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Lowering cortisol: dietary supplements as a practical aid

Most people realise that stress can make you ill. However, many people do not realise that this is due to an increased cortisol level. However, the stress hormone can be brought under control with the help of tips and tricks as well as sensibly used nutritional supplements. This article looks at the causes of an elevated cortisol level and shows what can be done about it.

What is cortisol and how does an elevated cortisol level occur?

Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. It is released by the body when it suffers from chronic stress. There are other causes that can lead to an increase in cortisol levels: Hypoglycaemia or malnutrition, severe obesity or underweight, hormonal imbalance, alcoholism or hyperfunction of the adrenal cortex. Pregnancy can also lead to increased cortisol levels.

But what exactly is cortisol? The endogenous hormone is produced in the adrenal cortex. The levels in the blood are subject to a natural daily rhythm and therefore vary depending on the time of day. The concentration is measured in saliva, urine or blood serum. Cortisol is a hormone that is essential for survival. It has a major influence on blood sugar levels and fat metabolism. Cortisol also ensures that adrenaline and noradrenaline are released. Together they boost blood pressure and blood sugar levels . In this way, cortisol aims to increase the body’s performance. In the short term, this is a very sensible process. But in the long term, this state should not be allowed to continue – it can be very dangerous. In addition, the hormone delays water excretion and has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Symptoms of too much cortisol

There are various symptoms that indicate that the level of cortisol in the body is too high. Anyone who recognises these signs should talk to a doctor. Only a doctor can carry out appropriate tests to determine whether an elevated cortisol level is really the cause of the symptoms. Symptoms alone are therefore not a sure sign of elevated cortisol. You should look out for the following symptoms:

  • strong susceptibility to infections, weakened immune defence

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood sugar levels, risk of diabetes

  • Sleep disorders

  • Tiredness, lack of energy and listlessness

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • increased sensitivity to pain

  • Loss of libido or impotence

  • Mood swings or depression

  • Muscle loss

  • Osteoporosis

  • large appetite and weight gain

What is a normal cortisol level?

Since the hormone is so important for the body, it is obvious that a deviation from normal values is not exactly good. A doctor can determine whether the cortisol level is within the normal range or not. Normal is a concentration in the blood serum of 45 to 225 micrograms per litre between 7 and 9 am. Between 3 and 5 p.m., the concentration should only be between 30 and 165 micrograms per litre of blood.

An increase is so dangerous because it can lead to Cushing’s syndrome. This is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and infections. The disease also increases mortality. It is therefore important to get the cortisol level under control. Incidentally, too low a cortisol level can also have negative effects, as cortisol plays an important role in certain processes.

Lowering cortisol: these tips can help

If a doctor has determined that the cortisol level is not within the normal range, it is advisable to look into lowering the stress hormone. There are a few tips and tricks that can help to get cortisol under control.

Rethink your choice of drinks

What a person drinks has a significant impact on their cortisol levels. Plenty of water is important to keep the stress hormone in the normal range. For a healthy cortisol level, you should drink at least 1 to 1.5 litres a day. Depending on your diet and physical activity, this may be more. You should also avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. These can only further increase cortisol levels.

A healthy diet

A balanced and healthy diet is recommended to lower cortisol levels. Sugar and white flour products should be removed from the diet as far as possible. Instead, a healthy diet based on fruit and vegetables and wholemeal products is recommended.

Avoid stress

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone for a reason. To lower it, you should therefore reduce stress. If you find it difficult to relax in everyday life, you should develop strategies for coping with stress. The body needs sufficient rest to reduce cortisol. This also includes a healthy amount of sleep. Experts advise going to bed at the same time whenever possible in order to establish a regular sleep-wake rhythm.

Avoid blue light

Blue light can put a lot of stress on the human body. This can be found in electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. Excessive use of these devices can therefore be detrimental to health. Artificial light should be avoided, especially in the evening .

Dietary supplements as a cortisol reducer

In addition to the tips mentioned above, there are other ways to reduce stress hormones. If the body is not supplied with sufficient nutrients, this can lead to an increase in cortisol levels. But which vitamins and minerals does the body need in such a situation?


Many people may already be familiar with BCAA from weight training. These are branched-chain amino acids. BCAA stands for the English term “Branched Chain Amino Acids”. They are essential for the body to build new structures. They can be obtained from food, but can also be taken in the form of supplements. BCAAs are made up of very specific amino acids:

The body cannot produce these substances itself. It is therefore dependent on the intake through food. BCAA are mainly found in beef, fresh salmon, rice and other sources of protein.

BCAAs are considered a natural cortisol reducer. This is because they reduce the release of cortisol. They also have a positive effect on the metabolism.


Ashwaganda is also known as the sleeping berry root. It is mainly used in Ayurveda. The “queen of Ayurvedic herbs” ashwaganda reduces physical, mental and emotional stress. It can thus prevent the stress hormone from being released in the first place. The ingredient is even used to treat anxiety. And the immune system also benefits from it.

Vitamin B1

If the body is well supplied with B vitamins, high levels of cortisol hardly stand a chance. Not only thiamine (vitamin B1), but also vitamin B12 and other B vitamins help to reduce stress. Above all, however, it is vitamin B1 that supports the body during stress reactions.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is mainly found in citrus fruits. The body needs it for various processes. In addition to a healthy immune system, vitamin C also causes a reduction in cortisol. It can also lower testosterone levels. An increase in this hormone can also have a negative effect on cortisol. Sufficient vitamin C is particularly recommended after sport. It helps the body to start the process of reducing the stress caused by sport.


Magnesium is an important mineral for the body – not least because it can regulate cortisol levels. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. In this way, it prevents an excessive release of cortisol.

In addition to magnesium supplements, you can also supply your body with the mineral through your diet. Kernels and seeds as well as wholemeal cereal products provide plenty of magnesium. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are also recommended by experts.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for the body. Studies have shown that they can lower cortisol levels, among other things. They are even used to alleviate the symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses.

Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in marine fish. But cooking oils such as linseed oil, hemp oil, walnut oil and rapeseed oil also supply the body with omega 3. Vegetables such as avocado, beans, Brussels sprouts and spinach are also full of healthy fatty acids. Nuts and seeds should not be forgotten either: Almonds, walnuts, linseed and chia seeds are convenient sources of omega 3.

What should you look out for when taking supplements to combat high cortisol levels?

If you want to lower your cortisol, you should make sure you lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle . Above all, an adequate supply of micronutrients is essential: vitamins, trace elements and nutrients should not be missing from a healthy diet. But what should you bear in mind if you want to use dietary supplements?

Food supplements should be used purely to supplement the diet. They are not a substitute for a healthy diet. You should therefore try to provide your body with foods that are good for it as much as possible.

Furthermore, there are great differences in quality among supplements on the market. At Kingnature, for example, you will only find high-quality supplements made from purely natural ingredients . In this way, the ingredients can be well utilised by the body and give it an advantage.

Another important factor is the dosage. It is not advisable to overdose vitamins and co. If you are unsure, you should consult your doctor. Alternatively, there are also instructions on the pack for taking them. This way, nothing can go wrong with supplementation and cortisol levels can be lowered effectively.


One of the most common reasons for elevated cortisol is stress. Therefore, one of the most important tips is to ensure more relaxation in life in order to lower cortisol. There are also foods and dietary supplements that are particularly suitable when cortisol levels are no longer within the normal range. The fact is: excessive cortisol can be controlled and should be. The consequences can be fatal.