Chronic Fatigue, Stress, and Cortisol


Cortisol is a natural hormone that the body produces on a regular basis. Unfortunately, too much cortisol, or to little even, can be very dangerous for the body. Running on high levels of cortisol will eventually cause your body to stop making that hormone. Once this happens the body goes into that “fight or flight” mode, and runs on pure adrenaline, which is an even more toxic hormone to constantly live off of.

chronicLack of cortisol can cause sleep apnea, which unfortunately results in daytime sleepiness. Furthermore, low cortisol levels can put you at very high risk for heart attacks, and/or high blood pressure. Not being able to breathe is the lead characteristic of sleep apnea, which then releases the adrenaline hormone. These jolts of adrenaline your body produces can last all through the night, which is very toxic damaging to the heart.

Frequently throughout the day, the cortisol levels of an average person can be very low. Even in the healthiest of people, their cortisol can drop to almost nothing, leaving them with barely enough energy to stand up. This is all related to poor adrenal function and stress.

On the other hand, some people experience adrenal fatigue in the complete opposite way. Where that person will start off with very low levels of cortisol in the morning and as the day progresses the levels begin to raise. By the end of the day, when it’s time to go to sleep, the cortisol is so high, it becomes impossible for that person to sleep, which then starts the whole cycle over again the next morning.

The hormonal imbalance of the cortisol and adrenaline is mainly caused by stress. Unfortunately, most endocrinologists, or people who treat those who suffer from hormonal imbalances, do not believe in, what some doctors refer to as, “hypo-adrenalism” which effects a numerous amount of people because of stress. What endocrinologists do believe in, can be pretty black and white. Their mindset is you either have a disease, or adrenal fatigue, or you simply do not. They draw this conclusion based on a person’s hormone levels.

Complimentary doctors tend to view things in a more complex way. Instead of deciding on a specific “disease” for this symptom, one might just called it “adrenal let down”. Meaning, there is more than one logical answer to determine why a person is feeling so stressed and/or tired. Multiple solutions take part when treating this problem. Simple things like licorice extract, or some natural, slow release cortisol will really work to help you feel more awake, and alert throughout the day. Of course it always help to get a proper night’s sleep.

If the problem is reversed where a person is experiencing too much cortisol and finds it impossible to get any sleep, there are easy, homeopathic ways for taking care of this condition. Exposure to sunlight is one trick to lowering cortisol levels. If the day is gone and there is no natural light available, there is always the option of using a light box to reset your “sleep timer”.

Dr. Terry Grossman, founder of Grossman Wellness Center, has been studying chronic fatigue and hormone intervention for years. He was able to provide us with some very valuable information regarding this topic. KISS (keep it simple stupid) is the best philosophy – Getting enough sleep, consistent exercise, and a good diet will certainly increase the chances of living a long healthy life.