STRATEGIES FOR USING CORT RX – by ATP Science – Australian Nutrition Centre


What is Cort Rx?

Cort Rx is a combination of herbs that help the body to deal with stress. They help the body to return to normal after stress regardless of the direction of change. This means when up and anxious they will calm you down but when down and fatigued they will help to pick you up. They achieve this by working directly with the HPA axis and adrenal gland to help regulate the stress response and have a sparing effect on the adrenals. They also work by reducing stress on the body form inflammation, immune dysfunction, oxidative stress and toxic exposure with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immune modulating and liver protective herbs.

Want to grab some?

How do I use Cort Rx?

There are many ways to use Cort Rx and there are a variety of different dosing strategies for this. Cort Rx can be used for acute short-term intense aggressive protocols for inflammation, toxicity, immune challenge or stress; and Cort Rx can be used to address long term chronic issues such as adrenal maladaptation.

How should I feel on Cort Rx?

Well that depends on you. We are all individuals and may react differently to herbal ingredients due to genetic variances in pharmacodynamics. It also depends on what stage of HPA dysfunction you are in and what other changes you have made.

The brain picks up on stress triggers and sends a message to the adrenal gland to launch a stress response. There are 2 parts to the adrenal gland. 1. The nervous part (the adrenal medulla) that triggers our nervous response to stress to keep us alert and awake. 2. The hormonal part (adrenal cortex) and that releases hormones to switch off our nervous response to stress, regulates our sleep and wake cycles and creates other hormones for recovery and repair.

Typically we never exhaust the nervous response to stress but the adrenal cortex can lose its ability to regulate the nervous response to stress and switch off the stress axis and stress triggers. So it is the adrenal cortex we need to treat to help restore adrenal function and provide balance.

It is important to understand how “adaptogens” work. Adaptogens help you to adapt to stress regardless of the direction of change. This means they will try to drag you back to the middle and away from extremes.

Adaptogens work by

  • – Reducing stress signals in the first place to take the burden off the adrenals.
  • – Regulating the nervous response top stress. If down they will pick you up but if the nervous part is too intense they will slow it down.
  • – Supporting the adrenal cortex to restore hormonal balance

This means they will keep you in the middle ground and away from the extreme buzz associated with anxiety and panic by reducing your stress response to stimulants, pain, inflammation, worry and fear.

If you are running on nervous energy and the only thing keeping you on the go is stress, stimulants, anxiety, nerves and worry etc.  Then adaptogens will force you to slow down and give a chance for you and your adrenal cortex to recover.

If you combine adaptogens with stimulants they will reduce the degree of stimulation and keep you in a safer zone.

If you suddenly stop stimulants, caffeine, toxicity etc. and use adaptogens you may go through a phase of conservation while restoring adrenal cortex integrity before you really feel the next level improvements.

If you are in early phases of adrenal hyper-reactivity they will reduce the nervous energy and make your energy usage more efficient with improved sleep wake cycles. Wide awake all day and nice deep sleep at night.

If you are in the later stages of adrenal exhaustion than it will actually help to reduce the nervous energy while restoring the adrenal cortex hormonal control. Once the adrenal cortex is working you will have an abundance of energy during the day and deep refreshing sleeps at night but in the very short term you may feel more fatigued without the nervous energy and taking adaptogens during the day may make you feel tired and in this case just use at night to enhance a deep refreshing sleep and allow the adrenal to work all day and rest at night.

Chronic protocols

Which stage of adrenal dysfunction are you?


Cortisol secretion in the morning blocks sleep chemicals to wake you up so you couldn’t possibly roll over and go back to sleep now that you are awake; while inhibiting inflammation relieving aches and pains, sinus, hay fever and rashes. As evening comes, cortisol drops dramatically and sleep chemicals rise so you are forced into a nice deep sleep. While sleeping cortisol drops extremely low and the immune system and other regenerative and anabolic systems fire up to grow, repair and generally clean up.

Cort RX – 1 capsule 3 times daily with meals.


Acute stress (figure 2.)

Cortisol spikes when needed through the day to help overcome stressors before returning to normal.

Cort Rx – take 1 capsule 3 times daily with meals

Chronic stress (figure 3.)

Exaggerated and prolonged cortisol spike. Start waking up with high cortisol and it spikes from there and never really drops enough all day and night for chronic elevated cortisol exposure. Nervous energy all day and restless, unrefreshing, light sleep.

Cort Rx – take 1 capsule 3 times daily with meals.

Hyper-reactive (figure 4.)

Born pre-wired, acquired acute (PTSD) or chronic stress. Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, depression borne from anxiety. Due to cortisol resistance you have learnt to release extra cortisol in response to stress and subsequently an exaggerated stress response. Referred to as melancholic depression in literature and responds to serotonin preserving antidepressants

Constant excessive exposure leads to cortisol resistance and low levels now fail to register so the body pumps out more and more. This causes a vicious cycle that results in a phase of conservation or adrenal fatigue.

Cort Rx – take 1 capsule 3 times daily

Conservation (figure 5.)

Fibromyalgia / Chronic fatigue syndrome, shift workers, mums, acquired by progressing through the stages of HPA maladaptation. Auto-immune, excessive inflammation, allergies, fatigue and pain.

Not enough to get up and going but too much to get a good night’s sleep. Light sleep and seem more awake before bed then when you rose. Wake unrefreshed. Need stimulants to get going and only temporary. Usually sensitive to glare, thirsty all the time but can’t hold water so need to urinate constantly, crave salt and / or sugars

Wakes with pain that gradually leaves

Chronic inflammation leads to all age related disorders

The conservation phase can also manifest as bizarre cortisol patterns that reflect poor sleeping patterns and adaptations to lifestyle in shift workers, mums, and hospitality and security workers.

Cort Rx – take 2 capsules with evening meal and another 2 capsules before bed. Drop dose to 2 capsules with evening meal as a maintenance dose after 1 week.

Hypo reactive (adrenal fatigue) (figure 6.)

Born congenital defect, autoimmune, exhaustion, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Hypersomnia, pain, inflammation, depression borne from apathy and fatigue with low cortisol and excessive serotonin activity. Referred to as atypical depression in literature and doesn’t respond to serotonin preserving antidepressants well.

Cort Rx – take 2 capsules with evening meal and 2 capsules before bed.

The reality is that most of us are actually living in the conservation phase and using stimulants and sedatives to influence us into hyper-reactive, push on and work, or hypo-reactive, to crash and sleep. You may also notice how easy it may be for someone to hover between different types of depression and ultimately style of treatment. Adjust dosing strategies as you move through the stages on your journey to good health “normal”.

Acute protocols

Anti-inflammatory – Pain, injury, bruising, trauma, DOMS, Auto-immune

Take 2 capsules 3 to 6 times daily for 72 hours and then reduce dose to 1 capsule 3 to 6 times daily for next 48 hours and then drop to 1 capsule 3 times daily once acute pain and inflammation has reduced.

Toxicity – toxic exposure, alcohol, recreational drugs, hangover etc.

Take 2 capsules 3 times daily with meals and another 2 capsules before bed. You may maintain this dose for 2 to 4 weeks before reducing to 1 capsule 3 times daily as a maintenance dose.

Infection – colds / flus, trauma sites

Take 2 capsules 4 times daily for 3 days and then reduce to 1 capsule 4 times daily for next 3 days and then reduce to 1 capsule twice daily with meals as a maintenance dose.

Allergy – hay fever, sinus, rashes, itchy eyes, membranes and skin.

(Not suitable if allergic to Cort Rx ingredients)

Take 2 capsules 4 times daily

Insomnia – poor onset and / or poor sleep maintenance and / or poor sleep quality

Take 2 capsules with evening meal and another 2 capsules before bed. Reduce the dose to 2 capsules after a few days for a maintenance dose.

Taken from the ATP Science website –