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Cortisol and Adrenal Imbalance



Have you been tired lately? Maybe exhausted is a better word for it? Often that can be from an imbalance of cortisol, your stress hormone. Too much or too little can both cause a variety of issues. Cortisol Stimulatory hormone is what wakes us up in the morning. If your cortisol is off you may feel like you could sleep forever, or can’t sleep at all!


Low cortisol, often coined as “adrenal fatigue” can lead to a multitude of issues:

  • Poor immunity

  • Low energy

  • Low HDL (good) cholesterol

  • Blood sugar dysregulation

  • Unwanted weight gain (or loss)

  • Nervous system issues

  • Troubles getting/staying pregnant

  • Relationship & work challenges

Do you have Adrenal Fatigue? (10 signs to look for)

  • Brain fog

  • Struggle getting out of bed in the AM

  • Always tired or fatigued

  • Irritable, or have a low mood

  • Lack motivation, or you avoid exercise

  • Gaining excess weight - or unexplained weight loss

  • Crave salty or sweet snacks

  • Feel dizzy or lightheaded

  • Feel cold often

  • Unexplained body aches

Adrenal dysregulation can be caused by:

  • Stress

  • Chemical and environmental toxins

  • Poor nutrition (e.g., underlying food intolerance, food sensitivities, and micronutrient deficiencies

  • Over Exercising

  • Toxic overload from beauty products, plastics, processed food

  • Low-grade, ongoing inflammation

  • Dysbiosis of the gut - Lack of sleep


4 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Rest - Starting with the basics, rest is going to be one of the most important factors for restoring (and ongoing) adrenal health. Do your best to go to bed/wake up at the same time each day. This helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, which in turn, regulates your adrenal function.

  2. Understand Stress – try to mitigate stress in your life or release some of the things that stress you out

  3. Get your gut in check - Ongoing inflammation taxes your adrenals. The gut is a large source of inflammation - so it’s critical to address. Remove foods that trigger gut inflammation (e.g., processed foods, industrial seed oils, gluten, etc.). Focus on nutrient-dense foods, such as pasture-raised animals, green vegetables, and bone broths.

  4. Adrenal Nutrition - Your adrenal glands need specific nutrients to function at their peak. Vitamin C, zinc, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are known as vital players in adrenal health. In fact, your adrenal glands contain higher vitamin C concentrations than any other tissue in the human body! Adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, Maca, Rhodiola, and Cordyceps can also be very supportive for adrenal health. I use a formula in my office that has all of these but I like to test cortisol first.


High Cortisol

  • 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep (under 7 hours. Average sleep from 2022 data is 6 hours a night

  • Causes can be stress, anxiety, being too busy, screen time, poor food choices, lack of sleep. This can lead to less muscle, lowers progesterone and estrogen, thyroid function, increases insulin resistance, and increases menopausal symptoms

  • If cortisol is high at night you won’t sleep☹

  • How to fix high cortisol: cortisol manager from Integrative therapeutics, magnesium glycinate 500 mg minimum, GABA (a neurotransmitter that promotes calm), L- theanine a (non-protein amino acid that blocks cortisol receptors in the brain) as well as all the adrenal fatigue suggestions above!


Keep Moving Forward 😊 Sarah



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Great article! Adrenal fatigue sneaks up on us. I have heard you can tell if you have adrenal fatigue by watching the pupils of your eyes when you shine a flashlight on them. If the pupils contract the then release right away, it means your body is lacking cortisol.

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