Some facts about cortisol levels and circadian rythym of. Interesting that it refers to elevated levels caused by stress because that can be mimicked with oral delivery also and in the way it is dosed which can effect the same symptoms as covered herein. It does say though that negative effects of elevated cortisol levels may not be felt for years in some cases. Paragraph 7.
In a natural rhythm, your body produces more cortisol in the morning than in the evening, giving you the energy you need to begin your day. In the evening your cortisol level should drop by approximately 90%. Evening is generally the time when the stresses of the day are behind you, the time when you can relax and unwind. Scientific data is showing that elevated cortisol levels are becoming more commonplace.
As important and necessary as cortisol is, you can have too much of it circulating in your system. If you are constantly under stress, your cortisol level can remain elevated over long periods of time. Research now correlates chronically elevated levels of cortisol with blood sugar problems, fat accumulation, compromised immune function, exhaustion, bone loss, and even heart disease. Memory loss has also been associated with high cortisol levels. Continual stress can indeed have a negative impact on your health.
A recent study found that women who work outside the home and have family responsibilities tend to have elevated evening cortisol levels. Men, on the other hand, have the expected lower cortisol levels in the evening. This difference may reflect the additional work that many women do after they get home from their jobs.
Interestingly, differences between women and men in relationship to cortisol extend even further. One study, that examined the effect of harassment on cortisol levels, noted that recovery from stress was significantly different between men and women. Harassed men actually had the largest increase in cortisol levels, but once the stress was eliminated men returned to normal more quickly than women.
In a scientific investigation of 30,000 women and men in 30 countries, women were shown to be more likely than men to report feeling stress. In response to issues of family, work and money, whether they are in a relationship or not, a parent or not, women are more stressed than men in the same situation. Working women with children were found to have the highest stress levels.
An additional problem of long term elevations of cortisol is that the adrenal gland may wear itself out and no longer be able to produce even normal levels of cortisol. This is called "adrenal exhaustion" and is associated with many other health problems.
An elevated cortisol level is not something you can immediately feel. If it is elevated for too long, over a period of months or years for example, you may begin to feel its effects because of the negative impact it has on your overall health. Besides impacting the immune system, fertility, and bone health, the list of the risks of high cortisol levels grows longer. New studies demonstrate that elevated cortisol levels can lead to abdominal weight gain, loss of verbal declarative memory (words, names, and numbers), insulin resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Please note that it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure. Many diseases and conditions share common symptoms: if you treat yourself for the wrong illness or a specific symptom of a complex disease, you may delay legitimate treatment of a serious underlying problem. In other words, the greatest danger in self-treatment may be self-diagnosis. If you do not know what you really have, you can not treat it!
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Conditions that suggest Elevated Cortisol Levels:
Lab Values High Levels Of Triglycerides
If a woman is not ovulating she may have lower estrogen and progesterone levels. Low estrogen levels can increase the activity of osteoclasts (bone breakdown cells) while low progesterone has been shown to increase PMS symptoms and slow bone deposition. Also, to provide the extra calcium needed when faced with intense stress situation, cortisol can directly stimulate bone breakdown cells. Unchecked over a long period of time, high cortisol levels can cause you to lose bone faster than you can rebuild it.
Chronically elevated cortisol levels can stop a woman from ovulating and may lead to infertility.
Risk factors for Elevated Cortisol Levels:
Recommendations for Elevated Cortisol Levels:
Nutrient Phosphytidal Serine
Taking 100mg up to three times a day supports and revitalizes nerve cells and has been shown in numerous studies to slow or reverse cognitive losses attributed to aging. 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. Plaques of this type have been observed in Alzheimer’s patients. PS also helps brain cells communicate and improves both memory and the ability to concentrate.
Weak or unproven link Strong or generally accepted link Likely to help
Adrenal Insufficiency: Also known as Adrenal Exhaustion or Low Adrenal Function, this is a condition where the adrenal gland is compromised in its production of epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, corticosterone or aldosterone. Symptoms include primarily fatigue, weakness, decreased appetite with ensuing weight loss, as well as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, or increased pigmentation of the skin. Cortical insufficiency (low or no corticosteroids) produces a more serious condition called Addison’s Disease, characterized by extreme weakness, low blood pressure, pigmentation of the skin, shock or even death.
Calcium: The body’s most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.
Diabetes Mellitus: A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.
Estrogen: One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.
Hormones: Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.
Immune System: A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.
Insulin: A hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood for use or storage.
Premenstrual Syndrome: PMS consists of various physical and/or emotional symptoms that occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation. The symptoms begin about midcycle, are generally the most intense during the last seven days before menstruation and include: acne; backache; bloating; fatigue; headache; sore breasts; changes in sexual desire; depression; difficulty concentrating; difficulty handling stress; irritability; tearfulness.