The health of the entire hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is critically important for maintaining proper health primarily because of cortisol’s role in the body.
Cortisol is known as a glucocorticosteroid because of its effects on blood sugar regulation (gluco), it is made in the cortex of the adrenal glands (cortico) and of course, its action as a potent steroid hormone with effects that are far reaching systemically. Released primarily in response to perceived low blood sugar in order to directly stimulate glucuoneogenesis and indirectly, glycogenolysis, cortisol helps to counter inflammation through certain cytokines in the immune system and increases to prepare the body for “fight or flight” as part of the normal, healthy stress response. Like all things, balance is key as high levels can result in inflammatory tissue damage, bone loss, blood sugar dysregulation, memory loss via the hippocampus and insomnia.
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