Signs/symptoms of low cortisol and the top 5 supplements to increase it

Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands and it’s very natural and much needed, as it increases the release fatty acid from the adipose tissue between meals, wakes you up in the morning, supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, is involved in memory formation and learning, etc…

Cortisol keeps you alive, so what should you do if your cortisol is too low. But first, here are a few symptoms of low cortisol.

Symptoms of low cortisol include:

  • Poor sleep and waking up tired in the mornings
  • Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss
  • Low blood sugar
  • Hypo-tension, dizziness, nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weak immune system
  • Light headed
  • Gain weight easily
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Low body temperate and hypothyroid
  • Smooth flat looking muscles (also due to too little DHEA)
  • Salt craving
  • Easy infections and inflammation (also include too low aldosterone and elevated CRH)
  • Increase in skin pigmentation (due to elevated ACTH)
  • Sudden severe headache, loss of vision or visual field defect
  • Autoimmune manifestations (vitiligo)
  • Psychiatric symptoms (memory impairment, depression, anxiety, psychosis, reduced consciousness, delirium)
  • Reduce blood bicarbonate and increased metabolic acidosis

If you don’t think you have low cortisol, head over to my other article to see if you might have elevated cortisol, and how to lower it.

Top 5 supplements to increase cortisol

  1. Licorice root – raises cortisol by preventing its excretion from the body.
    Recommendation: Start with one cap daily.
  2. Ashwagandha – improves adrenal function and increases resilience to stress, helping to restore normal cortisol levels.
    Recommendation: Take 300mg twice daily.
  3. Magnesium – potent anti-stress, helps you sleep better and let the adrenal gland recover throughout the night and helps you wake up more refreshed. Without magnesium, the body cannot make energy, resulting in feelings of fatigue. Recommendation: Start with 200-400mg before bed. (A)
  4. Maca root – will increase the uptake of hormones into our cells and increase their effectiveness. Maca will also increase your energy and help regulate blood sugar. Recommendation: Start with 1tsp daily and work up from there.
  5. Vitamin C – the adrenal gland is surrounded by vitamin C, so vitamin C supplementation can reduce the body’s need for cortisol and help the adrenal gland recover.
    Recommendation: Start with 500mg (1 cap) daily.


  • Pregnenolone – pregnenolone is the precursor to all steroids and is a very safe supplement to use. Pregnenolone reduces anxiety, increases energy, boosts cognitive function, reduces excess estrogen, etc, and will help to increase cortisol levels if it’s low.
  • Multiglandular – the best thing to help support your glandular system, is to supplement with whole glandulars that still contain all the beneficial hormones that you might be missing.


Not all these symptoms are exclusive to low cortisol, but is also due to low thyroid function, nutritional deficiencies, excess estrogen (A), serotonin (A), prolactin (A), endotoxins, polyunsaturated fats, etc. So check out the separate articles on the above-mentioned factors to see if you have similar symptoms before wanting to increase your cortisol levels.

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