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Cortisol: How It Governs Our Lives

Can the stress hormone cortisol be regulated and can its secretion be directed for the benefit of your life?

The Benefits of Stress Hormones

The main stress hormones are cortisol, adrenaline and insulin. The hormones help the body adapt to difficult, emotionally charged, dangerous and other unusual, atypical conditions. With a surge of adrenaline, the body mobilizes, and cortisol stimulates energy production. Insulin is responsible for the absorption of glucose, which is actively released into the bloodstream.

How Cortisol Works

Cortisol is responsible for accumulating our resources so that the body has the strength to “hit or run.” The hormone breaks down muscle tissue protein to provide glucose to the brain – it’s the only way to support the body’s energy-intensive processes in a situation of acute stress, such as:

  • Activation of brain activity.
  • Normalization of blood pressure.
  • Muscle tone and tension.


Another function of cortisol is to inhibit the response of internal organ cells to insulin to prevent them from “burning out” from excess fuel and to redirect glucose to the brain to activate mental activity.

The Paradox of Stress Hormones

Stress hormones can both protect and destroy our bodies, depending on when and in what amounts they are produced. If we face a serious threat, if we are preparing for an exam, a tournament at Woo Casino, or a sports competition, or if our body is fighting an infection or the consequences of surgery, there is a sudden release of hormones that help us. But these same hormones, which are synthesized in small amounts, such as lack of sleep or overwork, are extremely detrimental to the health of the entire body.

Acute or Situational Stress and Cortisol

Short-term stress can be useful; it mobilizes and energizes you thanks to the action of cortisol and adrenaline.


Acute stress, such as an infection, is perceived by the body as a threat, so we immediately start producing large amounts of the hormone, our body copes with the disease. When the threat is over, cortisol production stops and the body’s parasympathetic system, responsible for restoring resources, is activated. Chronic stress dulls the body’s defenses and depletes it.


The constant presence of cortisol in the blood disrupts the body’s functional systems. The departments of our body associated with reproduction, relaxation and recovery are affected. This is why constant exposure to stress decreases libido, deteriorates the skin, and causes nervousness and irritability. Prolonged presence of cortisol in the blood leads to an accumulation of fat in the waist area, osteoporosis, immune system suppression, lethargy, the onset of metabolic syndrome, when resistance to insulin increases, the occurrence of diabetes and heart disease.


Cortisol is known for its ability to break down different types of tissue, including collagen, so the skin stops renewing itself, ages quickly, and becomes thin and dull.

Cortisol diagnostics


A normal adult produces 15 to 30 mg of the hormone cortisol per day. It’s the most difficult hormone to diagnose because its value varies greatly throughout the day. The maximum concentration is reached in the morning and the minimum in the evening.


It’s recommended to take the test several times, and only a doctor should interpret the result. Venous blood is taken for the analysis on an empty stomach strictly between 6 and 9 am.


Reducing cortisol levels in chronic stress will help:

  • Mindfulness practices and non-violent exercise. You can choose classes to your liking – meditation, yoga, muscle relaxation, tai chi, reading prayers, conscious breathing, visualization, the directed imagination method – all these techniques gently lead to a relaxation response and help the body not react to stressful situations.
  • Nutritional harmonization. Applying healthy eating habits is a big step toward getting rid of everyday stress.
  • Rhythm of life. If daily activities, work, sports and hobbies, eating and sleeping are done at the same time, the routine of habitual activities will act as an anti-stressor for the body.

What Foods Reduce Cortisol Levels in the Blood

Including these foods in the diet will help normalize blood sugar levels, increase dopamine levels and reduce anxiety:

  • Salmon – you should normally eat 180-200 g twice a week.
  • Bitter chocolate with minimal sugar content.
  • Green vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts.
  • Turkey.
  • Blueberries.


Six more ways to calm down and relieve stress:

  • Get outdoors more often.
  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Limit your use of social media.
  • When eating, talking to friends and family, don’t look at TV or other gadgets.
  • Have a restorative spa day at least once a month.
  • Get enough sleep.
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