Best Supplements to Reduce Cortisol Levels

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can have a significant impact on our health when levels are chronically elevated. To help combat this, many individuals turn to supplements that are specifically designed to lower cortisol levels. Discover some of the top supplements that have been shown to effectively reduce cortisol and promote a sense of balance and well-being within the body. 

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress. It plays a crucial role in the body's stress management by regulating stress levels and helping to reduce stress when needed. In addition to its role in managing stress, cortisol also has a number of other important functions in the body. It may help to reduce inflammation, boost energy levels, and help manage both mental and physical health. By maintaining a healthy balance of cortisol levels, individuals can promote their overall well-being and better manage the challenges of everyday life.

What Causes Cortisol Levels to Increase?

Stress is a primary factor that can cause an increase in cortisol levels. When the body perceives a threat or a stressful situation, the adrenal glands release cortisol as part of the fight or flight response. This can lead to a temporary spike in cortisol levels. Additionally, poor sleep habits or insomnia can also contribute to higher levels of cortisol, as the body's natural rhythm is disrupted. In some cases, certain medications or medical conditions can cause cortisol levels to rise as well. It is important to manage stress, get an adequate amount of sleep, and consult with a healthcare provider if there are concerns about elevated cortisol levels.

How Do High Cortisol Levels Affect Your Health?

High cortisol levels can have a significant impact on your health. Firstly, elevated cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area. This can increase your risk of developing health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, high cortisol levels can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses. Chronic stress and high cortisol levels have also been linked to anxiety and depression. It is important to manage stress levels and find ways to reduce cortisol production in order to maintain optimal health.

10 Best Supplements to Reduce Cortisol Levels

various supplements in a green container

Stress is a common factor that can wreak havoc on our bodies, especially by increasing cortisol levels. High levels of cortisol can lead to a host of health issues if left unchecked. Luckily, there are several natural supplements available that can help reduce cortisol levels and promote a sense of calm and well-being. Explore the top 10 supplements that have been proven to be effective in combating high cortisol levels and supporting overall health. 


Ashwagandha is known for its ability to help reduce cortisol levels in the body. By taking ashwagandha supplements, individuals may experience a decrease in cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being. Studies have shown that ashwagandha can help lower cortisol levels by blocking the stress response in the brain. One particular study found that a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha roots, taken in 300 mg capsules twice daily for 60 days, significantly reduced stress and anxiety levels in adults who were under stress, as well as improving their general well-being. This makes it a popular natural remedy for managing stress and anxiety.


L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves that has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in the body. Studies have shown that l-theanine can also improve concentration and focus, making it a popular supplement for those looking to enhance cognitive function. Additionally, l-theanine has been linked to improved sleep quality, further highlighting its potential benefits for overall health and well-being.

A study found that a daily dose of 200 mg of L-theanine for four weeks significantly reduced stress-related symptoms and improved cognitive functions in healthy adults. The participants experienced decreased depression and anxiety scores, improved sleep quality, and better verbal fluency and executive function. These findings suggest that L-theanine may be beneficial for mental health and cognitive function in individuals with stress-related ailments.

Holy Basil

Holy basil has been shown to have a significant impact on reducing cortisol levels in the body. Holy basil has been shown to have adaptogenic properties, meaning it can help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance. A study found that taking 125 mg of holy basil extract twice daily for 8 weeks significantly improved stress and sleep quality in adults experiencing stress. Participants reported lower perceived stress and insomnia scores, and their hair cortisol levels were also lower. Additionally, those taking the extract had reduced stress responses during an experimentally induced stress test. This powerful herb can be consumed in various forms, such as teas, supplements, or added to meals.


Ginseng has been found to have positive effects on lowering cortisol levels in the body. Studies have shown that ginseng can help regulate the body's response to stress, ultimately resulting in lower cortisol levels. One review underscores ginseng's potential in managing stress-related diseases by regulating immune response and hormonal changes, effectively alleviating stress-induced anxiety and depression while also preventing physiological diseases associated with stress. This natural remedy offers a holistic approach to managing stress and promoting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.


Saffron has been found to have mood-enhancing properties due to its ability to boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and emotions. Additionally, saffron has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol. By lowering cortisol levels, saffron can help alleviate symptoms of stress and improve overall mood.

One study found that 8 weeks of supplementation with 30 mg standardized saffron extract significantly reduced depression scores and improved social relationships in healthy adults with subclinical feelings of low mood and anxiety and/or stress. Additionally, taking saffron extract helped people handle stress better, which could protect them from developing mental health issues related to stress. Incorporating saffron into your diet or taking a supplement may be beneficial for promoting mental well-being and managing stress.


There are several forms of magnesium that have been shown to help reduce cortisol levels in the body. One popular form is magnesium bisglycinate, which is easily absorbed and can help calm the nervous system. Another effective form is magnesium malate, which may help improve energy levels and reduce stress. Additionally, magnesium threonate has been shown to support brain health and potentially lower cortisol levels.

Recent studies have shown that magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating the body's response to stress, and low magnesium levels have been found in people experiencing psychological stress. This suggests that stress might lead to magnesium deficiency, which in turn could make the body more susceptible to stress, creating a cycle of magnesium deficiency and stress. Including these different forms of magnesium in your daily routine can help support a healthy stress response and promote overall well-being.


Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that is critical to brain function, specifically in the maintenance of cellular structure and function. Studies have shown that phosphatidylserine supplementation can help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to improved mood and cognitive function. This makes it an ideal supplement for those looking to manage stress and anxiety. Additionally, phosphatidylserine has been found to support memory and focus, making it a valuable tool for enhancing overall brain health. Incorporating phosphatidylserine into your daily routine can help promote mental clarity, allowing you to better cope with the demands of daily life.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola is a herb known for its stress-relieving properties, making it a popular choice for stress management. This adaptogenic herb is believed to help the body adapt to various stressors, both physical and emotional, by regulating the body's stress response system. Studies have shown that rhodiola can help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance mental performance. It is commonly used as a natural remedy for stress management and has gained popularity for its ability to promote relaxation and increase resilience to stress. Incorporating rhodiola into a daily routine may help individuals better cope with the demands of modern life.


Probiotics have been shown to have a positive impact on reducing stress levels through the gut-brain-axis. The gut and brain are related through a complex network of neurons, hormones, and neurotransmitters, allowing communication between the two. By introducing beneficial bacteria through probiotic supplements or fermented foods, the balance of gut microbiota can be restored, leading to improvements in mental health and stress management. Studies have suggested that certain strains of probiotics can help regulate mood and reduce anxiety, potentially offering a natural solution for those dealing with chronic stress. Incorporating probiotics into one's daily routine may help support overall well-being and mental resilience.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have found that fish oil supplementation can help reduce cortisol levels, therefore helping to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been identified as key components in this process, as they are known to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. By incorporating fish oil into your daily routine, you may be able to effectively manage cortisol levels and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Other Natural Ways to Manage Stress

man doing pushups on the beach

Aside from exercise and meditation, there are several other natural ways to lower stress levels and improve cortisol response. Spending time in nature, such as taking a walk in the park or sitting by the beach, has been shown to have a calming effect on the mind and body. Engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as painting, gardening, or cooking, can also help reduce stress levels. Additionally, practicing deep breathing exercises, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can all contribute to better stress management.

Wrapping Up

Lowering cortisol levels can be achieved through incorporating certain supplements into your daily routine. As discussed, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve overall mood. Additionally, ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, has been found to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. Rhodiola rosea is another supplement that has been shown to lower cortisol levels, improve mental clarity, and decrease fatigue. By incorporating supplements into your daily routine, you can effectively lower your cortisol levels and improve your overall health. Supplements can be most effective in treating high cortisol levels when paired with stress management techniques such as exercise and relaxing activities.