Cortisol is produced in the Zona Fasiculata of the adrenal glands. It is the only hormone in the body in which levels increases with age.
The secretion of corticotropin releasing hormone from the hypothalamus causes adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) to be released by the pituitary gland which in turn triggers the release of cortisol by the adrenals.
Cortisol is vital for our well-being, it has a number of functions listed below:
|Balances blood sugar||Affects the DHEA/insulin ratio|
|Regulates body weight||Improves sleep|
|Plays a role in immune system response.||Helps bone turnover rate|
|Influences the testosterone/estrogen ratio||Regulates protein synthesis|
However too much cortisol can be detrimental to your health. There are many factors that can elevate cortisol levels. The 3 main causes are: stress, depression and high progestin intake. It is important to keep cortisol levels in check, if it is increased, it will impair the immune system, increase osteoporosis risk, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Abnormal cortisol levels are also associated with menopause or andropause, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, impotence, anorexia, panic disorders, PMS, infertility, sleep disorders, osteoporosis and heart disease.
Adrenal burnout is also a common occurrence in today’s high stress environment. What happens in adrenal burnout is that when your body is stressed it will increase production of DHEA and cortisol. After a long time of stress, the body can no longer keep up with its production of these hormones and their levels will start to decline producing the adrenal burnout phenomenon. Symptoms of adrenal burnout include: fatigue, low blood pressure, sensitivity to light, insomnia, digestive problems, emotional imbalances, hypoglycemia and decreased sexual appetite. If you suffer from any of the above conditions or have any questions feel free to contact any one of our physicians to set up a free consultation.