Definition of Cortisol:

A hormone whose most important function is to help the body respond to stress.  It also helps regulate the body's use of protein, carbohydrates and fat; it helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function; it prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

Topics Related to Cortisol

Addison's Disease

...the condition
“...It occurs when the adrenal glands, located above each kidney, do not produce enough corticosteroids – in particular, the hormone cortisol, and in some cases, the hormone aldosterone...”

Adrenal Insufficiency

...related topic
“A condition in which the adrenal gland is compromised in its production of epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, corticosterone or aldosterone...”
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More topics Related to Cortisol

Alzheimer's Disease

...recommendation Testosterone
“...Increasing levels of adrenal hormones such as cortisol, which rise in response to stress and aging, may also play an important role in Alzheimer's...”

Carbohydrate Craving

...the condition
“...Cortisol also stimulates insulin, which leads to blood sugar dips and fat storage...”

Carbohydrate Intolerance

...the condition
“...Hyperinsulinemia can also cause the adrenal gland to over-produce the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue...”

Chromium a treatment
“...A drop in blood glucose levels may result in the release of regulatory hormones, i.e. epinephrine, glucagon, cortisol, and growth hormone...”

Chronic Inflammation

...relationship to Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency
“...Without enough circulating cortisol there may be a tendency to become easily inflamed.”

Cigarette Smoke Damage

...the condition
“...Smoking causes an acute increase in blood pressure, pulse rate, plasma ACTH, cortisol, aldosterone, and catecholamine levels...”

Cluster Headaches

...the condition
“...The hypothalamus is also involved in the regulation of many important hormones, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and cortisol (stress hormones), melatonin (related to sleep), and beta endorphins (involved with pain)...”

Coconut a treatment
“...Within a week, abnormal cortisol levels show improvement indicating adrenal restoration using vitamin B1, B complex and coconut milk...”

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

...our question about Calorie-controlled diets
“Extreme calorie restriction, which is common among yo-yo dieters, can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol which, when present in the body over long periods of time, can increase one's risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer...”

Cushing's Syndrome / Hypercortisolism

...the condition
“...Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body's tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol.  Normally, the production of cortisol follows a precise chain of events...”
...recommendation Test Adrenal Function
“A 24-Hour urinary free cortisol level is the most specific diagnostic test...”


...relationship to Stress
“...Conversely, dehydration leads to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”


...recommendation DHEA
“...Improvements in depression ratings and memory performance were directly related to increases in plasma levels of DHEA and DHEA-S and to increases in their ratios with plasma cortisol levels.  Another study evaluated the efficacy of very high doses of DHEA (450mg) in the treatment of midlife-onset dysthymia...”

DHEA a treatment
“...DHEA should be used only under the supervision of a qualified individual who understands the complex nature of adrenal hormones and can test for DHEA, cortisol, and other relevant markers of adrenal health...”

Elevated Cortisol Levels

...the condition
“Under normal circumstances your body produces more cortisol in the morning than in the evening, giving you the energy that you need to begin your day...”
...relationship to Female Infertility
“Chronically elevated cortisol levels can stop a woman from ovulating and may lead to infertility.”
...relationship to Osteoporosis - Osteopenia
“...Also, to provide the extra calcium needed when faced with intense stress situation, cortisol can directly stimulate bone breakdown cells...”
...recommendation Phosphytidalserine
“...PS is found in every cell in the body, but perhaps most significant is its ability to lower the level of stress hormones such as cortisol which damage brain cells and lead to the accumulation of calcified plaques in the brain...”

Female Hair Loss

...relationship to Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Diet
“...Basically, this diet can cause your cortisol levels to go sky high, which will lead to hair loss...”

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

...relationship to Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency
“...[The Safe Uses of Cortisol, William Mck...”

Hormone Imbalance

...the condition
“...There are many different hormones and many possible causes of imbalance, including ... Stress – Increases levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which in turn suppress the production of sex hormones...”

Hydrocortisone a treatment
“...The correct and safe use of low dose cortisol requires a doctor familiar with its administration...”

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

...our question about How much coffee you drink
“Caffeine raises the production of the adrenal hormone cortisol, a stress hormone...”
...recommendation Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance
“Caffeine raises the production of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which causes the blood vessels to constrict and the heart to pump harder, which leads to high blood pressure...”


...the condition
“...Adrenal Hormone Deficiency Deficiency of ACTH resulting in cortisol deficiency is the most dangerous and life-threatening of the hormonal deficiency syndromes...”


...recommendation Test Adrenal Function
Cortisol and DHEA are among the hormones produced by the adrenal glands...”

Immune System Imbalance (TH2 Dominance)

...the condition
“, canola, corn and sunflower), glucose (white sugar), asbestos, lead, mercury and other heavy metals, pesticides, air and water pollutants, progesterone, prednisone, morphine, tobacco, cortisol (in high doses), HIV, candida albicans, HCV, E coli and many other pathogens, continuous stress, thalidomide, UV-B light, pregnancy, melatonin (conflicting research suggests that high levels...”
...recommendation Ginkgo Biloba
“Gingko Biloba may reduce excess cortisol production...”
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More topics Related to Cortisol

Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency

...the condition
“...The adrenal cortex is involved in the production of glucocorticoids (such as cortisol, i.e. hydrocortisone), mineralocorticoids (aldosterone) and androgens such as androstenedione and DHEA...”
...recommendation against Melatonin
“Since melatonin helps to control excess cortisol production, those with low adrenal function and low cortisol levels need to be careful about taking too much melatonin: it can make them even more tired.”
...recommendation Licorice Root
“...If cortisol levels are low, one of the ways to sustain more normal levels is to slow or inhibit its breakdown...”
...recommendation Vitamin Paba
“PABA potentiates the hormone cortisol.  When cortisol is being supplemented, the dosage of PABA may need to be reduced.”
...recommendation Hydrocortisone
“Physiologic replacement doses of oral cortisol can make a dramatic difference in cases of adrenal exhaustion...”

Low Melatonin Level

...relationship to Stress
“Chronic stress causes the production of too much cortisol, which in turn lowers melatonin.”

Low Pregnenolone Level

...the condition
“...All steroid hormones in the body (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, aldosterone, cortisol, etc.)  are made from pregnenolone...”

Male Hair Loss

...relationship to Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Diet
“...Basically, this diet can cause your cortisol levels to go sky high, which will lead to hair loss...”

Night Eating Syndrome

...the condition
“...NES has been linked to hormone imbalances; high cortisol, low melatonin and leptin may make things worse...”
...relationship to Stress
“Nighttime eaters have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol during almost all hours of the day, suggesting that they suffer from the effects of chronic stress in their daily lives.”

Painful Menstruation (Dysmenorrhea)

...relationship to Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency
“Dysmenorrhea caused by ovarian dysfunction may disappear when low doses of cortisol are used to improve adrenal influence on ovarian function...”

Phosphytidalserine a treatment
“...Research also points to PS functioning to reduce cortisol secretion in response to stress – an important finding since depressed subjects are shown to have high cortisol levels...”

Pregnenolone a treatment
“...Pregnenolone is the basic precursor – or starting raw material – for the production of ALL the human steroid hormones, including DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and aldosterone, and as such is often referred to as "The Mother Hormone" or the next "up and coming" anti-aging hormone...”

Premenstrual Syndrome PMS A (Anxiety)

...the condition
“...The causes of estrogen-progesterone imbalance include inadequate neurotransmitter synthesis, low serotonin, adrenal fatigue and cortisol dysregulation...”

Risk Of Premature Death

...the condition
“...Lonely people are less able to deal with stress or have a positive outlook on life; they also tend to have higher blood pressure and cortisol levels (related to depression), and more disrupted sleep...”


...the condition
“...Research is increasingly pointing to high levels of stress as being a trigger of schizophrenia by increasing the body's production of the hormone cortisol.  For example...”


...the condition
“...When you are under stress, cortisol may literally be eating away at your muscle-building potential...”
...relationship to Progesterone Low or Estrogen Dominance
“Stress increases cortisol production; cortisol blockades (competes for) progesterone receptors...”
...relationship to Elevated Cortisol Levels
“People under stress produce high levels of the hormone cortisol, which wreaks havoc on the body.”
...recommendation Melatonin
“Melatonin can protect against stress by controlling overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol.”
...recommendation Aerobic Exercise
“Regular exercise can help reduce elevated levels of hormones (such as cortisol) that are associated with chronic stress.”

Test Adrenal Function a treatment
“...Conventional physicians routinely test for adrenal function by measuring the levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol.  Because cortisol is secreted at different levels throughout the day (most in the morning, least around midnight), multiple samples (usually 4) should be taken through out the day at specific...”

The Effects Of Overtraining

...relationship to Weakened Immune System
Cortisol, which is a hormone emitted by the adrenal gland during periods of physical stress, has an immunosuppressive effect: high performance athletes have chronically lowered immune systems...”
...relationship to Osteoarthritis
Cortisol – a hormone produced by the adrenal gland during periods of intense physical exercise – interferes with bone-building and reduces bone density by breaking down bone faster than it is made.”
...relationship to Osteoporosis - Osteopenia
Cortisol – a hormone produced by the adrenal gland during periods of intense physical exercise – interferes with bone-building and reduces bone density by breaking down bone faster than it is made.”

Turmeric a treatment
“...Curcumin interacts with the adrenal glands in a way that allows the body to spare cortisol, one of the body's own inflammation control mechanisms...”
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