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  • Cortisol Problem?

    Following a hard bike ride...something that's outside my comfort level, I usually have a hard time getting a good night's sleep. I suspect elevated cortisol levels are the cause. Does this sound correct? If so, what can I do to remedy this problem?

  • #2
    This is semi-related, but I think I have a hard time going to sleep after a hard workout because of the subtle muscle pain. It's not strong enough for me to think "Oh, I'm in pain", but it keeps me from falling asleep. Taking ibuprofen before bed helps, although it's a pretty un-primal solution and I'm hoping that primal eating will reduce the general level of inflammation in my body enough that I can kick the ibuprofen habit or at least only use it on rare occasions. However, after five weeks, I don't feel a whole lot of change that would indicate reduced inflammation. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will kick in eventually and I may try cutting out dairy if it still isn't any better in a month or two. I only eat cream and butter, but maybe they're still contributing to the inflammation somehow.

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    • #3
      Another user suggested possible raised cortisol levels as why i am not responding (after many months) to the PB plan. Other than that OTC med to bock cortisol production (CortiSlim or something like that), anyone else have any Primal methods to combat it?

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      • #4
        My advice would be to make sure you take eough fish oil to give you a good o3/o6 balance, and also make sure you're vit D3 replete (this might take a LOT at first; check out Cillakat's excellent sig document). This has been HUGE in my life, I ended up giving the last of my Ibu to a friend with a hangover several months ago, and have never felt the need to buy more.

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        • #5
          Citrus fruit are good to decrease cortisol, by the way it increases testosterone. Grapefruit are one of the best. I take half of one right after my workout. A half fruit because it contains 25 gr of carbs. Just write citrus and cortisol and you will have a lot of good article on the subject. Vit c fruit are good option to decrease cortisole, but studies show that grapefruit help to decrease bodyfat, appetite and cortisol. Don't just drink it, you need to eat the white part too, to have all the benefit.

          Hope it with help you

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          • #6
            Thanks for the suggestions...I'll give them a try.

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            • #7
              Two glasses of wine...sleep just fine

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              • #8
                Even better!

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                • #9
                  Meditation can help lower all the stress hormones.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by adamsaysyo View Post
                    Another user suggested possible raised cortisol levels as why i am not responding (after many months) to the PB plan. Other than that OTC med to bock cortisol production (CortiSlim or something like that), anyone else have any Primal methods to combat it?
                    I hadn't really thought of it before now, but a rhodiola based supplement might help. Mark has a rhodiala based "stress" supplement on his site, or you can just buy plain rhodiola at a health food store. I've tried taking just the plain kind for depression in the past and couldn't tell that it did much, but it might help just with elevated cortisol.

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                    • #11
                      cold shower?

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                      • #12
                        Nothing seems to work for me (I broke a 36-hour fast at 12pm, and for that entire time I had zero sleep. It is now nearly midnight on Thursday, and from midnight on Monday to midnight today I have had precisely 2 hours' sleep).

                        This is a problem for me because it could well explain all the weird things happening to my body, and, after reading Mark's blog entry on cortisol, I'm almost certain it is. I have a very bloated middle, and I've gained two massive lumps of stuff (literally overnight a week ago - went from 117lbs to 124lbs overnight and it's not shifted). This was the reason for IFing; it's not going to be fat, obviously but, judging by the photos I took before and after my fast, I was DEFINITELY 'fatter' in the after photos (the scales reflected this too (I was also fasting because I was curious to see what I weighed when completely empty). I drank water at regular intervals throughout the fast, and number twoed several times. My pre-fast weight was 8st 8 (120lbs) my weight at the end of the fast was 9st 4 (130lbs). So I pee, poop and abstain from all forms of nutrition for a day and a half and I GAIN 10lbs...?!

                        Because I didn't sleep AT ALL during the fast (and, in fact, have only had 2 hours sleep in the last 72) I'm sure this is a cortisol problem - what does anyone here reckon, and what the flip can I do about it, as it's REALLY beginning to upset me.
                        La tristesse durera toujours...

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                        • #13
                          Shrinking Violet:
                          This sounds like way more than just diet and exercise issues.

                          A lot of people have a hard time falling asleep if they work out too close to bed time...this is pretty normal, and is due to elevated cortisol (the original poster's situation). But what you are describing is much more extreme--the circumstances were not clear in the initial post.

                          It would be hard for most bodies to stay awake for 36 hours, exercise and not eat! When I have insomnia my body demands food.

                          I do know that in a starvation state the body will "wake up" and experience a lot of energy in order to motivate a search for food as a survival strategy. Apparently anorectics experience this.

                          Perhaps the long IF is having this impact on you.

                          The weight would not be fat, but water retention. Your body is definitely reacting strongly to the IF--it thinks it is starving, conserving water in anticipation of dehydration. Your body thinks it is an emergency (note how starving children often have distended stomachs).

                          IF's work for some people very well, but they may not be for everybody...alternately, shorter IFs might also be better if this is what happens to you during a long one.

                          How do you eat normally? Has this happened before?
                          Last edited by Lizzie125; 09-23-2010, 04:19 PM. Reason: Mistook OP for person I was replying to...

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                          • #14
                            In terms of everyday elevated cortisol, esp. close to bed time...

                            I take magnolia bark/Relora...it works to lower my cortisol at least. If I can't sleep, extra magnesium and HTP calms me down even more.

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                            • #15
                              I wouldn't assume that elevated cortisol is automatically to blame. Decreased cortisol from TOO MUCH exercise can keep you awake in the same manner.

                              If you are not just awake, but 'wired but tired' and can't 'turn it off' to go to sleep, I would suspect decreased cortisol. It's every bit as likely, if not more so, than elevated. Find a non-DGL licorice supplement, and take it in the morning before you exercise, and if it helps, decreased cortisol is the issue.

                              Taking DGL licorice once as a test if you don't need it won't hurt you. If it makes it worse, then yes, its elevated, and you shouldn't use licorice supplements. But if it helps, licorice can be a godsend to those who need it.
                              Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

                              ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~

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