Cortisol is a representative of the steroid hormones group. The increase or decrease of it levels may lead to some health problems or be the sigh of certain diseases.
If you are not sure of your Cortisol levels you can always have level test: in childhood and adolescence before reaching 16 years Cortisol in the blood range from 83 to 580 nm/l. In adults, these indicators are from 138 to 635 nm/l. It’s unstable, fluctuating hormone levels at different times of day. Usually in the morning Cortisol is at its highest level and in the evening Cortisol concentration in the blood is reduced to the minimum data. For pregnant women normal Cortisol levels go up 2.5-3 times.
What are Cortisol deficiency symptoms?
Cortisol deficiency can lead to pathological states of many organs and systems, low Cortisol levels in the blood is characterized by certain symptoms:
– drastic weight loss for no apparent reasons;
– lack of appetite;
– deterioration of appetite;
– the enduring sense of fatigue;
– the emergence of causeless nausea, causing the urge or vomiting;
– spontaneous painful sensation in the stomach of wandering nature;
– sudden love to salty and spicy dishes, provoking is heavily salted foods;
– the skin lesions appear;
– muscle weakness and pain;
– psycho-emotional state of change: irritability, depression, but his neglectful father failed.
These low Cortisol symptoms may be the signs of the following health problems:
– Primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease. This is a disease when the adrenal glands do not produce a sufficient amount of Cortisol, due to their damage. Damage to the adrenal gland can be caused by autoimmune disease, tuberculosis, infection, adrenal cancer, or adrenal hemorrhage;
– Postprimary adrenal insufficiency. This is the disease of the pituitary gland, which controls the production of hormones by the adrenal glands. In other words the adrenal glands are healthy, but the pituitary gland does not stimulate them to release a sufficient amount of Cortisol. Secondary adrenal insufficiency may occur when the patient abruptly stops taking corticosteroids;
– Uncontrolled intake of hormonal agents and steroids. In a greater degree it’s the case of professional bodybuilders who take illegal and legal steroids to increase muscle mass and muscle definition.
Tests for Indication of Cortisol Deficiency
Often, such clinical manifestations are attributed to entirely different diseases or perceived as a sign of fatigue in women, menopause or pregnancy. So you should know how to measure levels to be sure of the state of your health.
There are some types of analysis of Cortisol levels. Nowadays saliva level test is considered to be the most accurate because it gives a more accurate assessment of the Cortisol level in your cells exactly where the hormone performs its functions. Remember that it is important to be well hydrated before you pass saliva — dehydration can skew the results. It’s better to make 4 analyses on Cortisol at different times of the day.
In most cases low Cortisol levels are the sign of some of the following diseases:
– Inadequate functioning (Hypothyreosis) of Adrenal glands
– Hypophyseal Portal hypothyroidism;
– Cirrhosis of the liver;
– Reception barbiturates and other drugs;
– Anorexia and other nutritional problems, very strict and rigid diets, starvation.
All these conditions or diseases are very dangerous and alarming, pose a grave threat to the health and well-being of the person. When Cortisol deficiency is proved it’s high time to start adequate treatment. It should be remembered that only specialists can treat as clinically warranted. Self-treatment may be dangerous to health.
How to Increase Low Cortisol Levels: Non-drug Treatment
Only a doctor may assign the treatment of low Cortisol levels in the blood. There are no differences between men and women in this case. Any doctor will recommend their patients to start the treatment with non-drug methods:
– You should avoid stressful situations. Try to control your mood, yoga and meditation may help perfectly.
– Take regular full night’s rest. Cortisol is developed in the right quantity at bedtime, for the purpose sleep should be at least 6-8 hours. It is highly important for sleep to be deep and calm. For this purpose it is necessary to ensure peace and comfort.
– Follow certain rules for nutrition. Before you begin any changes in your diet, consult your doctor and have level test to investigate your Cortisol levels. You should minimize the use of flour and sugar as these products reduce the level of Cortisol in the blood. Make an accent on those products that lead to the opposite effect, i.e. to contribute to this hormone. These are fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains. Grapefruits help get rid of enzymes that destroy Cortisol. Therefore, their regular use leads to an increase in this hormone.
All these methods are really effective. They can eliminate all the Cortisol deficiency symptoms and increase Cortisol level to the normal range but only when Cortisol levels are not critically low. As it was already mentioned, too low level is a risk of serious diseases and health disorders. Only a pharmaceutical treatment is possible here and only a doctor knows how to increase Cortisol levels. Don’t start self-treatment and let yourself be talked into taking medications without prescription. Remember that you’re not a specialist and can hardly identify if a medication useful or harmful for you.
Pharmaceutical Methods to Get Rid of Low Cortisol Symptoms
Pharmaceutical treatment is the most popular method of curing of Cortisol deficiency. It usually involves taking corticosteroids. The main disadvantage of this method is that it has some side effects. They include weight gain and unstable mood. However, the doctor can help avoid data if initially to discuss the matter.
Besides pills, specialists prescribe Cortisol injections if blood level is critically decreased. The fact is that because of this, any stress can lead to unpleasant consequences and even fatal. Therefore, in a stressful situation you want to make an injection of Cortisol immediately to avoid serious problems. The doctor advises the patient in detail, how to make them, and in what situations.
It was already said that steroids diminish Cortisol level. But there are some that don’t influence the secretion of pituitary hormones including Cortisol. Among them is Cabergoline; but a correct dosage is very important here. Besides, this preparation has little after-effects that’s why it’s widely used by professional sportsmen. It’s usually recommended to start the intake of this preparation with the minimal doses and, if necessary, increase it gradually.
If we mention such medicine as Oxandrolone, we should note that it strongly blocks Cortisol secretion. One mustn’t take it having low Cortisol symptoms. But if we say about high Cortisol levels there is good efficacy. At the moment there is no shortage of supplements and pharmaceutical products, capable of providing an overwhelming effect on Cortisol. However, in most cases, their activity was not enough for this to a large extent could affect athletic performance, overall health and body composition.
But speaking about unsafe steroids for Cortisol levels, androgenic effect of Dianabol in 100 (!) times weaker than androgenic actions of testosterone. The last blocks the production of Cortisol. So this med won’t harm your health.
One more helper in regulating Cortisol levels is Anadrol. It is for malnourished and weakened sick people (to improve the work of muscles).
If speaking about all the rest steroids including Stanozolol steroids, they should be taken in the case of decreased Cortisol levels. It may damage the secretion of the hormone leading to a long-term treatment.