Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the phrase “adrenal fatigue”.
You know, wiped out, overworked adrenal glands that have taken such a beating that they can’t muster up enough strength to make any more cortisol. This leaves their owner feeling rundown, lethargic, and generally unwell.
Nice story. Not true.
Yes, people don't feel well. No, this isn't because of rundown adrenal glands.
It turns out, low cortisol is real, but it’s probably not due to wiped-out or rundown adrenal glands.
For one, viruses.
Viruses want to avoid, evade, and otherwise sabotage their host’s immune system. After all, the more they can undermine, or misdirect, the immune system, the more they can replicate, take over the body, and ultimately survive.
If a virus was an evil supervillain, we might call him ImmunoEvader.
Check out how they do it.
Have you ever told anyone that cortisol is a stress hormone that comes from the adrenal glands?
We have, too, and it turns out we were wrong.
(Worst feeling as a practitioner, ever.)
Let's not make that mistake again.
So, why is it wrong?
Well, for one, it turns out cortisol is made in places OTHER than the adrenal glands. And according to research, in enough quantity to potentially impact total circulating cortisol levels.
In other words, when you test serum cortisol, you don't really know where that cortisol is coming from.
Feeling superior because you only test salivary cortisol?
Not so fast. Salivary samples may be even less likely to measure cortisol coming from your adrenal glands.
So, that nice little story you've been telling your patients? It's not accurate.
What tissues make cortisol?
Well, skin for one. Skin not only makes cortisol, but it ...