Issues Related to Unregulated Cortisol

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Interviewer: When we talk about lowering cortisol, is sleep the major factor; sleep problems, insomnia; is that the big problem when you have cortisol that's not regulated?

Bradley Bush, ND: You know, cortisol, when you have elevated cortisol, there's a number of symptoms you can have. Most people acknowledge that insomnia and sleep difficulty is one of main reasons why you want to lower cortisol. And you know what? We see that, ourselves, in individuals that have altered circadian rhythms. So instead of having a high cortisol in the morning when you wake up, you're supposed to lose about 50% of that level by about mid-day. And then it's pretty much supposed to poop out to almost nothing in the evening.

But unfortunately, in mid-stage adrenal fatigue, you start damaging these cortisol receptors that provide feedback to actually lower the cortisol. So instead of actually bottoming out and lowering at nighttime, it actually spikes up. And then, of course, just like with anybody, if you don't sleep well for one or two nights, what happens at nighttime right before bed? You get anxious.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Bradley Bush, ND: Because now you're worried you might not sleep. And therefore, cortisol spikes. And so now taking a product to help lower cortisol can definitely help with that sleep problem. And then, likewise, elevated cortisol is also a problem for a lot of behavioral issues. People who are a little too hyper during the day might have elevated cortisol. Children with attention issues often can have high cortisol, especially if they're teenagers with attention issues. Individuals with anxiousness and anxiety throughout the day, their cortisol levels might be elevated. And so, it's another tool to help in resetting cortisol.

But, of course, remember cortisol is only the endgame. There's a whole system put in place to actually trigger cortisol release, manage the stress, to help reduce the initiation of that system. And so, many of these people with adrenal fatigue, yeah, they have adrenal fatigue; they have altered cortisol levels. Why? Because their neurotransmitters are out of balance, causing their nervous system to be out of balance, and them to be more hyper-reactive to perceived stress. And I say perceived stress, because stress in itself comes in many different forms and shapes.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Bradley Bush, ND: And I myself, when I see a spider, I don't get scared by a spider. But my wife will shriek and scream to the point where I think there's a home invader.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Bradley Bush, ND: And I come running in my fight-and-flight reaction to help her, which I end up fighting, help her rid the house of a spider. So it's a perceived stress.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Bradley Bush, ND: Stress can come from emotional stress, physical stress, biochemical stress, a multitude of places.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.
If you're cortisol isn't properly regulated throughout the day, you could be suffering from a number of conditions, including sleep issues. Dr. Bradley Bush discusses cortisol, how it functions in the body and what happens when it's not at optimal levels.

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