammatory medications.

Regrettably, people often fear cortisol and its synthetic counterparts due to a mistake made by orthodox medicine. When cortisone was discovered in 1949, researchers did not know the appropriate dosage and administered massive doses that proved to be harmful and sometimes lethal in the long term. The truth is that when used in low physiologic doses, corticosteroid hormones actually improve thyroid function and enhance the immune system, without any adverse side effects.

Cortisol: Improved Mood and Stress Relief

Cortisol supplementation can help alleviate several symptoms that most of us encounter, particularly regarding mood and stress levels. Cortisol works to calm down excessive activity in the sympathetic nervous system. When we face mental or physical stress, our adrenal glands produce adrenaline, which can lead to emotional outbursts if our cortisol levels are too low. Supplementing cortisol can help counteract this effect.

Moreover, cortisol helps generate energy in stressful situations, both physical and emotional. Regular exercise, for instance, is a form of stress on the body, and our bodies naturally produce extra cortisol in response. Without adequate cortisol levels, physical activity could result in severe fatigue and exhaustion.

Insufficient cortisol levels can also cause people to react to stress with a range of inappropriate and excessive emotions. Low cortisol levels can even contribute to cravings for sweet or salty foods, memory loss, confusion, anger outbursts, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Furthermore, a possible link exists between low cortisol levels and low blood pressure, which can result in feelings of drowsiness, lightheadedness, and faintness.

Straightening the Record

Dr. William McK. Jefferies, a clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, wrote a book on the safe usage of small physiologic doses of cortisol, “Safe Uses of Cortisol.” The book examines why mainstream medicine still doesn’t widely use cortisol, highlighting a lack of promotion by pharmaceutical companies and a general misunderstanding between the effects of physiologic versus pharmacologic dosages.

However, recent years have seen a new understanding of the need for optimal cortisol levels in our bodies and the potential benefits of supplementation. These low doses of cortisol have been connected to improvements in personal energy, immune system stimulation, anti-inflammatory and anti-pain effects, and overall well-being. To make the most of these benefits, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional about what cortisol supplementation might be appropriate for your specific needs.