T Nation

Reducing Cortisol in sleep

I know that the cortisol level in the blood is lowest just before bedtime and rises to a peak when we awake in the morning. Does anyone know of a way to decrease this rise in cortisol through the night, whether it be with supplementation or night time meal? Also, I’m assuming that keeping cortisol down during the night will have anti-catabolic effects on muscle tissue. Is this assumption reasonable? Any input is appreciated.
Mike

You could try eating some carbs (along with
protein) before bed. Taking phosphatidylserine
first thing in the morning can also help with
this. I don’t think taking phosphatidylserine
at night is particularly useful, because the
half-life isn’t long enough.

If your cortisol levels are normal, cortisol
is good for you. That’s why we have it.
Reducing it is not beneficial IMO.

Try using something that really reduces
cortisol, like higher doses of Cytadren,
and you will find out for yourself, and
be 100% sure, that reducing cortisol
substantially is not something you want
to do.

The whole “you really want to reduce your
cortisol” thing is however a highly effective
marketing gimmick for various products.

Abnormally high cortisol is bad though.

I just got a cortisone shot in my knee. Will this raise my cortisol to undesirably high levels? I’ve read that cortisone is simply a man-made cortisol.

Yes, you should get blood work done to see
if you have elevated cortisol. I was refering
to it as if you had elevated cortisol. If you
don’t, then don’t worry about it. Bill, you
imply that PS won’t reduce cortisol, but when
I had high cortisol due to chronic sleep
depravation and extremely high stress, PS was
effective at lowering my cortisol to normal
levels. So while I agree that people with
normal cortisol levels shouldn’t waste money
on “anti-cortisol” supplements for
bodybuilding purposes, they can be useful in
other contexts.

What I wrote in my previous message also
applies to older people. Since most people do
develop chronically elevated cortisol levels
as they age. A typical 50 year old will have
chronically higher cortisol than a 20 year
old. This is unhealthy, and should be
addressed, but drugs like cytadren are not
the answer due to the disruption of other
hormone/enzyme systems and the liver toxicity.
But this only has to do with health, not
bodybuilding. (And a typical younger person
will not have chronically elevated cortisol
levels.)

PS may indeed be of value when cortisol
levels are abnormally high, but it’s being
marketed to people with presumably normal
cortisol on the argument that "cortisol
is your enemy, and reducing cortisol is
ipso facto a good thing, and this I object
to. It just isn’t true. Most lifters I think
have no problem with cortisol and certainly
don’t benefit from substantial reductions,
as occurs inadvertantly with Cytadren use.