Best Supplements to Reduce Cortisol: A Complete Guide

Nikhil Goswami

Cortisol is a hormone released into the blood, often in response to stress. It can help you respond to life-threatening situations but also affects your metabolism, immune system, and inflammation levels. 

The best supplements to reduce cortisol can play a huge role in managing stress. After all, people have a higher cortisol level today than ever before. And when this stress hormone remains elevated for longer periods, it can lead to various short and long-term health issues.

While proper diet and exercise are crucial in reducing cortisol, certain supplements can also be beneficial. But with so many cortisol supplements in the market, how do you choose the best?

Our health experts have talked to nutritionists and researched 40+ options to find the best supplements to reduce cortisol in this comprehensive guide.

What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone the adrenal glands produce in response to stress. It regulates various bodily functions, including metabolism, immune response, and blood sugar levels. 


During stressful situations, cortisol levels rise to provide the body with energy by increasing glucose availability. It can also interact with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.


But, chronic stress can lead to constantly elevated cortisol levels, which may contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, impaired immune function, and sleep disturbances. Balancing stress levels through relaxation techniques, exercise, and adequate sleep can help maintain healthy cortisol levels.

What Factors Increase Cortisol Levels?

It might be surprising to you that cortisol levels can increase based on dietary, hormonal, health issues, environmental factors, drugs, and more. Here are 8 common factors that cover most of these instances:


  • Stress: Both physical and psychological stressors induce cortisol release as part of the body’s stress response mechanism.

  • Poor Sleep Patterns: Inadequate or disrupted sleep, including reduced sleep duration and poor sleep quality, can lead to elevated cortisol levels.

  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Chronic alcohol consumption consistently raises cortisol levels in the body.

  • Caffeine Intake: Stimulants like caffeine increase cortisol levels, affecting the body’s stress response.

  • Nicotine Exposure: Smoking and nicotine consumption elevates cortisol levels, contributing to stress responses.

  • Sleep Disruption: Reduced sleep duration or quality, including staying up late, can result in heightened cortisol levels.

  • Excess Sun/UVB Exposure:
    Prolonged exposure to sunlight or UVB radiation prompts skin cells to release cortisol, potentially increasing stress levels.

  • Low Power Postures:
    Body language conveying low confidence or dominance, such as slumped shoulders, may increase cortisol production.

What Are the Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels?

High levels of cortisol can make your body go haywire. Chronic stress or certain medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome are often associated with symptoms of high cortisol levels. Some common symptoms of high cortisol levels are:


  • Weight gain is particularly noticeable in the facial and abdominal areas
  • Accumulation of fatty deposits between the shoulder blades
  • Presence of wide, purple stretch marks on the abdomen
  • Muscle weakness was observed in the upper arms and thighs
  • Elevated blood sugar levels, potentially leading to Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) in individuals assigned female at birth
  • Weakening of bones (osteoporosis) and increased susceptibility to fractures

Which Supplement Can Help to Reduce Cortisol

Besides herbs, numerous substances act as supplements to reduce cortisol. These include fats, amino acids, and fibers.

Fish Oil


Fish oil is rich in fatty acids such as omega 3, one of the two compounds that helps the brain function. Omega-3 directly nourishes the brain and boosts its health. Therefore, it may also work against elevated cortisol levels. You can also take fish oil supplements to lower cortisol.

While you can find various supplements in the market, we suggest you buy the Riti Omega-3 Fish Oil Softgels that contain 1,200 mg of fish oil and 720 mg of Omega-3 per serving. It can be very effective in dealing with the high cortisol levels in your body.

The compound is helpful in the case of certain disorders such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety, followed by elevated cortisol levels. Certain types of mega-3 fatty acids are the parts of brain structure, and their reduction may impact its integrity.

An optimal intake of these healthy fats can maintain your brain activity and lower cortisol levels. You may notice an overall increase in cognitive performance, mental resilience against stress, and positive mood.


Phosphatidylserine is an essential phospholipid that plays various roles in the cells. It keeps the structure of cellular membranes intact. Moreover, it may promote communication between the cells by sending signals.

It has a significant effect on your brain and nervous system. The compound can protect your brain against various dioxins. It may boost your cognitive powers and help balance the stress hormone.

It helps your brain through the aging process and ensures that it does not become susceptible to generate diseases. Moreover, it is present in most foods; however, supplements are also available.

It may prevent disorders such as ADHD by boosting your focus and reducing hyperactivity. High stress is common among athletes going through extreme physical activity. They may also struggle with their sleep quality due to fatigue.

The amino acids may enhance their performance by boosting their energy levels. Moreover, it may reduce cortisol levels and ease your muscle movements after tough workout sessions.


The amino acid is similar to two essential amino acids in our body. It is present in various forms of tea, such as black and oolong. People usually include amino acids in their dietary supplements as a part of their morning or night routine. Afterward, they may notice a constant mental clarity that helps them survive the day. The compound is shown to respond against the stress hormone.

The amino acid reduces high cortisol levels and soothes your mind and body. It does not act as a stimulant. The users report that they experience a calm and light mood and are less likely to be agitated.


These are the plant fibers that are a nutrition source for gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are a part of our digestive system and protect us against various infections. They are useful in strengthening our immune system.

The gut bacteria use these fibers to optimize their growth and function. Therefore, these maintain digestion which gets disrupted due to high cortisol levels. The immune system may also help you against microbial attacks on your body that may, in turn, increase cortisol levels.

The compounds make your body resistant to high cortisol levels due to the activity of gut bacteria. Therefore, balance your diet to include grain and vegetables to get a good intake of prebiotics.

Following are some of the best prebiotic sources to boost your immune system’s gut health and decrease cortisol.

  • Garlic
  • Banana
  • Onion
  • Apples
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Tomato
  • Chocolate
  • soybeans

Other Potential Cortisol Reducing Supplements

A range of compounds works to decrease cortisol levels in animals. However, there have been no trials of these substances. Only after these can we get sufficient data to prescribe these substances to humans for getting lower cortisol levels.

Most animal models mimic the exact processes that may occur in humans. Therefore, these compounds can be helpful to get lower cortisol levels. Numerous substances are present in this category, such as probiotics, lemon balm, and holy basil.

Through many years scientists tested ginseng on rat and mouse models to see its cortisol-reducing activity. However, in certain clinical trials, the results are not shown to be effective for humans.

Ginseng can improve your brain health and cognitive power. Therefore, it may hypothetically lower cortisol levels. In rats, it also reduces anxiety and the stress it induces.

It grows in northern China and goes by the common name of Mongolian cherry. The substance has been a part of Chinese traditional medicine. Moreover, it acts as an adaptogen and mediates the body’s responses and immune system.

It may also help with fatigue and exhaustion and induce sleep. It improves vitality in athletes and helps them fight post-workout stress. Therefore, there is evidence suggesting that it may help decrease cortisol levels and ensure mental and physical well-being. However, most of these findings are derived from animal models and are insufficient to categorize the compound as an effective supplement.

The data on the stress-reducing effects of minerals is contradictory and insufficient.

Some of the studies suggest that it produces lower cortisol levels. However, this may only be possible for people with a highly active routine. Other studies show no effect on cortisol levels in people with an idle lifestyle. Moreover, in some cases, magnesium can also increase the cortisol level and cause high stress after an extreme workout.

Research also shows that it regulates cortisol levels according to metabolic requirements. Therefore, it is not yet advisable to use magnesium for treating stress-related disorders.

Zinc can restrict the blood flow of cortisol; however, the results are usually insignificant. Therefore, it does not effectively treat anxiety and stress.

It is the central substance in turmeric, the common spice in Asia. The compound has various protective properties. It maintains your brain health and reduces the chances of developing neurodegenerative disorders. It also lowers cortisol and blood flow and optimizes the function of glands.

Vitamins may lower cortisol according to the extent of your physical activity. However, they can boost your brain health. Moreover, they can improve your body functions and balance stress hormones.

Herbs for Reducing Cortisol

Following are some of the most reliable herbal ingredients that reduce cortisol levels. People have been using these substances for centuries. Therefore, there is anecdotal evidence regarding their efficacy backed by scientific data.

The herb is indigenous to the Himalayan regions. The herb is commonly known as winter cherry. Moreover, it is a part of traditional medicine. It acts as an adaptogen and balances your body’s flight or fight response. Consequently, it reduces cortisol levels and soothes your mind and body.

It promotes homeostasis, which is the process that helps maintain the physiological states of your body. Recent data suggest that including ashwagandha in your routine can regulate cortisol levels. The reduction in the stress hormone ultimately provides your body the space it needs to gain energy and health.

Another class of adaptogens includes arctic roots. These compounds work against high cortisol levels. The herb is native to the hilly regions of Asia and Europe. It has been a part of the Eurasian culture for regulating the cortisol levels of your body.

Arctic root goes by common names such as rose or golden root. The herb is useful in cases of chronic stress. It induces the production of dopamine and serotonin in your body, ultimately lowering cortisol levels.

The substance may also have a slightly stimulating effect. It may boost your overall energy and motivation to go on about your daily tasks.

Moreover, one of the key signs of chronic stress includes burnout. The exhaustion may prevent you from excelling in your regular activities. Therefore, the herb effectively eradicates these stress hormone impacts and enhances your performance.

Bacopa is a type of adaptogen that also acts as a nootropic. Nootropics are stimulating substances that boost your cognitive abilities. It may also protect against certain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The herb is present in almost all regions of the world, such as America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. It is effective against chronic anxiety and reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Moreover, it stabilizes your body and keeps the health of your vital organs in check. After maintaining homeostasis in your body, that herb may allow your mind to think clearly.

You may also witness an increase in productivity followed by lower cortisol levels. The herb may also help you regulate your energy according to the time of the day. Therefore, you are likely to have improved sleep quality.

Ginkgo trees are native to China and have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine. These substances help balance the effects of high cortisol levels. An increase in stress hormones enhances your blood pressure.

The blood may exert pressure in the vessels, which induces stress on various organs. Over longer periods, the high blood pressure may also form clots, making its passage through the veins more problematic.

The herb may help you to reduce cortisol and, as a result, dilate your blood. It may also prevent clot formation, making it easier for blood to pass through arteries.

The parasitic fungus is commonly present around China. It may predate various insect species, such as caterpillars. Finding the fungus around you is difficult because it is not on the dead and decaying logs. Moreover, the labs treat the fungus to make it suitable for consumption. Results show that it may help you with high cortisol levels. It reduces the symptoms of the stress hormone.

It may also promote the function of the other hormones of adrenal glands that are active during flight and fight response. Therefore, it may sharpen the natural abilities or instincts of your body.

What Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Cortisol Levels?

It is quite easy to reverse the high amounts of cortisol if you make subtle but important lifestyle changes. You can try these tips out to lower cortisol levels in your body:


  • Stress Reduction Techniques: Prioritizing tasks, practicing stress management techniques like mindfulness, and seeking mental health care can lower stress levels, reducing cortisol production.


  • Relaxation Techniques: Engaging in activities such as breathing exercises, guided meditation, and yoga activates the relaxation response, helping the body to decrease cortisol production and promote a sense of calm.


  • Balanced Diet: Consuming a diet rich in dietary fibers, omega-3 fatty acids, and aged, fermented foods can help stabilize cortisol levels. Conversely, avoiding excess sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can prevent spikes in cortisol.


  • Adequate Sleep: Prioritizing good sleep hygiene, maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule, and ensuring sufficient sleep duration can help regulate cortisol levels and promote overall well-being.


  • Engaging in Hobbies and Laughter: Participating in enjoyable activities, cultivating hobbies, and laughing can alleviate stress and decrease cortisol levels, improving mood and reducing stress-related health risks.

How to Begin with Cortisol Supplement

If you are trying to eradicate your stress symptoms and reduce cortisol, you must follow the following steps.

If you analyze the signs of your stress, you will know what kind of treatment you need. You will have extreme anxiety and panic attacks if you suffer from high cholesterol levels. In such cases, you need to reduce cortisol levels significantly.

A balanced diet has all the necessary substances to lower cortisol levels. Ensure that you do not have any nutritional deficiencies. Keep your vitamin, prebiotics, carbohydrate, and protein levels in check to lower cortisol. They will give you lower cortisol for prolonged periods and during older age.

To lower cortisol, instantly try herbs. For beginners, this herb can be quite useful. It has antioxidant properties and lowers cortisol. You can get patent products or use the rots for making tea. You can also look for ashwagandha supplements for energy boost.

It will also boost your immunity and vitality. The herbal supplements can regulate your cortisol levels without producing adverse effects.

Conclusion: What Reduces Cortisol Quickly?

Cortisol can have many adverse effects. However, the necessary supplements and herbs can reduce this stress-causing hormone. We hope this article helps you reduce your stress levels and lead a happy, balanced life.

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