Psyche and cortisol level

A diet rich in protein leads to a rise in cortisol in the saliva and in the blood serum. A diet rich in carbohydrates does not have this effect. (37, 38, 39)

Hypercortisolism not only has an immune suppressive effect but can, in the long run, also damage the hippocampus cells which are important for memory formation and for learning behavior. (40)

A diet with a greater emphasis on carbohydrates has a favorable effect on the formation of serotonine in the brain. A sufficient supply of serotonine improves mental health.


  1. Slag MF et al: Meal stimulation of cortisol secretion: a protein induced effect; Metabolism 1981 Nov; 30(11): 1104-8
  2. (38)Ishizuka B et al: Pituitary hormone release in response to food ingestion: evidence for neuroendocrine signals from gut to brain; J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1983 Dec; 57(5): 1111-6
  3. (39)Anderson KE et al: Diet-hormone interactions: protein/ carbohydrate ratio alters reciprocally the plasma levels of testosterone and cortisol and their respective binding globulins in man; Live sci 1987 May 4; 40(18): 1761-8
  4. (40)Kirschbaum C et al: Stress and treatment-induces elevations of cortisol levels associated with impaired declarative memory in healthy adults; Live Sci 1996; 58(17): 1475-83