High cortisol advice please.: Hello just... - Thyroid UK

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High cortisol advice please.

Bellerin profile image

Hello just wondering if anyone had any advice to help lower a high cortisol level.

I had a 24hr saliva test done privately a few months ago, and showed it was high most of the day & night. I then had a 24 hr urine cortisol test done by the GP, and it came back the high side of normal for the whole day.

I have taken Holy Basil in the past and feel it made no difference, I have heard of Ashwagandha, but unsure of what it is.

This forum is totally amazing ,and I am really thankful for all the advice I have been given, so any thanks again for any advice. :)

21 Replies

Look up cortisol in 'The Mood Cure' by Julia Ross. It's available if you google that title. Also look up High Cortisol on the Stop The Thyroid Madness website. Jane Bowthorpe describes how she got her high cortisol down. And the STTM book 2 (the paper version) there's a great section on it. I used Seriphos which was fantastic but the formula has changed, drat it. I was advised to get PS 100 by Swanson which I've tried for a month but am just about to test to see if it's worked. I'm doing a saliva test today.

Good luck!


Bellerin profile image
Bellerin in reply to Joeyis7

Thank you, I will look into the books, and hope you get a good result from you test :)

Hi I have 4 sky highs and take HB and Magnolia Bark- I don't think Ashwaganda is recommended for highs

Bellerin profile image
Bellerin in reply to Miki80

Thank you, could you possibly tell me what brands of those you take and where to source them. I am in the UK. Do you find they are working for you? Thank you very much for your information.


I was advised to take Ashwagandha but I'm not convinced it's right for me. Have you got a link stating why Ashwagandha isn't good for high cortisol? My cortisol is above range all day long.

Swanson's Holy Basil doesn't seem to be doing much for me anymore. I'm feeling more anxious and stressed as I raise my dose of NDT. What brand and dose of Magnolia Bark are you taking? Thanks

Try Seriphos. I've seen it work wonders to reregulate cortisol. Try it at bedtime.

Next, I'd be asking why your cortisol is so high to begin with and fix whatever is causing it before you get to end stage adrenal fatigue which can be fatal.

Stress? Diet? Other hormonal imbalance? Cancer? Autoimmune? Mercury or other heavy metal toxicity?

Look up the Adrenal Fatigue Solution book, and read up on Dr. Lam. And take what they say with a grain of salt - they have some good clues, but there's more to it than what they're saying.

Get rid of as much stress as you can. Eat a nutrient dense diet, with vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, healthy fats, and organic organ meats if possible. Get rid of processed foods especially baked goods, pasta, and anything with sugar. Limit coffee and caffeinated tea. Sleep 8-9 hours a day. Exercise 20-45 min daily. This is not he time for endurance training or high intensity interval training, but walking, sensible cardio, yoga and resistance training are all good.

And look at nutritional supplements. The resources I mentioned can help, but a B complex, multivitamin, and fish oil would be a great start. Adaptigenic herbs, too - ashwaganda is a good place to start.

And be patient with yourself! It'll take awhile....

Good luck!

Bellerin profile image
Bellerin in reply to Learner1

Thank you, brilliant information!

Is it possible for you to tell me a good brand of Seripros & where to get it? I am I the UK.

I take quite a few vitamins & supplements, a strong Vit B12, potassium, magnesium and a fish oil tablet daily. I did try taking Holy Basil and a PS 100 a few months ago for a month and left no different at all so stopped, now just looking for something else that might work. So thank you for your suggestions.

As for the source of the stress, I am actually anorexic and have been for over 10 years, and I also have very bad social anxiety. For the last 2.5 years and have had thyroiditis and my weight has ballooned, so this is like hell for me & and so cortisol went sky-high and hasn't come down, because my weight is still going up, I am going to start on some T3 soon, so I hope that will help my weight & cortisol.

Thanks again for all your info, it is very helpful, I was being to lose all hope.

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to Learner1

Sadly Seriphos has changed its formulation from what it used to be. It used to be something called phosphorylated serine, and in that formulation had no competition that I was aware of.

Seriphos in that form helped a lot of people. But now it is phosphatidyl serine which is available from lots of manufacturers as a standard (but very expensive) supplement.

See this link for more info :


humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to humanbean


I've just read further down the page on that link I gave and found out that the manufacturers of Seriphos plan to bring back the original formulation as well as continuing with what they are currently producing.

Is this marketing waffle? I have no idea!

Learner1 profile image
Learner1 in reply to humanbean

Actually, they just changed it back November 1 due to customer complaints. I talked directly to the company last month. That's why I advised looking for the new formula, which is really the old formula, but didn't want to confuse people.

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to Learner1

Thanks for the info. :)

Hi Bellerin,

You are welcome. I have the utmost empathy. Your body had been under a lot of stress for a long time, so now your adrenals are out of control.

First, patience and mindfulness. You can get well, so believe in yourself, and commit to finding your way through this. Continuing as you were will lead you to a dangerous place.

You can buy Seriphos on Amazon. Interplexus is the manufacturer. Look for the new formula, which just came out this month. 1-2 capsules before bed.

Make sure you get healthy amounts of exercise and sleep.

Next, look into your gut health. It's likely you've compromised your microbiome. A DNA stool test might be helpful to see what the balance of creatures that are living in yours. Get on a good non-dairy probiotic of 20 billion CFUs, and eat fermented foods (start with small amounts, like a teaspoon at a time). Consider taking digestive enzymes with food, and a gut rebuilder. Thorne BioGest and PermaClear or something similar.

Don't worry about your weight. I know it's hard, but dieting at this point can screw your adrenals up worse. Focus on a high quality, nutrient dense diet. Try to eat 25 different vegetables in a week, of all colors. Eat healthy fats, like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fat on organic meat and eggs and wild fish. No processed seed oils - use olive, coconut, or avocado oil, or rendered duck or chicken fat. Also use MCT oil - it promotes leanness. Eat organic animal proteins - proteins and fat build healthy tissues, while carbs are cheap fuel that keep you going. Your carbs should come from vegetables and 1 or 2 servings of low sugar fruit (berries) per day. Organ meats can help your adrenals and other hormones. Cholesterol is essential to hormone production, do don't skimp on fat. Stay away from grains, processed foods, and sugar.

Supplement with a high quality multivitamin, like Thorne NutriFem or MetaFem, depending on your age. You likely need the minerals it offers - zinc deficiency is linked to anorexia, and chromium is needed for blood sugar regulation. Add on a Stress B complex. And the fish oil, 2g daily.

All of the above should begin to heal your body. Think about healing and wellness, not quick fixes.

Stay the course with the above for about 3 months. Hopefully, you'll start to feel better.

Then look at where you are. See about getting a DUTCH test, dried urine test of comprehensive hormones. Their website has videos explaining it. It measures all of your hormone metabolites, so you can figure out what's working and what's not. And a full thyroid panel, including free T3 & T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies.

For adrenals, Seriphos, B5, and adapotogenic herbs help. For thyroid support with iodine and selenium, and maybe tyrosine.

And watch your female hormones - estrogen dominance won't help you lose weight - you may need progesterone. Having higher DHEA levels and healthy testosterone levels are helpful, too.

It may take you 4-6 months to get your hormones balanced. But the key is healing your adrenals. If you commit to the above and stick to the program, your weight should normalize. I have no problem staying at a healthy weight, and weigh 35 lbs less than I used to - but I can tell you that too much cortisol puts weight on me every time, so normalizing that is key.

Good luck!

Bellerin profile image
Bellerin in reply to Learner1

Wow, thank you so much, I will copy and take this to my dietician and get her to help me understand it better.

I am actually a vegan, I have been vegetarian all my life, but recently I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and a milk, dairy & lactose allergy (yep, I know, as if I didn't have enough to worry about :) ), so being vegan makes things a lot easier, so I will look into your suggestions very carefully & check what I can take.

These are results from the latest set of tests I had done -



Thyroid Function


FREE THYROXINE *24.72 pmol/L 12.000 - 22.000

TOTAL THYROXINE(T4) 123.1 nmol/L 59.000 - 154.000

FREE T3 5.42 pmol/L 3.100 - 6.800

REVERSE T3 *37 ng/dL 10.000 - 24.000

REVERSE T3 RATIO *9.54 15.010 - 75.000

Thyroid Antibodies

THYROGLOBULIN ANTIBODY 12.640 IU/mL 0.000 - 115.000




VITAMIN B12 465.9 pg/ml 191.000 - 663.000

FOLATE (SERUM) *19.21 ug/L 4.600 - 18.700



VITAMIN D 129.4 nmol/L 50.000- 200.000


Inflammation Marker

CRP-HIGH SENSITIVITY 3.2 mg/L 0.000- 5.000

Iron Status

FERRITIN 125.8 ug/L 13.000 - 150.000

Not totally sure what all of it means to be honest, but that's why I have started on the vitamins to try to help my system out.

I do also have problems with my liver (although I am not sure what they are yet, they are still under investigation), due to an overdose of paracetamol when I was severely under-weight, so I am not sure if that affects things.

You are right about the stomach problems though, I literally eat two bowls of mushroom soup a day, as I struggle to eat much, but mainly because my stomach hurts all the time, I cant seem to digest anything and I constantly bloated like I'm pregnant! All even worse problems when you have anorexia!

Sorry to go on about all this, I got a bit carried away, so thank you so, so much for all your help, its lovely to be listened to, my doctors just think I'm fine.

Learner1 profile image
Learner1 in reply to Bellerin

I used to be more of a vegetarian and my mom was a vegan for 5 years. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but being a vegan is not conducive to good health. Besides B12, there are other nutrients your body needs to run its systems, especially hormonal function.

I'm not a fan of factory farming practices and commercially grown meat, but sourcing from organic farms and wild caught fish offer good solutions for needed nutrients. I doubt you'll be able to get well without reconsidering your vegan diet.

From your numbers, you seem to have some inflammation. Serum ferritin and hs-CRP are a little high, and reverse T3 slows some stress.

All the best...

Bellerin profile image
Bellerin in reply to Learner1

Thank you :) I really appreciate the advice, but I actually don't like the taste of meat, it makes me gag, and the dairy- allergy just makes things complicated! I have been searching on Amazon for some Interplexus seriphos and they don't seem to do it at the moment, so I guess its probably not back on there if they have changed it, so I will keep a look out.

Thanks again, you've been really helpful, and I will look at some more options. :)

It's very difficult to deal with high cortisol. Basically there are several medications that can lower it but they also have many side effects.

Looks like the new product, the original formula, is not quite available yet. Go to interplexus.com - they have it listed as coming soon. You can get news on when it will be available there. You can try their current product, which I saw on several nutrition websites, which they told me is half as strong as the old one. Various people I know have taken it over the past 6 years, this is the first glitch in product availability.

As for becoming an omnivore again, I really won't debate it. All I can say is, get creative and figure out how to get animal products into your diet. Your health is at stake.

Start with gelatin or bone broth, add butter to things. Eat eggs and fish if any kind. I'm allergic to cow and goat milk but can tolerate sheep cheeses and yogurt, maybe you can too. Hide meat, eggs or fish in burritos, chili, casseroles, etc.

Take it a step at a time, you need to work every strategy to get well.

Best wishes...😉

Bellerin profile image
Bellerin in reply to Learner1

Thank you very much, you have been exceptionally kind :)

This makes me wonder if it would work for my husband - nothing has ever worked for him. He used to be one of the world's blessed when it came to sleeping. However, a few years ago a new job changed things dramatically for him and now he sleeps very badly.

Is that the Seriphos one that I haven't been advised? Sorry, I'm not quite with it yet! :)

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to Bellerin

Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is the one that is easy to get hold of (but expensive) from supplement sites.

Seriphos was (cheaper) Phosphorylated Serine, then became PS, but apparently is going back to the original formulation this month. But if you want to buy it I would double and triple check what you were actually buying before parting with any money!

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