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Side Effects of Cortisol

Side Effects of Cortisol


Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands and released in response to any stressful situation. Its main function in combating stress is to provide the body with enough energy by metabolizing fats and carbohydrates to glucose. Cortisol is also used as medicine for various diseases and as an immunosuppressant in patients who are undergoing or underwent organ transplant.

This neurotransmitter is affected by Calm PRT and AdreCor

Systemically, cortisol has various effects in the body and here are some of them. When cortisol is released, it contributes to an increase in the blood sugar by converting fats and carbohydrates to glucose and at the same time, counteracting the action of insulin. It also helps convert excess sugar into fats when the stressful situation is perceived to be over.


Cortisol levels affect the water and electrolytes in the body, particularly sodium and potassium. The normal mechanism of sodium loss in the kidneys is inhibited by cortisol. While sodium is kept, potassium is excreted out of the body. The entrance of each sodium in the cell is also the exit of each potassium ion. Water is kept through cortisol’s anti-diuretic function augmenting the weight gain caused by storage of fats.


Another use of cortisol in medicine is to suppress the immune system. When someone is undergoing organ transplant, they are loaded with steroids such as cortisol or corticosteroids to weaken the immune system and decrease the chance of tissue rejection. It is also used in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases to suppress the body’s combative action against its own tissues.


Bones are also affected by cortisol. Since calcium absorption in the intestines is reduced, bone formation slows down. Chronic high levels of cortisol leads to development of osteoporosis.


Increased cortisol levels also cause increase in blood pressure, sexual dysfunction and even temporary infertility. Chronic exposure to high levels of cortisol can result in a rare condition known as Cushing’s syndrome manifested by upper body obesity, stretch marks, excessive body hair growth, fragile bones, and reproductive dysfunction.

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