Among the various hormones that are produced in your body is cortisol, which is a steroid hormone. This hormone is responsible for the psychological progress in your body and helps to regulate stress, body fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and metabolism. The organs that are affected by the levels of cortisol are the liver, pancreas, muscle, and adipose tissue.
The adrenal glands secrete the cortisol hormone, and its levels in the body can have a significant effect. Whether it is high or low, it is important to maintain the right level of the hormone for a healthy life. The normal range for cortisol levels in the human body is 10 to 20 mg per deciliter (mcg/ dL) from 6 to 8 a.m. and 3 to 10 mcg/dL around 4 p.m.
Specific Functions Of Cortisol Hormones
Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” plays a crucial role in various physiological functions within the human body. Here, we will look into the specific functions of cortisol hormones:
- It serves as a useful hormone that helps in the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
- It helps you to respond to stress triggers or perceived threats. It increases the availability of energy and focuses resources on essential functions.
- One of the major functions of this hormone is to regulate blood sugar and maintain its level within a normal range.
- If you have high levels of cortisol, it will help you to wake up in the morning, and if the levels are low, you will be able to rest and sleep well.
- Cortisol has several properties, and one such is the anti-inflammatory, which helps in the proper functioning of the immune system.
- It promotes the breakdown of fats and proteins and thus helps in the regulation of your metabolism.
What Will Happen If The Level Of Cortisol Is High In The Body?
- The high levels of cortisol can contribute to insulin resistance, and it may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in an individual. The hormone is crucial for blood sugar regulation and maintains the balance of glucose in the body.
- Your appetite may be increased, and you may crave high-calorie and sugary foods, thus leading to your weight gain. You can see significant fat in the abdominal area due to the eating habits adopted because of high cortisol.
- The hormone is also responsible for your mental health and helps in the regulation of your mood disorder, which includes anxiety and depression.
- You may face reproductive issues if you have high cortisol levels. In women, it commonly affects the irregularity in the menstrual cycle, whereas men may face reduced libido.
- Your sleep cycle may be affected, and you may struggle to fall asleep at night or wake up in the morning.
What To Do If You Have High Cortisol Level?
- Consumption of green tea can help lower the level of cortisol in the body as it contains L-theanine, which is known to promote calming effects.
- Eat food items such as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, and flaxseeds, as they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Go out for a walk and spend a few hours in the lap of nature, as it is one of the best therapies to lower the level of cortisol.
- Listening to music can have a soothing effect and thus keep your mind, mood, and body relaxed.
- You must practice meditation and indulge yourself in deep breathing exercises so that your body can relax.
- You can go for massages as it relaxes your muscles and reduces your stress.
- Spend time with your family or friends who can make you laugh as it reduces the effect of stress hormones on your body.
- Follow a healthy routine that includes timely sleeping, eating, waking up, and working schedule.
- You can write about your day in a journal as it acts as a therapeutic therapy and thus keeps you calm.
- Acupuncture is another natural way that helps in the relaxation of your body and mind.
- You must take warm water baths or showers in the morning or evening to put your mind and body to relax.
The levels of cortisol may vary from individual to individual as everyone has different living styles. Also, it is not necessary for everyone to have the same experience and consequences if the level of hormone is higher than the ideal range. However, with the help of some effective natural ways, you can bring down the level of cortisol if it is higher than required.