Adrenal / Cortisol Stress
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rhythm can influence:
Immune system health
Muscle and joint function
The panel is ordered mainly for individuals who suffer
Chronic stress and related health
Lack of vitality and energy
Muscle and joint
Low sex drive
Low body temperature
The Adrenal Rhythm
and Its Importance
adrenal glands do not secrete steroid hormones at a constant level throughout the day. The hormones are actually
released in a cycle, with the highest value in the morning and the lowest value at night when functioning
This 24-hour cycle is called the circadian rhythm and is depicted below.
An abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence many functions of the body, some
of which are described below.
Abnormal adrenal function can alter
the ability of cells to produce energy for the activities of daily life. People who have a hard time rising in the
morning, or who suffer from low energy throughout the day, often have abnormal adrenal rhythms and poor blood sugar
The maintenance of a stable blood sugar level depends on food choice,
lifestyle, adrenal function and insulin activity. The Adrenal / Cortisol Stress panel measures stress
hormones and insulin, to help ferret out the causes of fatigue, cravings and obesity.
Abnormal adrenal rhythms are
known to compromise tissue healing.
Reduced tissue repair and increased tissue breakdown can lead to muscle and
joint wasting with chronic pain.
The adrenal rhythm determines how well we
build bone. If the night and morning cortisol levels are elevated, our bones do not rebuild well, and we are more
prone to osteoporosis.
Stress is the enemy of the bones. In postmenopausal women, the effect of stress worsens due to female hormone
Various immune cells (white blood cells)
cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow. The immune system trafficking follows the cortisol cycle. If the
cycle is disrupted, especially at night, then the immune system is adversely affected.
Short- and long-term stress is known to suppress the immune response in
the lungs, throat, urinary tract and intestines. With reduction in the surface antibody (called secretory IgA), the
resistance to infection is reduced and allergic reactions are believed to increase.
The ability to enter REM sleep cycles
and experience regenerative sleep is interrupted by high cortisol values at night and in the morning.
Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce a person’s mental vitality, vigor and induce depression.
Human skin regenerates mostly
during the night. With higher night cortisol values, less skin regeneration takes place. Therefore a normal
cortisol rhythm is essential for optimal skin health.
The level of cortisol at the cell level
controls thyroid hormone production.
Often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body temperature are due
to an adrenal maladaptation.
Intolerance and Stress Response
12-18% of the U.S. population suffers from a genetic intolerance
to grains, such as wheat, rye or barley contained in cereals, breads and pasta.
A high incidence occurs in people with Celtic, Nordic, non-caucasian and Mediterranean ethnicity. The gut becomes
inflamed within 30 minutes after consuming grains, and this can lead to an adrenal stress response, increased
cortisol and reduced DHEA.
Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
A common HPA axis defect
in CFS is impaired corticotrophin release. As a result,
low cortisol and eventual adrenal atrophy may be observed. Depleted adrenals with flat rhythms are often seen on
the The Adrenal / Cortisol Stress panel.
Simultaneous use of several therapies can help improve the debilitating effects
Chronic hypoglycemia can impair
normal adrenal function by repetitive overstimulation of cortisol production. Recurring exposure to high cortisol
will impair insulin activity, and invariably lead to insulin resistance and beta-cell exhaustion (diabetes).
The The Adrenal / Cortisol Stress panel investigates the insulin-cortisol relationship under real-life
conditions to allow targeted and meaningful interventions.
This panel is useful in the following clinical situations: rapid weight gain and obesity, deranged blood lipids,
sugar blues, early diabetes and associated emotional disturbances.
More than fifty years ago, Dr. W. Jefferies (author of Safe Uses of Cortisol) discovered that
patients with environmentally triggered allergies and autoimmune diseases dramatically beneﬁted when given cortisol
for other purposes.
More recently, German researchers reported that disruption of the adrenal axis and cytokine relationships lead to
predisposition and aggravation of autoimmune diseases.
The ﬁndings of the The Adrenal / Cortisol Stress panel help identify patients with autoimmune
diseases and adrenal problems who can beneﬁt from cortisol supplements.
publications report a hyperactive HPA axis in depressed patients. Elevated midnight salivary cortisol is now
considered one of the best tests in diagnosing endogenous depression.
Other anomalies in cortisol rhythm usually accompany the midnight elevation.
On the other hand, cortisol elevations and rhythm disruptions throughout the day are typical of attention deﬁcit
The anomalous cortisol ﬁndings in depression and ADD can be diagnosed successfully with the The Adrenal /
Cortisol Stress panel.
Subsequent interventions to rectify the time-speciﬁc cortisol elevations (during the day or night) are usually
effective when applied under proper supervision.