Cortisol Chronicles: Unveiling the Overlooked Perks for Your Mind & Body

Without cortisol, our bodies wouldn’t be able to function properly. Even a mild deficiency in this vital hormone can lead to various signs and symptoms of illness, which are often treated with synthetic drugs by conventional medicine. However, cortisol has numerous health benefits that are frequently overlooked by healthcare professionals. By understanding the effects of cortisol on the body and supplementing it when deficient, we can improve our mood, stress resistance, and address a myriad of other health concerns.

It’s important to know that the cortisol discussed here refers to a dose equivalent to about one-tenth of a typical prescription of prednisone. With this in mind, let’s explore some of the various physical complaints that can arise from even a minor cortisol deficiency. Note that while many of these issues could be due to other factors, they may indicate a lack of cortisol as well:

  1. Cravings for sweet and salty foods
  2. Acute hair loss or slow, patchy loss
  3. Stress headaches
  4. Skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo (white spots), keloids (thick scars), irregular brown spots, heavy sweating (e.g. in armpits, palms, and on the bottoms of feet), and rapid skin tanning
  5. Muscle, tendon or joint pains, hollow cheeks, and tired appearance
  6. Nasal and throat allergies, eye irritation, asthma, and food sensitivities
  7. Autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and lupus
  8. Fatigue and low energy (from stressful events or ongoing stress), or the need for extra sleep
  9. Intense hunger attacks
  10. Digestive pains, bloating, and diarrhea
  11. Excessive sensitivity to pain
  12. Proneness to infections (e.g. mononucleosis, influenza, rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia)

Aside from the physical symptoms, low cortisol levels can also cause behavioral disturbances that disrupt interactions with others. Someone with waning cortisol levels might exhibit the following behaviors:

  1. Nervous and irritable behavior or nervous laughter to cover embarrassment
  2. Accusatory language, focusing on oneself and discussing their role as a victim
  3. Sharp verbal retorts to try to stay in control of discussions
  4. Overuse of melodramatic or negative words (e.g. terrible, horrible, impossible)

Seeing these signs and symptoms, it’s clear how important it is to keep cortisol levels within the optimal range. Getting your cortisol tested is the first step in addressing any deficiency. You can ask your doctor for a blood test or urine test to measure your cortisol levels. Morning blood tests for free cortisol levels or total cortisol levels, or alternatively, an afternoon test for free or total cortisol levels usually provide a definitive diagnosis. If your results fall within the lower portion of the “normal” range, this could indicate that your cortisol levels are low, as the “normal” range is often a reflection of the average population, which is generally low in cortisol.

Finding a qualified physician capable of diagnosing a cortisol deficiency and prescribing supplemental cortisol (Hydrocortisone®) or a glandular supplement can be a challenge. One option is to establish a doctor-patient relationship with a practitioner experienced in hormone management, such as the network of physicians trained in anti-aging medicine called BodylogicMD.

Staying informed about the importance of cortisol and ensuring that you maintain appropriate levels will significantly improve your overall health and well-being. In addition to addressing issues related to cortisol deficiency, be sure to explore other aspects of hormonal health, such as optimizing thyroid hormone levels, to ensure you maintain your best possible health overall.