Updated: October 12, 2019
Cushing's syndrome or hypercortisolism is a disease characterized by abnormally high levels of cortisol in the body. This can be caused by tumors in the adrenal gland or various cancers, which stimulate high amounts of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production that releases cortisol in the body.
Treatment for Cushing's syndrome involves treating the adrenal or pituitary tumors or treating cancer causing the excess ACTH production. Fortunately, there are a number of natural treatments that can control and reduce the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome. Also change in diet and lifestyle can help manage Cushing's disease and Cushing's syndrome. These can help lower symptoms caused by high cortisol levels.
People with Cushing's disease are at an increased risk for other health problems, including bone loss, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sex hormone imbalances and many more. High level of cortisol can decreases your digestive secretion, sometimes making it hard to fully digest foods and absorb nutrients properly. It can also stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. An unprocessed diet rich in nutrients can help prevent complications and ease symptoms by balancing hormones naturally, improving digestion and lowering inflammation.
Consuming food that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium will be beneficial for bone health while lowering intake of artificial ingredients, processed grains, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and sodium can help ease symptoms associated with Cushing's disease.
When the body does not get the correct amount of nutrients that it needs to function, there will be physical stress. That strain and pain that is caused by deficiency of something vital to the body is normally call physical stress. The best way to counter it is by including everything that is essential in a balanced way.
Some of the best foods for fighting the effects of high cortisol include adrenal fatigue diet foods:
Cold-water, wild-caught fish like salmon or sardines contains omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation and help stabilize moods. Healthy fats support brain health and allow us to make important hormones. Apart from seafood, you can also include nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil in your diet regularly.
The internal response generated by an organism, structure, or a system, after experiencing an external load that tends to disturb its equilibrium is known as stress. Chronic stress is responsible for the reduction of Vitamin B6 in the body. We need B vitamins in order convert nutrients to energy and to support brain functions. Including raw or cultured dairy products, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, poultry, brewer's yeast, and green leafy vegetables in your diet can provide you the required amount of vitamin B.
If you are not getting enough of vitamin B from your food you can also add supplements. As taking supplementation of B6 can work as a therapy against stress, supplements can be taken for the deficiency. Also, not just B6, taking a multivitamin supplement of B vitamins can also work wonders in countering stress.
Electrolytes are natural muscle relaxers and important for overall health. They also help lower symptoms like headaches, trouble sleeping, aches, high blood pressure and many more. Include more unsweetened organic yogurt, wild-caught salmon, beans/legumes, leafy green veggies, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, avocados, and nuts in your diet to prevent an electrolyte imbalance.
Foods with protein provide amino acids that are needed for proper neurotransmitter functions while also helping to control appetite and fighting fatigue. Some of the best sources of protein are cheese, meat, beans, yogurt, and lentils.
Exercise can be a great way to lower stress, control cortisol and manage your weight when done in a moderate and healthy way. CushingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disease is associated with weight gain, muscle weakness, bone loss, and fatigue, which can be reduced with moderate exercise naturally.
It is also an effective distraction from stressful events, reduce the harmful effects of blood pressure and protects the heart. However, too much exercise can sometimes worsen the problem and interfere with hormones in a negative way. Therefore, work with your doctor to come up with an exercise plan that combines cardiovascular/aerobic activities, strength training, and stress management techniques. Start slowly and then gradually increase the time and intensity of exercise you do. Avoid very strenuous exercise that can wears you out. Instead focus on finding activities you enjoy, including group classes, walking outdoors, swimming, cycling, lifting weights, yoga or Tai chi.
Lack of sleep is one of the most prominent symptoms of Cushing's disease. A lack of sleep means extra stress hormones like cortisol will be required to keep you up and battle low energy levels. This state of insomnia can be triggered in many ways. It may be because of caffeine, high cortisol levels, or restlessness which can cause daytime sleepiness. We have a defined sleeping cycle of our body and any disruption in it causes a disruption in time of secretion of cortisol. It may take several days to weeks to get regular again once disrupt. Sleep is as important as food and regular physical movement in our life. Sleep deprivation for prolonged duration of time can lead to chronic fatigue, weight gain, moodiness and other symptoms.
Rest when you feel tired and get as much quality, uninterrupted sleep as you can. Sleep for 8 to 10 hours a night depending on your specific needs. Try to stick to a regular schedule since your body loves a routine, and avoid staying up late.
Chronic stress is associated with higher levels of inflammation, lower immune function, reproductive problems and much more. Relaxation lowers blood pressure, respiration, and pulse rate, releases muscle tension, and eases emotional strain.
Effective stress reduction comes in many forms and depends on the person. To help fight stress and therefore rising cortisol levels, try some of the following natural stress relievers:
This helps reduce the stress response without impairing alertness, concentration or memory. Meditation is the practice of training the mind of an individual to induce a mode of consciousness. It can promote relaxation, build and channel the life energy, and facilitate effortless concentration. There are many forms of meditation, each of which are focused to target certain activity of your body and psyche. It makes the connection with your inner self stronger. Meditation is proven to reduce stress significantly. You will see a very evident change in your mood and stress level within two weeks of meditation. You will be able to feel inner peace even if you are leading your busy lives. During meditation, your breathing pattern also matters a lot. You can opt for any pattern that suits you.
Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques are effective stress relievers and result in significant reductions in stress levels in the majority of participants. This also helps improving quality of life and possibly benefiting functions of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or HPA axis.
Acupuncture works by stimulating points located in certain places. The stimulation is done most often by inserting needles through the skin. Every pain has a point somewhere in the body, which can be cured or reduced with massaging and stimulation. It is really beneficial in chronic pains like the lower back aches and neck pain. It is also used to reduce the intensity of headaches and somewhat prevents serious migraine pain. Treatments can improve physical factors associated with both stress and health problems, including lowering pain, improving sleep and improving heart functions.
People with severe stress can get help alleviate symptoms, including digestive problems, addictions and trouble sleeping.
Taking deep breaths helps turn down the sympathetic nervous system and kick in the body's natural relaxation response.
A massage, or other forms of touch, can help release oxytocin and decrease cortisol levels naturally while also lowering pain and other symptoms of stress.
Massage therapy in stressed patients decreases cortisol level, while also increasing serotonin and dopamine leading to stress-alleviating effects.
Adaptogen herbs are completely natural and help lower cortisol by boosting your ability to deal with stress. Many of them also have energizing qualities, antioxidant effects, antidepressant effects, which can help lower fatigue, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels naturally. However, before using any herbal treatments, talk to your doctor especially if you are taking medications for Cushing's disease.
Indian Ginseng or the winter cherry is a plant belonging to the nightshade genus which is considered as a medicinal herb in Yemen to treat wounds and burns.
The roots of Indian ginseng are used to balance blood sugar level and cortisol amounts, which may prove to be very beneficial for people who are stressed. The root extracts have been proven to target anxiety and work like an anti-depressant, making it one of the most beneficial herbs meant for Cushing's Syndrome.
3 grams of the powdered root of the herb two times in a day is usually recommended. It is also available in pills, either taken alone or mixed with other herbs.
Burdock root is one of the very popular and effective herbal treatments for Cushing's syndrome due to its impact on hormonal levels. Burdock root tea can be prepared very easily and can help to modulate adrenal function, thus eliminating many of the symptoms of this syndrome.
The antioxidant compounds found in dandelion, including luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside, help the liver, kidneys and adrenal gland operate optimally. It helps reducing large amounts of cortisol pumping out into the body. Dandelion tea is readily available in health food stores and can be made easily at home as well.
Reishi mushrooms contain high concentration of antioxidant compounds as well as certain adaptogenic properties that can help the body learn how to handle excess stress. It can actively control stress hormone levels within the body.
Due to its high potassium, calcium, and magnesium content, spinach can counter the electrolyte imbalances that are a common side effect of Cushing's syndrome. It is a rich source of antioxidants and has been linked to controlled hormonal levels in the body, making it a good dietary addition if you are suffering from this syndrome.
Magnolia bark is used as traditional medicine for centuries to relieve stress and anxiety. It can reduce the cortisol level in the body, which makes this a key herbal supplement in the treatment of Cushing's syndrome.
avocados have high omega-3 fatty acid levels that can reduce widespread inflammation effectively which is a common side effect of Cushing's syndrome.
Some of the herbs that can also help lower cortisol by boosting your ability to deal with stress include ashwagandha, astragalus, licorice root, holy basil and Rhodiola.
Essential oils such as lavender, myrrh, frankincense, and bergamot are also helpful for fighting stress. These are capable of lowering cortisol, reducing inflammation, improving immunity, balancing hormones, and helping with sleep and digestion. These essential oils can be used as aromatherapy.