Skip to content

Warning Signs of Cortisol (too low or too high) 

16 August 2022

Many people hear about cortisol or the adrenal system. But how do you know if you actually have a cortisol problem?

Today, I wanted to take a moment to explore the cortisol hormone and adrenal system.

With the last two years, being what I have seen in the clinic as one of the most stressful years, I thought sharing how to detect whether or not you are having a cortisol issue would be insightful so that you can keep your body at peace as the world continues to change…

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. It also has a very important role in helping the body respond to stress.

Cortisol is made in the cortex of the adrenal glands and then released into the blood, which transports it all round the body.

Almost every cell contains receptors for cortisol and so cortisol can have lots of different actions depending on which sort of cells it is acting upon.

These effects include:

• controlling the body’s blood sugar levels,

• regulating metabolism,

• acting as an anti-inflammatory,

• influencing memory formation,

• controlling salt and water balance, and

• influencing blood pressure

How is cortisol controlled?

Blood levels of cortisol vary throughout the day, but generally are higher in the morning when we wake up, and then fall throughout the day. This is called a diurnal rhythm.

In people that work at night, this pattern is reversed, so the timing of cortisol release is clearly linked to daily activity patterns. In addition, in response to stress, extra cortisol is released to help the body to respond appropriately.

What happens if I have too much cortisol?

Symptoms of too much cortisol include:

• rapid weight gain mainly in the face, chest and abdomen contrasted with slender arms and legs

• trouble sleeping or insomnia

• a flushed and round face

• high blood pressure

• osteoporosis

• skin changes (bruises and purple stretch marks)

• muscle weakness

• mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability

• increased thirst and frequency of urination.

High cortisol levels over a prolonged time can also cause lack of sex drive and, in women, periods can become irregular, less frequent or stop altogether.

In addition, there has been a long-standing association between raised or impaired regulation of cortisol levels and a number of psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression.

However, the significance of this is not yet clearly understood.

What to do IF you Suspect you have Too Much Cortisol?

We’re big fans of testing, and not guessing! You don’t want to mess with cortisol.

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, and have been for a period of time, we suggest that you get your cortisol levels tested.

The range then helps us to naturally provide the right amounts of nutrients or herbs to support your body to regulate your cortisol levels.

I suggest that you book in a Free Introductory Consultation, so that we can identify whether or not you may have a cortisol problem, then put together a comprehensive plan to bring your body back into balance.

Comments are closed.