Well was hoping for more input - maybe I will post this again in CT’s forum since I believe he has had experience with this.
As far as my test levels, I was hoping this might be the right thing. I was thrown around to various docs and endo’s with none being able to tell me what’s going on or what I could do. I’ve increased the fat in my diet which I think might have helped some. I’ve tried from Alpha Male to TRIBEX to myo-genix or something like that. None of them seemed to work that well, if at all.
So I was hoping it might be due to a cortisol issue, and doing this might finally help me out.[/quote]
DK, if you’re feeling stressed out all the time and/or worrying about your test levels, than your body is experiencing a psychophysiological response to your self-created stress, meaning your body is reacting to the stress you are perceiving, even if it’s not directly present in your environment. This “worrying” causes your body to secrete extra cortisol and results in lower testosterone levels. High cortisol levels have been linked directly and/or indirectly to increased abdominal fat, increased overall body fat, hindered sex drive, syndrome X and metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, heart disease (via elevated blood pressure-cortisol induced), depression, alzheimer’s disease (via atrophy of brain cells-cortisol causes physical atrophy in brain cells), weakened immune response, memory problems, and even osteoporosis. Basically, having flat-lined levels of high cortisol leads to a host of health problems due to the body’s inability to “leave” its state of stress and enter a state of relaxation and recovery.
Having “cortisol flux,” or highly responsive and precise patterns of cortisol activity is healthy. This means your body ups cortisol when necessary (during intense workouts, “fight or flight” responses, etc.). This also means your body doesn’t up cortisol production or reactivation (via 11-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 turning inactive cortisone into active cortisol) at an overly ambitious pace.
The most effective ways to control cortisol levels are:
- Avoid stress when you can
- Manage stress properly when you do have it
- Get adequate sleep each night (8-9 hours should do it)
- Avoid dehydration, extreme caloric restriction (calorie restricting diets are mentally and physically stressful and thus spike cortisol and HSD activity, so your body hormonally primes itself to store fat in response to the hypocaloric state in order to survive…Isn’t that just great? When people are reducing calories to try and cut fat, your body spikes cortisol and HSD in order to keep fat…)
- Get regular exercise, but avoid overly long workouts. After about 60 minutes of intense exercise your central nervous system will need a rest and if you overtrain you’ll be putting unnecessary stress on your body. Try and keep your workouts under an hour (unless you’re a professional athlete…)
- Eat healthy- good nutrition is key to controlling cortisol.
- Earn “positive CNS points” by participating in any of these activities: epsom salt baths, Restorative Pulse Electromyostimulation, ice massages, glycogen/protein drinks pre/post-workout, neural restorative drinks (green tea, kombucha, etc.), deep tissue massage, myofacial felease (foam roller), meditation, 15-minute walks, and consistent static stretching (except pre-workout stretching, that should be focusing on mobility and keeping the stretches dynamic).
Here are supplements that you should look into if you feel you need a “boost” in any of these stress-reducing areas. Read about particular ones, and see if any are right for you.
Get rich amounts of these vitamins: Vitamin C, B-1. B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-12, calcium, zinc, magnesium.
Cortisol Controlling: Magnolia bark, theanine, epimedium, phytosterols, PS (phosphatidylserine), L-tyrosine, BCAAs.
HSD balancing: PMFs (polymethoxylated flavones- citrus peel), grapefruit extract, licorice (glycrryhizin), quercitin, magnolia bark, chinese basil, jujube berry, scutellaria baicalensis.
Test boosting: Eurycoma longifolia, cordyceps (cordyceps sinensis), CLA, HMB (hydromethylbutyrate), ZMA.
Adaptogens (if you’re super stressed): Korean ginseng, rhodiola rosea, ashwagandha, suma, schisandra, astragalus.
Sleep aids: Melatonin, valerian, GABA.
Anti-anxiety: 5-HTP, St. John’s wort, SAM-e, kava kava, gotu kola.
Many of these supplements have overlapping effects, meaning they help in more than just the category I put them under. I felt the best from using a combination of magnolia bark, theanine, melatonin + GABA + 5-HTP before bedtime, cordyceps, ZMA, eurycoma, rhodiola rosea, and epimedium.
Remember, cortisol flux = good. Chronic stress = bad. Goodluck!