Cortisol is a hormone that can have an impact on the health of your adrenal glands. Although the medical world is more receptive of Adrenal Fatigue, many doctors still deny that it exists. Adrenal Fatigue occurs when the pituitary gland does not guide the adrenal glands to produce enough cortisol or when your body does not produce enough cortisol. When you produce too much cortisol, you may experience the opposite problem.
Cortisol levels are controlled and influenced by your adrenal glands. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps the body adapt to stress and is known as the “stress hormone.” When you’re under a lot of stress, your cortisol levels rise. When you’re constantly stressed, your body may produce too much cortisol, which can cause serious health problems. Cortisol levels that are too high can induce weight gain, raise blood pressure, disrupt sleep, affect mood, deplete energy, and contribute to diabetes.
James Wilson, Ph.D., a naturopath and alternative medicine expert, invented the term “adrenal exhaustion” in 1998. According to the hypothesis, your Adrenal Glands grow stressed from releasing too much cortisol and eventually cease generating enough of the hormone, resulting in Adrenal Fatigue. When cortisol levels rise, our bodies’ cells can become insulin resistant. As a result, blood sugar levels may rise, weight gain may occur, and Type 2 Diabetes may develop. Unbalanced hormones can cause a variety of health problems in either case.
How Does It Work?
Both the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are found in the brain. These glands can tell if your blood has the proper amount of cortisol in it. Your brain changes the number of hormones it produces if the level is too low. These impulses from your brain are picked up by your adrenal glands. The Adrenals will then release more or less of what is required.
Cortisol Receptors in your cells use those hormones in distinct ways. Cortisol, for example, might change or shut down functions that get in the way when your body is on high alert. Your digestive or reproductive systems, your immune system, or even your growth processes could be among them.
Your cortisol levels should return to normal once the danger has passed. Your heart, blood pressure, and other bodily functions should return to normal.
Adrenal Fatigue is a disorder that occurs when you are always stressed and your alarm clock never goes off.
It has the potential to disrupt your body’s most vital functions. It can also cause a variety of health issues, including:
- Moodiness, anxiety, or depression
- Insulin resistance
- Heart disease
- Brain fog
- Problems with digestion
- Insomnia or waking frequently
- Weight gain or weight loss
Stress and Cortisol Hormone Levels: What You Need to Know
During times of intense stress, cortisol hormone levels in the body rise. Steroid hormones are a group of hormones that the body produces naturally from cholesterol.
Throughout the day, cortisol levels fluctuate. At night, they’re at their lowest. They continue to rise, peaking about 9-10 a.m., and then gradually fall throughout the day, returning you to lower levels. Around midnight, your levels will be at their lowest.
If we don’t stick to a regular sleep schedule or sleep a lot during the day, adrenal gland diseases might develop as a result of releasing too much or too little cortisol at the wrong time of day.
High Cortisol Symptoms and Signs
There are a number of unique symptoms that are linked to high cortisol levels. Cushing’s Disease is a condition that occurs when the body produces too much cortisol.
- Weight gain – thin arms and legs with weight gain in your stomach, upper back, and face
- Acne or skin changes such as bruising easily or thin skin
- Thinning Hair
- Wounds that will not heal
- Muscle Weakness
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression, or irritability.
Low Cortisol Symptoms and Signs
Addison’s Disease is a chronic condition caused by low cortisol levels.
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Body aches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of body hair
- Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
Hormones such as cortisol play a role:
- The flight or fight system in humans.
- They manage your blood sugar and, if not balanced properly, may cause insulin resistance.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Regulating your blood pressure.
- Maintaining your circadian rhythm.
- Helping you to maintain your energy levels so you can deal with stress better.
Weight Gain, Cortisol, and Metabolism
Cortisol and insulin are inextricably linked because they both play a role in blood sugar regulation. When cortisol levels rise, our bodies’ cells can become insulin resistant. As a result, blood sugar levels may rise, weight gain may occur, and Type 2 Diabetes may develop.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s response to the insulin produced by the pancreas is poor, preventing glucose from entering the cells. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, although it’s not always the case.
It’s critical to consume a well-balanced whole-foods diet that doesn’t cause insulin spikes. Foods heavy in simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and bread, are refined carbohydrates that exacerbate the condition. Staying hydrated and getting enough sleep have a direct impact on cortisol levels and stress reduction.
- Consume more nutritious comfort foods.
- Make mindful eating a habit.
- Keeping a food diary is a good idea.
- Drink a lot of water.
Cortisol levels that are too high can stimulate insulin release and raise blood sugar levels, leading to an increase in appetite.
Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency
Pharmaceuticals, according to EndocrineWeb.com, cause Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency, notably in patients on steroids and in people who take opioids for chronic pain or who use illicit opioids like fentanyl, heroin, or illegally obtained medicines like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
These medicines essentially induce the Adrenals to stop generating the hormones that you require. Weight loss, myalgia, weariness, and low blood pressure are all signs or symptoms of cortisone shortage. However, with the help of an endocrinologist, this problem can be reversed.
Checking Cortisol Levels
A blood sample obtained at 8 a.m. should have a result of 6 to 23 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL). Different measuring procedures are used in different laboratories, and what is considered normal may differ.
Cortisol levels that are higher than usual could mean that:
- your pituitary gland is releasing too much ACTH due to a tumor or excess growth of the pituitary gland
- you have a tumor in your adrenal gland, resulting in excess cortisol production
- you have a tumor elsewhere in your body that’s involved in cortisol production
Cortisol levels that are lower than normal could mean that:
- you have Addison’s disease, which occurs when the production of cortisol by your adrenal glands is too low
- you have hypopituitarism, which occurs when the production of cortisol by your adrenal glands is too low because the pituitary gland is not sending proper signals.
Cortisol Levels and Natural Remedies
- Maintain a regular bedtime routine or schedule. Make a conscious effort to go to bed at the same hour every night. At least 30 minutes before bedtime, avoid using devices. Your circadian rhythm can be disrupted by electronic devices and blue light.
- Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Cortisol levels are raised by alcohol, which promotes bloating in the belly.
- Caffeine, sweets, and processed foods should be avoided. Make an effort to switch to a whole foods diet and avoid packaged foods that are heavy in chemicals and sodium.
- Exercise in a moderate manner. Cortisol levels can rise if you exercise too much without getting enough rest. Chronic stress can be caused by the continual need for glucose by the muscles. Gardening, walking, hiking, and mild weight training will provide you with the necessary exercise while lowering cortisol levels.
- Make time for chiropractic adjustments and massage treatments to help you relax.
- Consider having your mineral and vitamin levels checked. You want to make sure you’re not low in any vitamins or minerals, including potassium, magnesium, Vitamin D, and others. Providing sufficient nutrition to your cells can assist your immune system and Adrenals perform effectively.
- To take time away every day, try meditation or prayer. It has been demonstrated to lower cortisol levels and lessen anxiety.
Supplemental actions can have a significant impact. Patients must also be able to adjust their behavior patterns and more quickly adjust to daily obstacles. The Adrenal Cocktail might help your adrenal glands stay balanced by nourishing them. You may learn how to make an Adrenal cocktail in a few simple steps here. Learn about the signs and symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, as well as how to test for it.
You’ll have a better idea of how to get there once you know where you stand. Because the American diet and lifestyle cause so much stress in our lives, you’ll want to learn how to better manage your stress and which supplements will help you live a longer, more balanced life!