Cortisol is a hormone made by the two adrenal glands. Cortisol helps to maintain blood pressure, immune function and many other important functions in the body.
Cortisol is formally known as hydrocortisone which is a steroid hormone. To be more specific a glucocorticoid, produced by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex. It is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also decreases bone formation. Various synthetic forms of cortisol are used to treat a variety of diseases.
Cortisol, being the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances the brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Cortisol also changes functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a stressful situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of the brain that control mood, motivation and fear.
The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all the body’s processes. This increases the risk of numerous health problems including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, memory and concentration impairment.
- Poor concentration, ‘brain fog’
- Fatigue, lethargy
- Salt cravings
- Mild depression
- Lack of stamina
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular sleeping patterns