This is topic How to lower Cortisol levels? in forum Medical Questions at LymeNet Flash.

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Posted by sammy (Member # 13952) on :
My most recent adrenal test results were shockingly high, nighttime cortisol was 7x higher than the upper normal limit, daytime levels were 2-4x higher.

No wonder I can't fight off these infections, I'm gaining weight, and losing hair. If cortisol remains too high for too long it can lead to hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

So, has anyone successfully lowered their cortisol levels? What did you do and how long did it take?

I've pulled up and read several old threads here as well as done some research on the internet. From what I have read, Ketoconazole would be the quickest way to drop cortisol levels. But it has some serious potential side effects and drug interactions.

Most recommended supplements that I've seen are: Vit C (1,000-3,000mg), Seriphos (2 caps), Melatonin (1-3mg at bed), Relora (2-3caps), Pantethine (500-1500mg), D-Ribose (5g BID), and DIM.

I'm already taking Adrenal Essence by Xymogen (B6, Pantothenic Acid, Cordyceps, Rhodiola, Panax Ginseng) and Siberian Eleuthero, and Adrenal Complex (adrenal glandular) as recommended by my doctor.

Any suggestions?
Posted by lymeinhell (Member # 4622) on :
Holy Basil

I take Holy Basil from New Chapter
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Until infections are resolved, it may be difficult. But, I'd sure try Holy Basil as that is one of the most calming of all adaptogens/adrenal supports. Panax Ginseng, Rhodiola and grandular extract are the most excitatory ones and may be too strong for some with very weak adrenal function.

Or maybe take those earlier in the day and Holy Basil in the evening.

Ashwagandha works very nicely and I've never had the excitatory push from that as with some other adrenal supplements. One way to tell is if you feel a push or boost of energy from anything, it's generally going to drop you later and that stress can raise cortisol. But a sense of more stable energy is good. Lower doses may also be needed for some that can be too stimulatory in action.

Hawthorn extract may be something to look consider as it helps to support the heart, thereby helping to lower stress hormones.

Turmeric/Curcumin also has a profound effect on stress management.

Fish oil, too. Other things that help:

LIGHTS OUT - I wonder if turning out all your lights with the sun (or in a modified manner of speaking) would make a difference. It has for others.

COAXING A YAWN - in a deliberate therapeutic manner - is said to lower cortisol.



MUSIC that is calming with a rhythm that matches the resting heart beat. The time signature can also make a difference: 3/4 time music works better for me than 4/4. You might check out the book: The Mozart Effect (Don Campbell).

[ 10-25-2010, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]
Posted by LuLuFlorida (Member # 12066) on :
I am so sorry you are going through this. I dealt with cushings syndorme for a year and had simalar symptoms. Your hair will grow back when this gets resolved. DHEA really helped me with this.

I am not sure but I think the grandular extract may make things worse. I would double check this, I know I took one for low cortisol levels years ago. Now I take licorise and Adrenal essence and am back to my normal weight.

Hang in there!
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :

I assume you are working with your doctor on this and that your LLMD has no other suggestions (?)

You might ask for a referral to a LL endocrinologist. It may be helpful to get imaging of the brain (particularly the pituitary, the hypothalamus) and the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys - as well as thyroid tests.
Posted by MorningSong (Member # 19989) on :

My Cortisol tested high as well. My LLMD also tested (like keebler mentioned) ACTH made by the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenals to make cortisol. He also tested Vasopressin (spelling?) made by the Hypothalamus. All three tested high for me.

I am thankful that a recent MRI did not show anything, but like Keebler stated it would be good to look into.
Posted by sammy (Member # 13952) on :
Thank you Julie, Keebler, and LuLu for giving me some additional things to think about.

My LLMD ordered both Cortisol and DHEA tests, still waiting on the DHEA results. That will give us a better picture of what's going on with my adrenals.

So no, I am not self treating. My next appt is in about 3wks and I'd like to be prepared to discuss these things with my LLMD. We always have so much to address during the appt, it is hard to get everything in unless I come prepared with organized questions.

It is concerning to me because we're having such a difficult time managing my infections. The antibiotics seem to barely keep them in check. When I go off for even a day (like when PICC line broke) I relapse severely. We've tried progressively aggressive protocols along with supportive alternative treatments (like herbs and HBOT) and detox. They are just not enough.

So this increase in cortisol is dampening my body's response to the infections, the infections are causing way too much stress on my body which further increases the cortisol response. It also messes with the thyroid hormone balance and many others. Probably why I continue to have hypothyroid symptoms despite treatment with Armour.
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Can you get professional massage? That will lower cortisol levels. If too painful, though, be sure to have the LMT do a method that is enjoyable and relaxing. Most are trained in many different approaches.
Posted by sammy (Member # 13952) on :
A massage sounds good. How often would I need to get a massage to help reduce cortisol levels?

There are plenty of things that I already do that help me relax, take my mind off things, and laugh a lot. I don't feel tense or anxious or wired. I feel super tired all the time, so much so that it has been difficult for me to read and concentrate (I love to read).

So would massage still be helpful for me?
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Yes, massage would be good. Twice a week is best, of course but once a week, at least, until your body gets into a rhythm. You can search the web for the medical benefit of massage.

And, consider:


Curcumin Prevents Some Stress-Related Changes


A recently published study investigated the effects of curcumin, a constituent of the botanical turmeric, on changes in cognition and memory caused by stress. . . .

In this new study, researchers investigated the effect of curcumin supplementation on stress-induced learning defects in mice. . . .

The results of the study showed that curcumin reversed memory deficits in a dose dependent manner, meaning increasing dosages of curcumin provided increasingly improved memory in the mice.

In addition, curcumin reversed the stress-induced increase in the levels of serum corticosterone, the primary hormone secreted during the stress response.

The researchers also found that the effectiveness of curcumin was similar to the effects of a tri-cyclic antidepressant.

. . . inhibited changes due to corticosterone-induced toxicity including preserving nerve cell connections, and inhibiting the corticosterone-induced activation of the enzyme calcium/calmodulin kinase II and stimulated glutamate receptor expression, which play a role in neurotransmitter secretion and certain kinds of memory and learning.

The researchers concluded, Thus, curcumin may be an effective therapeutic for learning and memory disturbances as was seen within these stress models, and

its neuroprotective effect was mediated in part by normalizing the corticosterone response, resulting in down-regulating of the phosphorylated calcium/calmodulin kinase II and glutamate receptor levels.


However, in the book "One Earth Herbal Sourcebook" Tillotson writes:

. . . If you have bile duct obstruction, gall stones, or stomach ulcers: due to mucin-reducing effects, do not use the concentrated extract (curcumin) or oil in high doses.

Use turmeric as a spice freely. . . .

[ 10-27-2010, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: Keebler ]
Posted by nellers78 (Member # 26774) on :
I actually have the opposite problem with my levels. They are too low and I'm on medication for that.

Good luck on lowering levels!
Posted by METALLlC BLUE (Member # 6628) on :
High Cortisol: Seriphos. If the number is two times normal at a specific time, then take two capsules. As the number cuts in half again, take 1.
Posted by sammy (Member # 13952) on :
Metallic Blue, was your cortisol elevated all day and at bedtime? How often did you have to take Seriphos? My cortisol levels were tested at 8am, noon, 4pm, and 11pm. So would it be too much to take 1-2 capsules with lunch, dinner, and bed?

Can taking Seriphos make me feel more tired if I take it during the day? I've been taking Phos Serine 200mg at bedtime for the past couple months but haven't noticed any changes. I've been taking it mainly for brain and nerve support. I have since read that Seriphos is a more concentrated and more readily absorbed form of Phos Serine so it sounds like a good thing to try.

Of course I'm asking for opinions and experiences here, I know that my doctor may recommend something else for me to try but I'd like to know what worked for you too.
Posted by Stefan (Member # 19150) on :
Is D- Ribose also for overactive glands usefull?

Or only for adrenal exhaustion (underactive glands)?
Posted by sammy (Member # 13952) on :
From what I understand D-Ribose helps provide energy to the cells which helps lower stress on the body. So it should support the adrenals even if cortisol is too high or too low.

I tried it for awhile a couple months ago and didn't notice a big difference. I might try it again because I don't think that I took it regularly the first time around. It doesn't seem to interact with any meds or supplements as far a I know.
Posted by keltyl (Member # 14050) on :
Sammy....high cortisol at night and early am has been a major problem for me. First, I have to say I'm on a detox protocol and has really affected me cognitively. Has been very hard for me to post lately,so bear with me.

JF wanted me to see an endo in Conn (4+ hrs each way). 2nd choice was to see a compounding pharmacist in Albany. My appoint was for 1 hr, ended up there 2 hrs. Unfortunately, when you have high cortisol you can't just take a pill.

From LLMD I was on seriphos [email protected], adrenal essence and Licorice Plus. Mine would go down early eve,then start going up late eve and at 6:30 am (spit test), was super high. Then during the day it would up, down and all over the place.

I have been on this regimen about 1 1/2 months, and don't think I could do it w/o my sleep meds yet. I'll have to do it another time, but if interested will give my regimen.

And lately my hair is falling out really bad. If I'm taking supps to lower my cortisol, why would that be?
Posted by sk8ter (Member # 8671) on :
Did they test for high Testosterone and high DHEA? That can cause hair to fall out.
Posted by keltyl (Member # 14050) on :
sk8....can't think to fully explain all this now, but I did have some hormone testing done. My hormones have been all over the place too. I supplemented with compounded hormones for several years. At that time my hormones were all super low.

[ 10-29-2010, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: keltyl ]
Posted by keltyl (Member # 14050) on :
Checking to see if this post comes back up for Sammy.
Posted by sammy (Member # 13952) on :
Thank you everyone for continuing to share your thoughts and information with me. It is good to know that there are some things that I can do that might help my body cope with this better.

I think the biggest problem/stress for me right now is the infections. It's really been a struggle lately so I'm not surprised that my adrenals are stressed and overproducing trying to help my body get things back under control.

My LLMD called a couple days ago, he did receive the cortisol results but was more concerned about other lab results and med issues. My actual appt is in about a week so I ask him more then.
Posted by minerva (Member # 20410) on :
i have off the chart (really, couldnt fit on the graph!) high levels of cortisol.

it starts climbing early in the AM then peaks at 11ish then drops to almost the bottom of the graph, instead of the gradual drop and leveling out that should happen.
my pain levels are the worst in the am so iam sure some of that is related.

does anyone else have this same pattern? if yes, has anything helped?

i am so fricken tired all the time but with my levels so high for part of my day i don't want to push my already taxed adrenals.
thanks for any thoughts
Posted by Stefan (Member # 19150) on :
My cortisol spit test came back yesterday. Horrible high at 8 o clock in the morning. The afternoon test was ok and the onelate evening slightly elevated.

How long does it take to feel the effects when taking seriphos and holy basil?
Posted by Stefan (Member # 19150) on :
Again tests with endocr. 24 h urine cortisol perfect, Dexamethason test perfect as well, no cushing, just spike with the saliva test

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