What does a Cortisol Level Test Show?
Whether your doctor feels its best, or you feel your body is out-of-whack, speaking with your doctor about a cortisol level test is never a bad request. It can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body, including your level of stress and issues with your pituitary and adrenal glands.
What is Cortisol?
According to former Director of Nutrition for InVite® Health, Millie Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS, cortisol is a stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands. “We need this hormone to simply wake up in the morning. However, too much stress can stimulate our brain, signaling the adrenal glands to produce cortisol too often. High cortisol can cause issues with your mood, weight, and sleep patterns. Over long periods of time, and if left unattended, cortisol secretion may actually trigger a vicious chain of events that leads to some of the most common lifestyle illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obesity, hypothyroidism and diabetes.”
Cortisol Level Test Results
A simple blood test is all that is needed for your doctor to test your cortisol levels. He or she may want to review your current medications, as this might affect your cortisol results. Speak with your doctor for directions before your cortisol test.
According to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center, normal cortisol levels are usually highest early in the morning and lowest at about midnight. normal ranges vary depending on the type of test. For most tests, normal ranges are:
- From 6am to 8am: 10 to 20 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL)*
- Around 4pm: 3 to 10 mcg/dL*
Review your results with your doctor to confirm what your score may mean.
Natural Approaches to Manage Stress and Cortisol Levels
“Cortisol tends to deplete memory supportive, feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine. Lacking these brain chemicals can negatively affect mood, memory, appetite control and overall brain function. Luckily, nutrients like GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), and L-Theanine help to clear out excess cortisol and rebuild essential brain chemicals,” reports Lytle.
GABA slows down the firing of nerve cells, can benefit mood and supports memory, attention, focus and learning, as well as relaxation and restorative sleep. Theanine, an extract of green tea, helps to calm the central nervous system and supports the production of alpha brain waves, which are made during relaxation, meditation and sleep.†
Getting adequate rest is very important for well-being, especially when stress becomes overwhelming. Supporting tranquility during the day and restful sleep at night may be the key to helping the body resist the harmful effects of stress on memory, mood, and sleep, restoring your waking vitality. Natural remedies keep cortisol and other wellness-zapping hormones in check and build healthy, positive brain chemistry. With the help of some natural remedies, you can get your biochemistry back on track, and not only survive, but thrive with stress.