Naturally released by your adrenal glands, cortisol is a hormone that is essential for regulating your body's stress response. It plays a role in several physiological functions, regulating blood pressure, metabolism, and inflammation.
While naturally fluctuating levels of cortisol during the day and night are normal, chronically high cortisol levels might lead to a myriad of health issues, such as anxiety, stress, irregular sleep, imbalanced hormones, etc. To combat elevated cortisol levels, we have compiled our list of the best supplements to lower cortisol.
Best cortisol lowering supplements in 2023: shortlist
- PrimeGENIX — overall top-rated and best cortisol lowering supplement
- Oweli — best supplement for stress and anxiety relief
- Now Foods — best natural amino acid cortisol-lowering supplement
- FOCL — best supplement for restorative sleep
- Vitality Pro — best supplement for vascular health
Choosing the best supplements that lower cortisol
Supplements do not have the stringent approval criteria of medications, thus it is important to carefully select a supplement. We compiled a list of supplements that lower cortisol based on five criteria.
|Third-party testing||Confirm purity and dosage of ingredients|
|Effectiveness||Scientific studies confirming cortisol reducing properties|
|Reputable manufacturer||Reliable companies using good manufacturing practices|
|Value for money||Number of servings per bottle|
- Third-party testing. The use of an independent laboratory to confirm the contents and purity of a supplement is extremely important.
- Effectiveness. The presence of scientific research confirming each individual ingredient actually is a cortisol reducer ensures our list contains effective supplements.
- Reputable manufacturer. Picking supplements from companies known for high-quality products using good manufacturing practices reduces the risks of contamination and impurity.
- Value for money. The price of supplements often ranges dramatically due to various aspects of their manufacturing. Evaluating supplements based on the number of servings makes sure you get the most for your money.
Best cortisol lowering supplements in 2023: an overview
The list of best cortisol-lowering supplements for 2023 was based on third-party testing, proven effectiveness of active ingredients, trusted source, quality, and value.
1. PrimeGENIX Cortisync — best cortisol-lowering supplement
PrimeGENIX Cortisync is the best cortisol-lowering supplement available in 2023. It is manufactured in an FDA-registered and inspected facility that meets all current good manufacturing practices.
This non-GMO, organic product contains 7 different adaptogens with scientific evidence showing their benefits providing anxiety and stress relief, boosting focus, and possibly helping to optimize cortisol levels. Each capsule contains sensoril (ashwagandha), holy basil, L-theanine, lemon balm, litchi, magnolia, and rhodiola.
The provider recommended dosage is 2 capsules with the meal of your choice. Each bottle contains a month's supply. In addition, the company will ship your order to anywhere in the continental U.S. free of charge.
This product also comes with a 100% satisfaction, 67-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try the product risk-free.
2. Oweli Ashwagandha — best supplement for stress and anxiety relief
The second-place cortisol-reducing supplement is Oweli's Ashwagandha. This supplement consists of a high purity level of natural ashwagandha and is lab-tested to ensure it is free of contaminants including pesticides and heavy metals. The manufacturing facility is FDA-registered and inspected and is compliant with good manufacturing practices.
The provider recommends two capsules to be taken daily which contain a total of 1300 mg of ashwagandha and 10 mg of black pepper. Discounts are provided for ordering multiple bottles at a time, with each bottle containing a month's supply.
Ashwagandha supplements are backed by clinical research supporting their use in reducing anxiety and stress levels.
3. Now Foods L-Theanine — best natural amino acid cortisol-lowering supplement
Now Foods L-Theanine is manufactured in the U.S. using only third-party tested ingredients to ensure purity and quality. Their product is gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian friendly.
Dosing recommendations are to take one capsule one to two times daily. Each capsule contains 200 mg of L-theanine. Inositol is also present in each capsule and is a carbohydrate that is thought to help with anxiety and stress.
A study where L-theanine was added to a sports drink, showed a greater reduction in cortisol levels in the saliva of the treatment group compared to placebo. The findings of this study further support L-theanine as a supplement with anti-stress properties.
A loyalty program is available to earn points with each purchase. The points can then be redeemed for $5 off a subsequent purchase. The company does offer free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
4. FOCL Night — best supplement for restorative sleep
FOCL Night uses ingredients grown in the U.S. to provide the only CBD-containing cortisol-lowering supplement to make our list. This supplement is specifically designed to improve sleep and refresh the body from the day's stresses. Obtaining a restful night's sleep is important to maintaining healthy cortisol levels, as sleep deprivation has been linked to elevated cortisol levels.
It contains 6 main ingredients geared towards achieving the best restorative sleep. All manufacturing met the current standards of the FDA. Each capsule contains ingredients that are non-GMO and vegan-friendly. This product is THC-free and does not produce the mind-altering effects seen with other CBD products.
Ashwagandha, valerian root, hops flower, purple passion flower, and 5-HTP round out the other 5 components of this supplement, all geared towards providing assistance with sleep and recovery.
The manufacturer recommends taking 2 capsules nightly, 30 to 60 minutes before bed to help induce sleep. Each bottle will last a month at this dosage, and a subscribe and save feature is available.
5. Vitality Pro — best supplement for vascular health
Vitality Pro's Trimethylglycine (TMG) is a dietary supplement designed to support vascular health by potentially aiding in the reduction of homocysteine levels, which, when increased, are linked to elevated cortisol levels.
That being said, it's important to remember that the current body of research on TMG's effects on cortisol levels is limited, and more studies need to be conducted to fully evaluate its effects.
This supplement is not only free from GMOs, artificial additives, and major allergens, but it is also backed by third-party laboratory tests and purity certificates. Besides, it is manufactured following GMP standards.
This TMG supplement from Vitality Pro comes in a bottle of 120 capsules, ensuring a long-lasting supply. The manufacturer recommends taking 1–2 capsules daily, with water. This dosage translates to a range of 500 mg to 1000 mg of TMG.
Consulting with a healthcare professional is also advisable for a more tailored and personalized strategy.
Comparing the best cortisol reducing supplements
|Brand||Serving size||Servings per bottle||Cost per bottle||Cost per serving||Ingredients|
|PrimeGENIX Cortisync||2 capsules per day||30||$59.95||$2||Sensoril, holy basil, L-theanine, lemon balm, litchi, magnolia, and rhodiola|
|OWELI Ashwagandha||2 capsules per day||30||$19.99||$0.67||Ashwagandha|
|Now Foods L-Theanine||1–2 capsules per day||60/30||$16.99||$0.28/$0.56||L-theanine, Inositol|
|FOCL Night||2 capsules before bed||30||$49||$1.63||Ashwagandha, valerian root, CBD, hops flower, purple passion flower, and 5-HTP|
|Vitality Pro||1–2 capsules per day||120/60||$22||$0.18/$0.36||TMG|
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid) hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands which sit just above your kidneys. These glands respond to hormones in the blood that are secreted by the brain.
Cortisol is an essential hormone that the human body must produce to function. It affects almost every organ in the body. During stress, cortisol is released by the body to help regulate the responses to the stressor. Cortisol has anti-inflammatory properties which have been used to treat autoimmune disorders.
Cortisol regulates blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and the metabolism of the major macronutrients of the body (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates).
Cortisol also plays a role in the regulation of the circadian rhythm. The highest levels of cortisol are seen in the morning upon awakening and the lowest levels occur shortly after falling asleep, making it an important hormone in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.
Why would you need to reduce cortisol levels?
Individuals with higher degrees of perceived stress have been shown to have increased levels of cortisol secretion. Prolonged elevated levels of cortisol can produce numerous negative effects on the body. Individuals with depression or anxiety, those with type II diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome have all been shown to have elevated cortisol levels.
The fact that elevated cortisol levels play a role in multiple medical conditions has led to efforts to reduce the levels to normal. Medications such as antidepressants and antipsychotics have proven effective in reducing cortisol levels and treating psychiatric conditions. This has led many to try various natural supplements known to lower cortisol levels in the treatment of medical conditions associated with elevated cortisol.
Although the current literature shows some promise, the data is very limited and these supplements should not be used to replace prescription medications designed to reduce cortisol levels.
However, having too little cortisol can also be detrimental to the body. In septic shock, cortisol replacement is necessary to maintain blood pressure. Additionally, Addison's disease is an autoimmune condition that destroys the adrenal glands leading to fatigue, weight loss, and low blood pressure as a result of low cortisol.
What natural ingredients help to lower cortisol?
Natural cortisol-reducing agents are naturally occurring chemicals often found in plants and herbs that when consumed can lower cortisol levels. Each cortisol reducer has its own mechanism of action, side effects, and efficacy profiles. Here is a review of some of the most effective natural supplements.
Ashwagandha, commonly referred to as an adaptogen, is effective in supplementing the body's response to stress. In a randomized study, ashwagandha effectively reduced cortisol and treated anxiety symptoms in adults significantly better than a placebo. Additionally, the number of side effects of ashwagandha was similar to the placebo.
Cordyceps sinensis is a fungus that has shown promise in animal studies. It has been linked to antioxidant properties, an anti-fatigue phenomenon, and energy production. Based on these properties, cordyceps may help reduce the mental and physical fatigue associated with chronic stress.
In a study using rats, Ginkgo biloba was effective in reducing cortisol secretion among other indicators in the setting of acute stress. The effects of Ginkgo biloba have been primarily demonstrated in animals and additional human studies are needed to fully understand its effects.
A study was performed on healthy males performing 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises. This study reported significant reductions in cortisol levels and improved resistance to the physiological deterioration associated with excessive exercise while promoting a desired hormonal profile in athletes.
L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid found in green tea. A clinical study adding L-theanine to a nutrient drink demonstrated lower cortisol levels in their saliva compared to controls. In addition, L-theanine is reported to alter serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in the brain.
Can you take vitamins to lower cortisol?
The metabolism of cortisol requires vitamins and minerals as co-factors in many reactions in the body. In many people, eating a well-balanced diet can ensure adequate amounts of the necessary vitamins and minerals are consumed daily.
Vitamins most commonly associated with the management of cortisol levels include vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin C. Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fruits, can supply the body with the needed vitamins.
Magnesium helps to regulate cortisol levels in the body. Therefore, using a magnesium supplement can help to manage cortisol levels within the normal range and can be considered after a discussion with your doctor.
What medication is used to control cortisol?
Currently, there are no prescription medications specifically designed to control cortisol levels in the body. However, many medications can affect cortisol secretion and lead to adrenal insufficiency (too low cortisol levels).
The most common class of medications that cause adrenal insufficiency, if stopped abruptly, is glucocorticoids such as prednisone, dexamethasone, and hydrocortisone. Many of the other medications that can cause low cortisol levels are commonly used to treat cancers of the adrenal and other newer medications. These include:
- Monoclonal antibodies
- Protein kinase inhibitors
- Azole antifungal medications (ketoconazole, itraconazole)
Other ways how you can lower your cortisol levels
Managing anxiety and stress are the main factors in improving cortisol levels. There are many techniques that help to reduce stress levels and promote hormonal balance.
- High fiber, plant-based diet. The reduction of processed sugars can help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure by managing cortisol levels. Dietary fiber improves gut bacteria which leads to improving hormonal balance.
- Adequate sleep. Getting 7–8 hours of sleep allows the body to repair the damages of the day and restart new and refreshed.
- Exercise. Daily exercising can help to reduce stress and anxiety while providing weight loss and cardiovascular health benefits.
- Stress-reduction techniques. Deep breathing techniques, meditation, and hobbies can help to manage the stress and anxiety of the day.
- Reduce caffeine intake. Caffeine, especially when consumed in the evening, can interfere with getting a good night sleep.
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What is the best supplement to reduce cortisol?
Several cortisol-reducing supplements are available on the market, each containing different ingredients. However, ashwagandha has some of the most promising research making supplements containing it to be ranked as the best. Three of the five in our best-of list include ashwagandha.
Can Ashwagandha naturally reduce cortisol?
Yes. In a randomized, placebo-controlled study, ashwagandha was shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels significantly more than placebo. In addition, ashwagandha supplements have been shown to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and improve the body's response to stress. Overall, evidence supports ashwagandha as a natural cortisol blocker.
Can cortisol lowering supplements help lose belly fat?
Prolonged elevated levels of cortisol can cause fat to be preferentially deposited in various areas of the body, one of which is the abdomen. Reducing cortisol levels can help prevent body fat accumulation in the abdomen and assist in losing stubborn belly fat.
- Health Psychology Review. Meditation interventions efficiently reduce cortisol levels of at-risk samples: a meta-analysis.
- Schizophrenia Research. Psychotropic medication effects on cortisol: Implications for research and mechanisms of drug action.
- Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults.
- Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Studies on the Antifatigue Activities of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body Extract in Mouse Model.
- Journal of Pharmacological Sciences. Anti-stress Effects of Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng: A Comparative Study.
Show all references
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise.
- Natural Medicine Journal. The Role of Cortisol in Sleep.
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The Changing Face of Drug-induced Adrenal Insufficiency in the Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System.
- The Journal of Nutrition. Low dose betaine supplementation leads to immediate and long term lowering of plasma homocysteine in healthy men and women.
- Nutrients. Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an l-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial.