Unravelling the Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Cortisol

Intermittent Fasting and Cortisol: Understanding the Effects

Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular in recent years, as people strive to find a healthier lifestyle. At the same time, there is an important hormone that is affected by fasting: cortisol. It is important to understand how intermittent fasting and cortisol interact, and what the consequences can be. This article will explain the effects of intermittent fasting on cortisol, and how to manage the hormone in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that is released by the body in response to stress. It is important for a variety of functions, including regulating blood sugar, regulating metabolism, and regulating inflammation. Cortisol is also important for maintaining normal circadian rhythms, which are the body’s natural daily cycles.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Cortisol?

Studies have shown that five-day fasting can increase cortisol levels and shift the peak from the morning to the afternoon. Other fasting experiments for 2.5 to 6 days also dramatically increased cortisol levels. A meta-regression analysis found that fasting had a very strong effect on increasing serum cortisol, while VLCD (very low-calorie diet) and LCD (low-calorie diet) did not show significant increases.

The reason why fasting can raise cortisol levels is because one of cortisol’s effects is that it raises blood sugar. This can be especially problematic for people with blood sugar regulation issues. High cortisol levels are also linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

Managing Cortisol Levels During Intermittent Fasting

It is important to balance and regulate your cortisol levels at all times, especially during intermittent fasting. Here are some tips for managing cortisol levels during intermittent fasting:

  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to an increase in cortisol levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can help reduce stress and cortisol levels.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help keep cortisol levels in check.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both can increase cortisol levels.
  • Take supplements. Herbs such as ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea can help reduce cortisol levels.

Intermittent fasting can be beneficial for many people, however, it can also have a negative effect on cortisol levels. It is important to be aware of the potential consequences of intermittent fasting and to take steps to manage cortisol levels in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Intermittent fasting can have a significant effect on cortisol levels, and it is important to understand how this hormone works. By taking steps to manage cortisol levels, such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet, you can ensure that intermittent fasting does not have a negative effect on your health.

Does intermittent fasting have an effect on cortisol levels?

This suggests that intermittent fasting boosts the amount and rate at which cortisol is released.

Does fasting have a beneficial effect on cortisol levels?

Fasting can have a negative impact on someone with blood sugar regulation issues because it can raise cortisol levels, which in turn causes an increase in blood sugar levels.

What can I do to reduce my cortisol levels while fasting?

Cortisol can be beneficial during fasting, however it is important to maintain a balance and regulate it. To do this, one can utilise mindfulness meditation and yoga, among other mind and body practices.

Does intermittent fasting have an adverse effect on hormone imbalance?

Research has indicated that fasting at intervals could lower the amount of reproductive hormones in women, which could potentially cause issues with conceiving.

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