Here we’re aiming to cover all the bases regarding cortisol tests followed by when cortisol blockers are deemed necessary. We’ll start with the basics and then discuss how to attain the most accurate results, followed by a roundup on cortisol blockers and avenues of cortisol-level management.
When Are Cortisol Tests Ordered?
In most cases, physicians refer to precise testing results to indicate the state of the suprarenal capsule and the pituitary gland of a patient. Grave health issues and concerns may arise should an aberration in cortisol levels occur, so it’s crucial to pinpoint any abnormalities early on.
A cortisol test will be appointed if any of the following indicators are discovered by your doctor:
- Precocious puberty
- Muscles weakness
- Sharp drops or hikes in weight
- Adult-onset acne
- Linear atrophy
- Elevated blood pressure
- Impaired kidney function
- Thyroid disorders
- Male and female pattern baldness
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Abiding concern and stress
- Cushing disease
- Addison disease
Cortisol Test: Undergo your Tests Correctly
Following the rules listed below will ensure the most accurate, concrete results while undergoing Cortisol testing.
These specifications will vary upon the test, of which there are two.
Cortisol Urinary Test
Urine is collected for 24 hours starting with the second void urination. The next morning, only the first voided urine is taken. From the received samples, only 3–4 fluid ounces are brought to the laboratory for testing. Before collecting the samples for a cortisol urinary test, a patient should not:
- Partake in sports and exercise
- Take steroids like Stanozolol and inhaled corticosteroids like fluticasone
- Use oral contraceptives;
- Take thiazide diuretics like Lozol (indapamide) and Thalitone (chlorthalidone USP)
- Drink tea, coffee, or alcohol
- Smoke (cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and otherwise)
- Take amphetamine or methamphetamine
- Drink grapefruit juice
Cortisol Blood Test
Blood counts are drawn only in the early morning hours (from 7:00 AM until 9:00 AM). Male patients can submit to a blood test on any day, but women of reproductive age should consult a doctor to indicate the appropriate days for cortisol testing in regards to their ovulation and menstruation. Preparations for this test are like preparations before a urinary test.
- Abstain from all booze for a full day before the test
- Avoid stressful situations for a couple of days prior to testing
- Discontinue the use of any hormonal drugs not less than a fortnight days before testing. For example, taking Mesterolone, a hormonal androgenic medicine, changes cortisol levels, therefore, voiding results
- Refuse food for at least 8 hours, you will have permission to drink flat water exclusively
- Evade physical activities and sexual encounters for 72 hours before your test
The Purpose of Cortisol Stimulation Test
Taking into account the number of required conditions for real test results, most physicians assign an ACTH-stimulated cortisol test. The procedure includes the following stages:
- Taking bloods from a vein to indicate cortisol levels
- An injection of synthetic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the veins or muscle tissue
- A second sample is taken after half an hour to measure the cortisol level for comparison against the initial results
It’s a shorter variant of the cortisol stimulation test. The long variant includes a series of blood samples post ACTH injection within 24 hours.
Both tests investigate the response of the suprarenal capsule to ACTH injections. It provides conclusive evidence of maladies such as Addison’s disease, various infections, and carcinoma.
Scoring of Cortisol Test Results
After the receipt of pathology examination results, a clear aspect of whether the level of cortisol is low, elevated, or normal can be seen.
If any deviation is found, immediate treatment will follow.
An elevated cortisol level is a sign of Cushing’s syndrome, obesity, ACTH tumors, excess thyroid hyperthyroidism, and high levels of stress.
A lowered level of cortisol is indicative of Addison’s disease, hypopituitarism (when the activity of pituitary gland decreased) and hypothyroidism.
During pregnancy, it’s normal for a mother to have an increased cortisol level. As a rule, cortisol levels of expecting mothers increases five times; in all other cases, such indicators are a sign of serious diseases.
What Cortisol Blocker to Choose?
Curative methods to settle nerves and quit stressing abound. In fact, all these actionable habits are natural blockers of cortisol, as they reduce the level of this stress hormone in the blood. Among them are:
- Playing sports
- Positive emotions and laughing
- Plentiful downtime;
- Restful sleep
Consuming foods rich in vitamin C (citrus, sprouts, capsicum) and omega-3 fatty acids like fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), seeds and nuts (walnuts, flaxseed), plant oils (linseed, gingili, soybean)
However, many experience situations where recovering cortisol levels is practically irresoluble. In such cases, the necessity for medicinal products arises. Cortisol blockers are a large family of pills and supplements aimed at blocking the release of the hormone. Many athletes and bodybuilders who use anabolic steroid pills to intentionally gain weight and increase muscle definition incorporate blockers to their regimen.
To manage cortisol levels, such medicinal drugs are used:
- Corticosteroid blockers: these are very strong medicines that affect the suprarenal cortex diminishing the production of glucocorticoids including cortisol.
- Anabolic steroids: these aim to increase the level of testosterone in women and men. Their action is based on boosting testosterone levels which decreases cortisol secretion.
- Herbal medicinal products: medications with an essence of licorice and Eurycoma longifolia are rather effective for decreasing high cortisol numbers.
Cortisol blockers shouldn’t be taken without specialized medical consultation as results may be unpredictable.
- Only verified testing results may show an official excess in cortisol.
- Every medication comes with contraindications and side effects which can be dangerous for certain patients. For instance, all medical preparations for low testosterone including all types of steroids are contraindicative for patients with prostatic adenoma and inflammation of the genitals.
- Self-treatment may yield hormonal imbalances, which later responds poorly to treatment.
In the context of effectiveness and safety, Winstrol is number one for most bodybuilders and doctors. Besides mildly reducing the level of glucocorticoids, it’s also used in treating osteoporosis, obesity, bone fractures, diseases of muscle tissue, and burns of varying severity.
Cortisol Manager, Halodrol and Other Supplements for High Cortisol
Except for all the methods of cortisol level normalization listed above, there’s another that’s rather popular because of its effectiveness and mild influence. We’re talking nutritional supplements. There’s a wide choice of supplements with different actions, but not all are effective for normalizing low or high cortisol level. Consider these:
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) nutrients: these supplements recover receptors in the hypothalamus, which are responsible for the correction of high and low cortisol levels.
- Adaptogens (ginseng Adreno-Build, Cortisol Manager, etc.): they’re in the category of herbal preparations, which enhance the nourishing and endurance of the suprarenal capsule. They’re taken as one pill or capsule a day. According to reviews, it’s better not to take this preparation before driving and in cases of chronic insomnia. They’re highly effective for decompression.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) supplements: they don’t recover cortisol levels but decrease the symptoms of elevated cortisol.
Steroid supplements (Halodrol, Viraloid, etc): these have a similar action as anabolic steroids, but they’re produced in the form of nutritional supplements.