The Controversial Antidote to High Cortisol Levels

Oct 28, 2023
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Carbs get a bad rep... But is a moderated intake of carbohydrates the answer to one of the most common issues in women's health? Read on for more...

It may sound counterproductive or simply untrue, but the human body needs carbohydrates for a variety of reasons directly tied to overall health-- including maintaining cortisol levels that allow balanced hormonal health; especially in women.

A low-carb diet may potentially affect cortisol levels in women, but the impact can vary from person to person and depends on several factors. It's important to note that the relationship between dietary choices and cortisol is complex and not fully understood, and individual responses to diets can vary. Here are some reasons why a low-carb diet may have an impact on cortisol levels in

1. Stress Response: Carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, play a role in the regulation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Low-carb diets may lead to lower serotonin levels, which could potentially increase stress and cortisol production.

2. Hormone Imbalance: Carbohydrates are important for the production and regulation of insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. A low-carb diet may affect insulin levels and potentially lead to blood sugar fluctuations, which can trigger cortisol release as part of the body's stress response.

3. Adrenal Function: Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. Prolonged adherence to a very low-carb diet, especially if it leads to significant weight loss or nutritional imbalances, can potentially stress the adrenal glands. This may result in alterations in cortisol production.

4. Thyroid Function: Some low-carb diets can lead to changes in thyroid function. Thyroid hormones influence metabolism, and disruptions in thyroid function can affect cortisol levels.

5. Individual Variability: People's responses to low-carb diets can vary widely. Some women may thrive on low-carb diets without any significant changes in cortisol levels, while others may experience hormonal imbalances and increased stress.

6. Nutritional Deficiencies:  A very restrictive low-carb diet may lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients, which can impact overall health and potentially contribute to hormonal imbalances.

It's essential to emphasize that not all low-carb diets are the same, and the impact on cortisol levels can depend on the specific type of low-carb diet, its duration, and individual factors like genetics, overall health, and stress levels.

If you're considering a low-carb diet, especially one that is very restrictive, it's crucial to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. They can help you make informed choices and monitor your health to ensure you're meeting your nutritional needs and not negatively impacting your hormonal balance. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet and managing 
stress through various lifestyle strategies, such as exercise and relaxation techniques, can help support overall hormonal health.

If you have questions about this topic, or about your hormonal health in general; we'd love to talk to you! Please schedule a consultation with us, today by emailing contact@drerikahorowitz.com. 

Be well!


Dr. Horowitz and Team