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Use of Supplements to Reduce Cortisol and Belly Fat [No More Stress]

How to Fight Stress Naturally with Cortisol, Cortisol Blockers, and Supplements to Reduce Cortisol and Belly Fat | How to Lower Cortisol | cortisync

Healthy lifestyle and Supplements to reduce cortisol and belly fat and relation between adrenal stress and belly fat
Fight Stress Naturally with Cortisol, Cortisol Blockers, and Supplements to Reduce Cortisol and Belly Fat

In this article, we will understand the role of cortisol in coping with stress and explore natural ways and supplements to reduce cortisol and belly fat and promote overall well-being.

S tress has become an inevitable part of our modern lifestyle, and its effects can extend beyond mental well-being. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a useful hormone to fight stress. When stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels become consistently high and come with various adverse health effects, including weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone," as it is released during stressful situations in life. In the quest for effective solutions, cortisol blockers or supplements have gained popularity as a potential remedy for reducing cortisol levels, managing stress, and promoting belly fat reduction. In this article, we will explore the role of cortisol in stress and belly fat, delve into the benefits and mechanisms of cortisol blocker supplements, and provide insights on choosing and using them effectively.

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Did you know that living in a constant state of stress in an attempt to become stress-free can actually lead to increased cortisol levels? This hormonal response can result in heightened cravings for food, leading to overeating, an accumulation of belly fat, and fluid retention within the body. These physical changes, in turn, can create a cycle of increased stress. Furthermore, individuals with anorexia nervosa, characterized by relentless dieting and an extreme fear of reaching a normal weight, may also experience elevated cortisol levels, intensifying their overall stress levels. It's important to understand the impact of stress on cortisol and adopt strategies to break free from this harmful cycle.

The Link Between Cortisol and Stress Stress triggers the release of cortisol as part of the body's natural response to perceived threats. This stress response, often referred to as the "fight-or-flight" response, prepares the body to deal with immediate dangers. However, chronic stress can result in continuously elevated cortisol levels, leading to a host of health problems.

When stress becomes chronic, the constant activation of the stress response system can disrupt the delicate balance of cortisol in the body. Prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels can negatively impact various bodily functions and contribute to the development of chronic conditions such as anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disorders.

The relationship between stress, anxiety, cortisol release, and weight gain, particularly in the form of belly fat, can indeed create a vicious cycle. Let's break it down step by step:

Understanding the effects of stress

Stress or Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can arise from various factors, such as work pressure, personal issues, or health concerns. These conditions trigger the body's stress response, leading to the release of stress hormones, including cortisol.

Cortisol Release

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. It plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism, immune response, and blood pressure. In times of stress, cortisol levels rise, providing the body with a burst of energy to cope with the perceived threat.

Impact on Eating Patterns

When cortisol levels increase, some people may experience changes in their eating patterns1. Some individuals may reach for comfort foods2 that are high in sugar, fat, or salt as a way to cope with stress. This emotional eating can lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area.

Fat Storage and Distribution

Cortisol has been linked to increased fat storage, particularly in the abdominal region. The excess cortisol promotes the deposition of visceral fat, which surrounds the organs and contributes to the appearance of belly fat. This type of fat is associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Psychological Impact

As weight gain occurs, individuals may develop body image concerns or low self-esteem, which can further contribute to stress and anxiety. This psychological distress can perpetuate the cycle, leading to more cortisol release and potentially more weight gain.

How to break this vicious cycle of stress, cortisol, and weight gain

To break this vicious cycle, it's important to address both the physiological and psychological aspects:

Stress Management Techniques

Adopt stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in activities you enjoy. These practices can help reduce overall stress levels and, in turn, lower cortisol release.

Healthy Lifestyle

Incorporate a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Regular exercise can also help reduce stress and promote weight loss. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular exercises and strength training to boost metabolism and burn calories.

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Seek Support

Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for emotional support. Talking about your concerns and seeking guidance can alleviate stress and anxiety.

Prioritize Sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for managing stress levels and maintaining overall well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

Breaking this cycle takes time and effort. By implementing these strategies, you can gradually reduce stress and cortisol levels, promote a healthier lifestyle, and work towards achieving a more balanced and positive state of well-being.

Before delving into cortisol blocker supplements, it's essential to understand cortisol itself.

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a vital hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress, which are located on top of the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids. It plays a crucial role in the body's stress response system and helps regulate various physiological functions. However, chronic stress can lead to consistently elevated cortisol levels, which can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health.

When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol activates glucocorticoid receptors (as its class suggests) on cells throughout the body, and when they are activated, they turn on genes that help the body deal with stress.

Cortisol is normally a good thing, but if you are under a lot of stress for a long time, your body may produce too much cortisol. When this happens, some of the cortisol can bind to another receptor, called mineralocorticoid receptors. Those receptors are also found on cells throughout the body, but they are responsible for a different function than glucocorticoid receptors. Mineralocorticoid receptors are responsible for sodium and water retention.

When cortisol binds to mineralocorticoid receptors, it can cause the body to retain sodium and water. This can lead to high blood pressure.

Like any other hormone, cortisol has to be released by an endocrine gland. It is released by the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys. Cortisol acts in tandem with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands' hormones. Let's see, during stress, how cortisol comes out.


The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that is responsible for many important functions, including regulating the stress response. When the hypothalamus senses stress, it releases a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH).

Pituitary gland

The pituitary gland is a small gland that is located at the base of the brain. When it receives CRH from the hypothalamus, it releases a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

Adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are two small glands that are located on top of each kidney. When they receive ACTH from the pituitary gland, they release cortisol.

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Factors Affecting Cortisol Levels

Several factors influence cortisol levels in the body, including:


The primary trigger for cortisol release is stress. Both acute and chronic stress can significantly impact cortisol levels.

Time of Day

Cortisol follows a diurnal rhythm, with levels being highest in the morning, gradually decreasing throughout the day, and lowest at midnight.

Sleep Patterns

The quality and duration of sleep can affect cortisol levels. Disrupted or inadequate sleep can lead to elevated cortisol levels, contributing to the negative effects on health.


Physical activity can both increase and decrease cortisol levels, depending on the intensity and duration of the exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to help regulate cortisol levels and improve stress management.

Functions of Cortisol Hormone

Cortisol hormone helps the body respond to stress by

Increasing blood sugar levels
provides the body with energy to fight or flee
Reducing inflammation
helps protect the body from damage
Boosting the immune system
helps the body fight off infection
Helping the body to repair tissues
helps the body recover from injury or illness
Conserving energy
helps the body survive in a stressful situation
Increasing heart rate and blood pressure
helps the body respond to a threat
Suppressing the immune system
help prevent the body from overreacting to a stressor
Increasing appetite
helps the body get the nutrients it needs to cope with stress
Memory Formation
Cortisol influences memory formation and retrieval, allowing us to retain and recall information effectively and helping to fight against stressful conditions or adverse situations
Reducing bone formation
leads to osteoporosis
Promoting fat storage
leads to weight gain

Why does cortisol increase in the body?

There are a few things that can cause too much cortisol or problems following it. These include:

  • * Taking too much cortisol medication, such as prednisolone.
  • * Having Cushing's syndrome, which is a condition that causes the body to produce too much cortisol.
  • * Eating licorice, which is used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, in food and confectionery as a sweetener, and in tobacco as an aromatic agent. Licorice contains compounds that block an enzyme called 11β-HSD2 that is responsible for inhibiting cortisol, resulting in fluid and water accumulation in the body and high blood pressure.
  • * Having a mutation in the gene that encodes the 11β-HSD2 enzyme
  • If you have any of these conditions, you may be more likely to develop high blood pressure or other problems caused by too much cortisol. If you are concerned about your risk, or if you have high Blood Pressure, talk to your doctor.

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    Why use cortisol blockers?

    Cortisol helps the body respond to stress in the short-term. However, if cortisol levels are too high for a long period of time, it can lead to health problems, such as,

    Weight gain and difficulty in losing weight

    Cortisol is associated with increased appetite3, particularly for high-calorie and sugary foods4, leading to weight gain, especially around the abdominal area. If cortisol is constantly increased in the body, it is difficult to lose weight despite diet and exercise.

    Sleep Disturbances

    Elevated cortisol levels can disrupt sleep patterns, causing insomnia or poor-quality sleep.


    High levels of cortisol are associated with impaired immune function and increased susceptibility to infections.

    Heart Diseases

    Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart disease.

    Impaired Cognitive Function

    Excessive cortisol can impair memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities.

    Weakened Immune System

    High cortisol levels can suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

    Mood Swings

    Chronic stress and high cortisol levels have been linked to anxiety, depression, fatigue, and other mood disorders.

    Other Problems

  • * Muscle weakness
  • * Osteoporosis
  • * Cushing's syndrome
  • If you are experiencing chronic stress, it is important to talk to your doctor about ways to manage your stress levels or using a cortisol blocker.

    How to lower cortisol levels naturally

    Lifestyle modifications

    Making certain lifestyle changes can significantly impact cortisol levels and improve our stress response.

    While cortisol is a natural and necessary hormone, managing its levels is crucial for overall health and well-being. Here are some effective strategies to help regulate cortisol levels:

    Stress Management Techniques

    Implementing stress management techniques can help reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation. Techniques such as meditation and mindfulness have been shown to be effective in reducing stress and cortisol production. Taking a few minutes each day to engage in deep breathing exercises or practicing mindfulness can help calm the mind and reduce stress levels.

    Regular Exercise and physical activity

    Engaging in regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises, strength training, or even moderate walks, can help regulate cortisol levels. Exercise not only provides a natural outlet for stress but also promotes the release of endorphins, which are known as "feel-good" hormones. Incorporating activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, or any form of exercise that you enjoy can help lower cortisol levels and improve overall well-being. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

    Prioritize Sleep and relaxation

    Adequate sleep and relaxation are crucial for maintaining healthy cortisol levels. Chronic sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can lead to increased cortisol production. It is essential to prioritize getting enough sleep and creating a relaxing bedtime routine. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding stimulants before bed, and creating a peaceful sleep environment can contribute to better sleep and reduced cortisol levels. Establish a consistent sleep routine and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

    Balanced diet and nutrient intake

    Eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods is essential for overall health and cortisol regulation. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid or limit the intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive caffeine, as these can contribute to increased cortisol levels and inflammation.

    Social Support

    Maintaining strong social connections and seeking support from loved ones can help alleviate stress and buffer the impact of cortisol on the body. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family.

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    Herbal supplements and adaptogens

    Certain herbs and adaptogens have been found to have cortisol-lowering properties. These natural supplements can help the body adapt to stress and promote a balanced cortisol response.


    Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb known for its stress-reducing properties. It has been shown to lower cortisol levels and improve overall well-being. Ashwagandha supplements are available in various forms, such as capsules or powders, and can be incorporated into a daily routine.

    Rhodiola Rosea

    Rhodiola Rosea is another adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries to combat stress. It helps regulate cortisol levels and supports mental and physical performance. Adding Rhodiola Rosea supplements to your routine may help reduce stress and promote a balanced stress response.

    Holy Basil

    Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is a powerful herb with adaptogenic properties. It has been used in traditional medicine to reduce stress and anxiety. Holy Basil supplements or teas can be beneficial in managing cortisol levels and promoting relaxation.


    Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in stress management. It supports proper nervous system function and helps regulate cortisol levels. Incorporating magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds into your diet or taking magnesium supplements can be beneficial.

    Omega-3 fatty acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce cortisol levels. Adding omega-3 supplements or increasing the consumption of omega-3-rich foods can support overall health and cortisol regulation.

    Combining supplements with a healthy lifestyle

    While supplements can be beneficial in reducing cortisol levels, it is important to remember that they work best when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating stress management techniques, regular exercise, quality sleep, and a balanced diet into your routine will enhance the effectiveness of cortisol-reducing supplements. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medication.


    Managing cortisol levels is crucial for maintaining optimal health and well-being. By implementing natural strategies such as stress management techniques, exercise, quality sleep, and a balanced diet, along with incorporating cortisol-reducing supplements like ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, holy basil, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, you can effectively reduce cortisol levels and promote a balanced stress response. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements and prioritize a holistic approach to wellness.


    Suggested Reading

    • 1. Epel, E., Lapidus, R., McEwen, B., & Brownell, K. (2001). Stress may add bite to appetite in women: A laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 26(1), 37-49.
    • 2. Dallman, M. F., Pecoraro, N., Akana, S. F., La Fleur, S. E., Gomez, F., Houshyar, H., ... & Manalo, S. (2003). Chronic stress and obesity: A new view of "comfort food". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(20), 11696-11701.
    • 3. Adam, T. C., & Epel, E. S. (2007). Stress, eating, and the reward system. Physiology & Behavior, 91(4), 449-458.
    • 4. Oliver, G., Wardle, J., & Gibson, E. L. (2000). Stress and food choice: A laboratory study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62(6), 853-865.
    • 5. J Douglas Bremner, Kasra Moazzami, Matthew T Wittbrodt, Jonathon A Nye, Bruno B Lima, Charles F Gillespie, Mark H Rapaport, Bradley D Pearce, Amit J Shah, Viola Vaccarino (2020). Diet, Stress and Mental Health

    These studies provide insights into the effects of stress on cortisol levels and eating behaviors. They highlight the complex relationship between stress, cortisol, and food choices. Exploring these articles should provide you with a deeper understanding of the topic and the scientific research conducted in this area.

    Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash


    • [accordion]
      • What is Stress Hormone?
        • Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone" because it is released in response to stress signals from the brain. However, cortisol has several other functions beyond its role in stress regulation. It helps regulate metabolism, controls inflammation, aids in memory formation, and influences blood pressure.
      • How to lower cortisol?
        • Reduce your stress to reduce your cortisol. However, if you have Cushing syndrome or any other medical problems like heart disease or diabetes, consult your doctor.
      • How to lower stress?
        • Get enough sleep;
          Eat a healthy diet;
          Exercise regularly;
          Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation;
          Spend time with loved ones;
          Avoid caffeine and alcohol;
          Seek professional help if needed;
      • What are the supplements to reduce cortisol and belly fat?
        • There are specific supplements you can use to reduce cortisol and belly fat, such as
          Rhodiola Rosea
          Holy Basil
          Omega-3 fatty acids
          There are also specific formulas available on the market.

          While these supplements are generally safe for most individuals, it is important to consider individual factors and consult with a healthcare professional. Certain supplements may interact with medications or have specific contraindications for certain medical conditions. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should also exercise caution and consult with their healthcare provider before taking any new supplements. A healthcare professional can assess your specific circumstances and provide personalized recommendations.
      • What are the best supplements to reduce cortisol?
        • It is difficult to determine which specific supplements are best. Additionally, results may vary depending on individual factors, such as metabolism and overall health. It's important to be patient and consistent with supplement usage, typically allowing several weeks or months to assess the effectiveness. So, we advise consulting with a healthcare professional if you are at risk.
      • How do I stop cortisol weight gain and cortisol belly fat?
        • Cortisol is one of the many factors contributing to weight gain and belly fat. Additionally, multiple factors play a role in gaining weight. Often, a holistic approach that targets all contributing factors works well to stop weight gain. While cortisol blockers or cortisol reducer supplements may contribute to weight loss by reducing belly fat, they are not a standalone solution. Combining these supplements with a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and proper nutrition, is key to achieving sustainable weight loss. However, in general, you have to lower your stress levels to reduce the cortisol surge and its side effects, like weight gain and belly fat. It is a good idea to work under supervision to lose weight.
      • Can I take cortisol-lowering supplements without consulting a healthcare professional?
        • While cortisol-lowering supplements are generally considered safe for most individuals, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medication. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs.
      • Are there any side effects of using cortisol-reducing supplements?
        • Most cortisol-reducing supplements are well tolerated and have minimal side effects. However, it is possible to experience mild digestive discomfort or allergic reactions in some cases. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and guidelines provided by the supplement manufacturer and discontinue use if you experience any adverse effects. If you have any concerns or pre-existing medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
      • How long does it take to see results from these supplements?
        • The time it takes to see results from cortisol-reducing supplements may vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience improvements in stress levels and cortisol regulation within a few weeks, while others may require more time. It is important to be consistent with supplement usage and combine it with a healthy lifestyle for optimal results. Patience is key, as the effects may be gradual and may require longer-term usage for significant changes.
      • Can I stop taking these supplements once my cortisol levels are balanced?
        • Once you have achieved a balanced cortisol level and improved stress response, it is advisable to maintain a healthy lifestyle to sustain the results. While some individuals may choose to continue taking certain supplements as a part of their daily routine, others may gradually reduce or discontinue them under the guidance of a healthcare professional. The goal is to establish long-term habits that support overall well-being.

    Content Writer:
    Mohammed Zahirul Islam
    M.B.B.S, MPH (Epidemiology)
    Feel free to ask any questions.
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    Cortisol Blocker Supplements to Reduce Cortisol and Belly Fat and No More Stress






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    Use of Supplements to Reduce Cortisol and Belly Fat [No More Stress]
    How to Fight Stress Naturally with Cortisol, Cortisol Blockers, and Supplements to Reduce Cortisol and Belly Fat | How to Lower Cortisol | cortisync
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