Cortisol is an important hormone. Cortisol increases blood sugar, acts as an anti-inflammatory, influences mental and cognitive function such as memory, thinking and concentration, controls salt and water balance and blood pressure, and helps foetal development.
Cortisol production is influenced by stress (physical or emotional) and by natural cycles that tend to correlate with wake and sleep cycles.
Cortisol should be high in the morning when you wake up – it is the hormone that helps you get out of bed - and low at night when you go to bed, allowing you to fall asleep.
Cortisol plays a role in the body’s stress response, the so-called ‘fight and flight’ response, by shutting down certain functions, such as digestion. This response is supposed to be temporary.
Chronic (long-term) production of excess cortisol raises blood sugar, blood pressure and insulin, increasing fat storage, especially around your waist. Chronic excess cortisol also affects the immune response, making your body more susceptible to illness, affects bone and muscle development and decreases calcium absorption. It can interfere with thyroid function.
This test requires a blood draw, which can be done at a local clinic. It will be analysed at an accredited lab, such as Karolinska, Aleris or Unilabs. The first results are usually available within 48h.
The day before No advance preparation is needed for this test. Try to go to bed at the usual time and avoid stressful activities.
On the day This test should be taken in the early morning between 7 and 8 am, after a normal night’s rest. Remember to take I.D. with you when going to take a test. Arrive in good time and sit down quietly for 15 minutes before taking a test.
What happens next?
The lab sends the results to your personal dashboard, with comments from both a doctor and a nutritionist. If results are abnormal, we recommend seeing a doctor and, if appropriate, booking an appointment with a Nordic Wellth nutrition lifestyle specialist.
You may need to make lifestyle and dietary changes.
Why test cortisol?
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them.
Monitor changes to your blood values as you make lifestyle changes or undergo treatments.
Cortisol can affect other health conditions, such as thyroid disease.