Cortisol Manager: A Beginner’s Guide and Research-Backed Benefits

Taking supplements to reduce cortisol could be a viable way to get your stress levels under control, promote overall well-being, and support a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

We’re all bound to experience tension at some point in our lives, and when we’re stressed, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol to help the body cope.

When we’ve been feeling overwhelmed for a prolonged period, cortisol production goes into overdrive, which can then lead to other health issues.

While it may not be possible to eliminate stress from your life completely, you can take steps to reduce its toll on your body. This is where a cortisol manager comes in—a natural supplement that can improve the symptoms of tension.

In this article, we’ll provide a beginner’s guide to what cortisol managers are and how they regulate stress hormones. We’ll also provide some research-backed benefits of taking the supplements to provide you with an effective strategy for achieving optimal health.

What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that plays a crucial role in various physiological functions within the body.

It’s produced by the adrenal glands, which are located on top of each kidney. Often referred to as the “stress hormone,” cortisol is released in response to tension. However, its functions go beyond the stress response, and most of the cells in your body have cortisol receptors.

Cortisol influences the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It helps maintain blood glucose levels, especially during fasting or periods of increased energy demand.

The hormone also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulate the immune response. It helps control blood pressure by influencing blood vessel tone and responsiveness.

While cortisol is essential for normal body functioning, chronic or excessive levels of the hormone can have negative effects on your health

Signs of High Cortisol

High cortisol levels can manifest through a range of signs and symptoms, and may include(1):

  • Weight gain—especially around the abdomen
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Hypertension
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Increased heart rate
  • Digestive issues
  • Weakened immune function

Remember: Cortisol is a hormone with natural fluctuations, and short-term increases in response to acute stress are normal. However, chronic cortisol elevation can have detrimental effects on health, causing persistent symptoms.

Using a Cortisol Manager

A cortisol manager supplement is designed to help regulate cortisol levels on the body, targeting the effects of stress

They contain a combination of natural ingredients, including herbs, vitamins, and minerals, that can support the body’s stress response and balance hormones.

The key components in these supplements often include adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea, known for their stress-relieving properties, as well as nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B, which play crucial roles in adrenal health.

By combining these elements, cortisol manager supplements aim to provide a holistic approach to managing stress, promoting relaxation, and supporting overall well-being.

The Research-Backed Benefits of Taking a Cortisol Manager

Several of the key ingredients in supplements to reduce cortisol have potential stress-reducing benefits. Here’s a closer look at the research-backed advantages of incorporating these products into your regimen:

Cortisol Regulation and Stress Reduction

It’s suggested that the ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea included in cortisol managers may help regulate cortisol levels.

Ashwagandha, also known as “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry,” has been used for thousands of years to relieve stress(2). The herb may help control the body’s stress mediators and reduce its fight-or-flight response(3).

A small study on ashwagandha also showed that taking the extract for eight weeks significantly reduced perceived stress and cortisol levels.

Rhodiola rosea, a staple in Asian and Tibetan healing traditions, is well-documented for combatting tension(4)

The herb could improve the body’s response to external stressors by interacting with our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis(5). Rhodiola directly impacts the adrenal glands, helping regulate cortisol production and secretion.

Improved Sleep Quality

Phosphatidylserine, an important component of cortisol manager supplements, has positive effects on sleep quality.

It’s a phospholipid that protects cells in the brain, transmitting messages among cells to enable them to communicate.

The fatty substance also encourages calmness. Studies show that phosphatidylserine supplementation may contribute to improved sleep patterns by modulating cortisol levels, promoting a state of relaxation conducive to restful sleep(6).

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Cortisol manager supplements enriched with phosphatidylserine could also positively influence cognitive function

The lipid has been investigated for its potential to enhance memory, with research indicating that supplementation may improve both short-term and long-term function(7).

Studies also suggest that phosphatidylserine could positively impact attention and concentration(8). Children with ADHD who took the lipid showed significantly improved symptoms and mental performance.

Improved Physical Performance and Recovery

A cortisol manager can also improve physical performance
(Image source: Pexels)

The adaptogen rhodiola rosea may have benefits beyond stress management, and positively impact physical performance and recovery.

Research suggests this extract may contribute to reduced fatigue and improved exercise endurance(9). Participants who ingested rhodiola before a workout felt their bodies weren’t working as hard and that they showed enhanced performance.

Rhodiola rosea is believed to influence oxygen utilization during physical activity(10). This adaptation may enhance the efficiency of oxygen delivery to the cells and tissues, aiding in energy production and mitigating the effects of exercise. 

The supplement may also play a role in speeding up the recovery process after physical exertion. Studies suggest that individuals who take it may experience a faster return to baseline physiological states, reducing the recovery time needed between activities(11).

Mood Regulation

Cortisol manager supplements often include ingredients like L-theanine, which is an amino acid known for its calming effects.

Research shows that L-theanine can promote a sense of calmness without inducing any drowsiness, making it a valuable contributor to mood regulation(12).

By promoting a healthier response to stress, cortisol manager supplements may enhance your resilience to daily challenges. These improved reactions are closely linked to better emotional stability and a more positive outlook.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Cortisol manager supplements are often enriched with antioxidants, which may extend their benefits to include anti-inflammatory effects. 

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels contribute to inflammation in the body, and these supplements aim to address this underlying issue(13).

The magnolia extract found in cortisol managers is believed to ease inflammation through various mechanisms. It may inhibit the activation of transcription factors that play key roles in the expression of pro-inflammatory genes(14).

Honokiol and magnolol, compounds found in magnolia, also exhibit antioxidant properties by neutralizing the free radicals that can cause oxidative stress(15). Through this process, magnolia extract may help alleviate inflammation and contribute to a healthier cellular environment.

Possible Side Effects of Taking a Cortisol Manager

While cortisol manager supplements aim to support stress management and overall well-being, it’s important to be aware that individual responses to these products vary.

Some potential side effects that are associated with these products include:

Potential Side EffectDescription
Mild digestive issuesNausea, upset stomach, diarrhea
Allergic reactionsPossible allergic responses to specific ingredients
Interactions with medicationsSome ingredients may interact with medications, especially those related to blood pressure
SedationPotential for drowsiness, especially if taken before bedtime
Headaches or dizzinessParticularly if the product has a sedative effect 

The safest approach is to consult with your healthcare practitioner before incorporating a cortisol manager into your routine, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

The 3 Best Cortisol Manager Supplements

When selecting a cortisol manager, it’s essential to consider the quality and reputation of the brand, as well as the specific formulation of the supplement. 

The best products contain evidence-based components known for their cortisol-regulating properties and other key nutrients.

Here’s our pick of the top cortisol manager supplements that combine trusted ingredients, high-quality extracts, and positive user reviews.

1. Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager

Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager is an all-natural option containing ashwagandha, L-theanine, phosphatidylserine, and magnolia. Its formulation includes only tested components that are safe to use and non-habit forming.

The supplement can reduce stress during the day, aid relaxation, and help you sleep without causing you to feel groggy in the morning. Cortisol Manager’s ingredients also stabilize the stress hormone to support a healthy stress response.

Adults should take one tablet before bedtime each day, increased to two tablets during times of high tension. The formula is meant for nightly use, as it may cause drowsiness.

Shari L. confirms that the product, which was recommended to her by her doctor, lowers her cortisol levels in the evenings to allow for more restful sleep:

Cortisol Manager from Integrative Therapeutics includes only safe, non-habit forming ingredients

2. Pure Encapsulations Cortisol Calm

Pure Encapsulations Cortisol Calm is designed to maintain healthy cortisol levels while supporting relaxation, restful sleep, and positive moods.

The formulation includes ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, and magnolia, which work together to sustain proper adrenal cortisol activity

Adults should take one capsule each morning and evening along with meals.

Cortisol Calm works for Susan M., who says the supplement improves her sleep:

3. NutriDyn Stress Essentials Cortisol Pro

NutriDyn Stress Essentials Cortisol Pro helps your body resist the effects of stress. This multifunctional formula supports healthy cortisone levels, helps alleviate fatigue, promotes mental clarity, and supports relaxation.

It contains magnolia extract, phosphatidylserine, rhodiola rosea, and L-theanine to help the body cope with the physiological effects of stress and let you achieve restful sleep.

The recommended dosage for adults is two capsules daily.

This formula has eased Heather’s stress levels and helps her reach a deep sleep every night:

Embrace Calm With a Cortisol Manager Supplement

Stress has become a ubiquitous companion to the hustle and bustle of modern life. Cortisol manager supplements offer a promising avenue for anyone seeking to embrace calm and reclaim balance in their lives.

If you’re seeking a holistic approach to stress management, contact us to learn more about these carefully curated products. Our expert team is here to provide personalized guidance, answer your questions, and assist you in finding the ideal cortisol manager. 


















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Medically reviewed by Dr. Jamy Antoine, D.C. — by Chris Bowman — On February 22, 2024


Chris Bowman

Chris Bowman is the CEO and Co-Founder of and has over 15 years of experience in nutritional sciences and wellness. Simply Nutrients is a part of Dr. Jamy Antoine's Select Health Practice in Edina, Minnesota. Chris is passionate about helping people live healthier lives by using the best practices of nature, nutrition, and medicine.