Cortisol is a glucocorticoid steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is also commonly referred to as the “stress hormone” as it is actively produced in response to stress.
What is cortisol responsible for?
Cortisol is a notorious hormone. So, he is often accused of insomnia, fat accumulation and muscle breakdown. The hormone does have this effect, but only if it is produced in too large quantities. In moderation, it is vital for our body. Its main task is to adapt the body to changing environmental conditions.
Cortisol performs several important functions in our body at once:
- regulates blood glucose levels;
- supports the nervous system;
- activates brain activity;
- controls blood pressure;
- protects against infections.
It is under the influence of cortisol that gluconeogenesis occurs – the process of glucose formation in the liver. That is, the hormone is responsible for providing the body with the energy necessary for life. In a healthy person, the highest concentration of cortisol is observed in the morning. That is why in the morning we feel vigorous and full of strength. By the evening, the production of the hormone gradually decreases, and with it our productivity drops, we feel tired and fall asleep quickly.
Normally, a healthy adult produces cortisol in an amount of 15 to 30 mg per day.
Why elevated cortisol levels are dangerous
Excessive cortisol levels lead to a variety of negative consequences:
- destruction of muscle tissue;
- increased fragility of bones;
- the accumulation of adipose tissue in the abdomen, including on the internal organs;
- decreased testosterone production;
- weakening of immunity;
- indigestion (diarrhea, constipation);
- insomnia, inability to fall asleep quickly;
- fast fatiguability;
- irritability, aggressiveness;
- malfunctions of the thyroid gland.
With a constant excess of cortisol levels, the risk of developing serious diseases increases significantly, including: diabetes mellitus, hypertension, arterial hypertension, osteoporosis, infertility and many others. The main factor that triggers the increased production of cortisol is stress. The more often a person is exposed to stress, the higher the level of the hormone. Cortisol is produced not only in response to a real threat, but also to disturbing thoughts, experiences, therefore, suspicious and depressed people often face this problem.
Cortisol imbalance can be caused by certain diseases: diabetes mellitus, hyperglycemia, adrenal and thyroid pathologies, obesity. Pregnancy can also be a provoking factor.
An important prerequisite for maintaining normal cortisol levels is adherence to a proper daily routine. If you are active at night and sleep during the day, it knocks down the biological clock and disrupts the production of cortisol.
How to lower cortisol levels
With elevated cortisol levels, it is recommended to reconsider your lifestyle and minimize the amount of stress. It is important to be able to relax, let go of disturbing thoughts, and tune in to the positive. Meditations, massage, music for relaxation help well.
For proper cortisol production, you need a healthy sleep of at least 7 hours a day. You need to sleep in complete darkness and silence. It is advisable to go to bed earlier than 23:00 and ventilate the room well. Moderate physical activity will help to normalize hormonal levels. Walking in the fresh air is helpful. You need to revise your diet so that each meal is accompanied by the use of protein. Carbohydrates are necessary for the assimilation of protein, they must also be present. It is also important to drink enough water. In the absence of contraindications, this is at least two liters per day.
In addition to the above recommendations, the intake of adaptogens such as ginseng, rhodiola rosea, etc. has a positive effect.
Symptoms of elevated cortisol levels are not specific and can be observed with other diseases and disorders; an accurate diagnosis can only be made based on the results of the examination. You can go through all the necessary examinations and get advice from qualified specialists in Volgograd, Volzhsky and Mikhailovka in the DIALINE clinics. If the increased production of cortisol is confirmed, our specialists will determine the cause of the disorder and select the optimal therapy, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient. To make an appointment, contact us by phone or through the feedback form on the website. For the convenience of using our services, we recommend registering in your personal account.