There are a myriad of supplements designed for muscle gain, fat loss, strength and endurance. Just Google your favourite Supplement Company and you will see the labels plastered with slogans:
“Road map vascularity, mind blowing pumps!”
Indeed, these supplements for performance boosting are popular for a reason.
We all lead busy lifestyles loaded with insane work hours, nonexistent social lives, families to contend with, and then we get to the gym after 9 hours banging our head against a wall in the office and DEMAND our bodies to perform!
So we down our high potency pre-workout supplements en route to the gym, which is fantastic for boosting performance and smashing out your training goals. But over time, the hormonal elephant in the room is ignored, until, over weeks and months, it becomes a serious issue.
The elephant we are talking about is, of course, Cortisol, the stress associated hormone secreted by the Adrenal gland in response to stresses of many forms:
- Stimulants (coffee, pre-workouts, fat burning supplements, etc)
- Stress (physical, mental/psychological)
- Trauma and inflammation (injuries, both acute and chronic, etc)
Long story short, over time these stresses of different forms become cumulative, with lifestyle and work stresses combining with intense training, stimulants, poor work life balance, poor nutrition, and the list goes on. Cortisol is being constantly secreted in response to a body running in flight or fight mode, against a myriad of stresses from daily life, and before long the fatigued adrenal glands say ‘NO MORE!’
Not sure if this is you?
Here are some of the top symptoms associated with elevated Cortisol:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are guaranteed to be somewhere on the spectrum of Adrenal Maladaptation and need to make a conscious effort at reducing cortisol and stressors to bring it back in line with natural diurnal rhythms.
Luckily, to assist in a campaign to lower cortisol, there is a huge range of lesser known supplements we will outline below.
The beauty in these cortisol lowering supplements lies in the fact that a vast array of modern lifestyle diseases can all be traced back to stress, inflammation, gut health issues and elevated cortisol. So inversely, minimising the presence of such hormones and inflammation, will invariably improve health significantly in the longer term as well.
Through zeroing in on supplementation to reduce cortisol, the end result will be a massive health benefit to the individual, leading to improved sleep quality, a potential for fat loss, decreases in fluid retention, improved hormonal balancing and even improved nutrient retention!
Stress-Remedies for the Anxious
Now we have identified some tell tale signs of elevated cortisol and the benefits of lowering it, we can look at effective supplements for cortisol management.
1. Turmeric (Curcumin)
The active constituents of Turmeric include Curcumin which is perhaps one of natures most potent compounds for a huge list of health benefits. At doses of 375-750mg per day of Curcumin extract (standardised to 95% accompanied curcuminoids with 5-10mg pepper extracts such as Bioperine) health improvements include decreased inflammation, decreases in cortisol and powerful antioxidant/anti carcinogenic effects through the stimulation of phase 2 detoxification pathways and a potent reduction of free radicals/oxidative stress through NRF-2 activation.
2. Withania Somnifera
Known otherwise as Indian Ginseng, Withania has been proven in over 200 studies to lower cortisol, support a sluggish thyroid, act as a strong antioxidant/free radical scavenger and it achieves this all at a dose as low as 500mg a day.
At doses of 3 grams per day, Schisandra is known to lower cortisol, reduce inflammation, support the secondary detoxification pathways of the body and it acts as a cognitive relaxant as well.
4. Rhodiola Rosea
Regular supplementation of 250-500mg of Rhodiola up to twice daily is associated with increased energy and athletic performance, a reduction of Cortisol, fighting of depression and enhanced cognitive function.
5. ZMA-Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B5/B6
With Magnesium alone responsible for over 320 metabolic functions in the body, it is no wonder that combined with the essential vitamins Zinc and B6, that ZMA has been shown to support hormonal balance, improve sleep quality, lower cortisol and support a strong basal metabolic rate.
ZMA is a fantastic supplement that will aid to combat anxiety, cortisol, support a favourable hormonal profile for performance and assist in almost every cellular process required for the metabolism of fuel into energy for growth of muscle or burning of fat!
Keep an eye out for ZMA supplements that provide 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10-11 mg of B6.
So now you are armed with a powerful array of adaptogenic herbs and minerals, you have all the weapons in your arsenal to lower Cortisol and enjoy the cascade of health benefits ranging from reduced inflammation, a stronger immune system, enhanced basal metabolic rate, decreases in anxiety, decreases in depression and even things like improved sleep quality, cognitive function and recovery from athletic pursuits.
Introduce any or all of these 5 supplements to your regime and start taking your health back into your own hands today!