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What is cortisol and why you need to control it.

 Many times you have wondered what cortisol is and why it is so important to control it?


First of all, cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands(Also known as suprarenal glands situated on the top of both the kidneys) that plays several roles in the body, because it is mainly involved in:

  1. The metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins: it allows the regulation of glycemia by increasing the synthesis of glucose by the liver, but also by stimulating the release of lipids and proteins in most tissues.
  2. The anti-inflammatory reaction.
  3. The regulation of blood pressure.
  4. Bone growth.
  5. The stress response: cortisol is often called "the stress hormone".


Also, this hormone allows the body to better adapt to emotional or physical stress.

In addition, it mobilizes the energy necessary to assist the muscles, the brain and also the heart.


  1. The regulation of water, which preserves the physiological balance of the body.
  2. The sleep.
  3. The immune system.

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Levels of cortisol hormone in our blood depends according to the time of day and night.

It is at its highest level in the morning, but decreases throughout the day to reach its lowest level at night.


When should I take a cortisol test?

A blood cortisol check may be indicated by a physician to detect any deficiencies of the adrenal cortical gland.


It maintains a circadian rhythm and the maximum level is detected between six and eight in the morning.


Normal values

In men, women, and children, normal cortisol values depend on the time the record is taken.

Note: We can check cortisol levels from both blood and urine.

  • At eight o'clock in the morning, the value should be between 275 and 685 nmol/l (nanomoles per liter). 
  • At 12pm it should be between 190,468 nmol/l.
  • At 4pm it should be between 165 and 300 nmol/l.
  • At 8pm between 110 and 250 nmol/l, and at midnight between 55 and 190 nmol/l.


High cortisol levels may be an indicator of:

  1. Cushing's syndrome (hypertension, obesity, hyperglycemia, etc. Excess secretion of adrenal cortical hormone).
  2. Anorexia.
  3. Neuropsychiatric diseases.
  4. A benign or malignant tumor in the adrenal glands.
  5. An acute infection.
  6. A cerebral capsular accident, an infarct of myocardium.
  7. A cirrhosis of liver, or chronic alcoholism.


However, a low level of cortisol can be an indicator of:

  1. Adrenal insufficiency.
  2. Addison's disease.
  3. Insufficient functioning of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.
  4. Prolongeduse of steroids.

Therefore, if you feel any disease due to high or low levels of cortisol, do not hesitate to consult a specialist.

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