A Functional Approach to Cortisol Imbalances
Are you feeling STRESSED and suspect you have a cortisol imbalance?
Unfortunately many do and have no idea that they don’t need to suffer.
There are varying degrees of imbalances and with functional medicine, we look at the whole person and help YOU with your individual needs. There is no one size fits all approach.
Cortisol is a hormone (that we DO need) and released by the adrenal glands. It is high in the early morning (to stimulate waking up) and has small ups/downs during the day, only to start decreasing production in the later afternoon (to prepare for sleep).
However, many people have an imbalanced “cortisol curve” leading to a host of unwanted issues.
Low vs. High Cortisol
Symptoms of High Cortisol: This is where many people suffer, because they are dealing with a chronic amount of high stress. Symptoms can include: extreme fatigue in the morning but then wide awake at night, insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea or constipation, irregular or menstrual cycles, weight gain (especially around the midsection) or cannot lose weight.
Low Cortisol: Stress and cortisol “burnout” can happen after chronic high levels of stress. When the body does not produce the right peaks of cortisol during the day, the person might feel constant fatigue (no energy despite sleep, a weekend of recharging, etc). They might also have muscle and joint pain, depression, mood swings, lack of motivation and drive, and continued symptoms of high cortisol, such as inability to lose weight.
What can you do?
First, everyone’s health recommendations should be done on a personalized basis. In my practice I use different functional medicine tests, such as the DUTCH, to determine YOUR specific imbalances when it comes to cortisol.
From there, we create a specific action plan that incorporates different ways to balance cortisol and increase the “rest and digest” Parasympathetic state of the nervous system.
Your vagus nerve — also known as our vagal nerves — are the main nerves of our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
〰️ The PNS controls very specific body functions such as digestion, heart rate, mood and even our immune system!
〰️ The vagus nerve establishes one of the connections between our brain and the GI tract and sends information about the state of our inner organisms to our brain via afferent fibers.
〰️ Stimulating the vagus nerve (aka the vagal nerve system) impacts our PNS — our “rest and digest” component of our nervous system.
〰️ If you find yourself in more of a state of “fight or flight” (high stress state, learning how to activate your vagus nerve can have profound impacts.
〰️ Vagal tone is correlated with capacity to regulate stress responses and can be influenced by breathing and other tactics — to mitigate mood, anxiety and other physical symptoms.
WAYS TO INCREASE VAGAL TONE
〰️ deep, slow breathing
〰️ cold exposure
〰️ gut health
Often times, people presume medicine is found in a bottle. Try these techniques and see how you feel after incorporating them in your life after awhile. You will even feel the immediate impacts of deep, slow breathing. Or a cold plunge.
I personally have underestimated the power of taking time every day to work on breathwork. I will post more specifically on this soon. Make sure you are breathing deep into your belly!
Is this new to you, and are you excited to learn more?
When your hormones are in balance, neither too high nor too low, you look and feel your best.
I have helped many women transform hormonal problems using simple yet powerful functional medicine protocols.
The good news: It’s easier to rebalance your hormones than to live with the misery of hormonal imbalance.
In fact, it’s totally realistic to feel better in middle age than you did in your twenties.
You don’t need to settle for anything less than feeling fully alive and joyous before, during, and after middle age.