Factors affecting Cortisol levels
Caffeine may increase cortisol levels.
Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels.
Intense (high VO2 max) or prolonged physical exercise stimulate cortisol release in order to increase gluconeogenesis and maintain blood glucose. Proper nutrition and high-level conditioning can help stabilize cortisol release.
Val/Val variation of the BDNF gene in men, and the Val/Met variation in women is associated with increased salivary cortisol in a stressful situation.
Magnesium supplementation decreases serum cortisol levels after aerobic exercise, but not in resistance training.
Omega 3 fatty acids, in a dose dependent manner, can lower cortisol release influenced by mental stress by suppressing the synthesis of interleukin-1 and 6 and enhance the synthesis of interleukin-2, where the former promote higher CRH release. Omega 6 fatty acids, on the other hand, acts inversely on interleukin synthesis.