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Posts Tagged ‘cortisol’

The UK’s Daily Mail // (1/11, Ferrier http://tinyurl.com/adrenal-gland-fatigue) reports a  new syndrome coined Adrenal Fatigue is now so commonplace it has been recognized by the World Health Organization.  The umbrella term for a group of non-specific symptoms affects significantly more women than men.  Adrenal Fatigue occurs because the adrenals – walnut-sized glands that sit just above the kidneys – get overworked.  The adrenals are expected to churn out high levels of the hormone cortisol, traditionally during short-term periods of high stress. People suffering from adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.   When we are children, our cortisol levels fluctuate as we get excited and nervous, but as we get older, some of us live with permanently raised levels.  This wreaks havoc with our bodies and leaves many of us feeling deflated and anxious – and never more so than around the Christmas and New Year period, when we’re grappling with all manner of stress-inducing situations, from worrying about that upcoming credit card bill to dealing with in-laws.  The increasing prevalence of the syndrome presents one of the most interesting medical paradigms of our time.  First coined by Canadian alternative medicine specialist Dr James Wilson in 1998, the term Adrenal Fatigue is beginning to be recognized by mainstream health organizations.   The condition is difficult to diagnose because adrenal function is measured on a sliding scale, a bit like thyroid function. It’s only if a test shows you to have levels in the highest or lowest 2 per cent that you’ll be deemed ‘abnormal’.    So if your cortisol levels are in the lowest 5 per cent and you are suffering significant symptoms, it still wouldn’t be deemed a medical issue.   A good diet may be helpful in treating Adrenal Fatigue, including wholegrains, oily fish and fruit, supplemented by magnesium, B5 and vitamins C and B12. 

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HealthDay (4/2, McKeever) reported that, according to a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, “low levels of” the “stress hormone” cortisol “may be responsible for the obsession with routine and dislike for new experiences common in children with” Asperger syndrome (AS). Researchers from the UK’s University of Bristol found that children with AS “do not experience the normal twofold increase of cortisol upon waking up. Levels of the hormone in their bodies do continue to decrease throughout the day, though, just as they do in those without the syndrome.” The investigators pointed out that cortisol “increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels…to signal the body’s need to adapt to changes occurring around it,” and that the “increase shortly after waking” is seen as helping “jump-start the brain for the day ahead.”
        Delving more into the study’s methodology, WebMD (4/2, Hitti) added that the researchers examined “salivary cortisol levels in 20 young men with Asperger’s syndrome and 18 typically developing men of the same age. Participants provided saliva samples upon waking, half an hour later, and about an hour before bedtime.” The study’s authors theorized that “not having that morning spike in cortisol levels may be linked to ‘an extreme need for sameness and resistance to change.'” Still, the study’s “findings don’t prove that; it’s not clear which came first, Asperger’s syndrome or steady salivary cortisol levels in the morning.”

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