Cortisol is an incredibly important hormone. Not only does it keep us alive, but it’s responsible for managing our stress response as well as our immune system and inflammation processor. It’s therefore a crucial factor in our energy levels, moods, and productivity.

While cortisol is produced constantly in the body (by the adrenal glands at the top of each kidney) this is ramped up when we get stressed, which is why it’s named the “stress hormone”. This is not necessarily a bad thing; we need this hormone to function. However, it’s important for our health that it’s produced in a steady pattern throughout the day, with higher levels in the morning and lower levels during the evening.

This explains why chronically stressed people have generally unhealthier lives, as they produce more cortisol than normal and at times when they could do without it, like bedtime, which impacts much-needed rest. Moreover, fluctuating cortisol levels over long periods can lead to the development of illnesses such as diabetes and digestive problems.

Arguably cortisol’s biggest role is “glucose management” where it controls blood sugar production. The dynamic at play here means a dysfunctional blood sugar will cause cortisol dysfunction and vice versa. As one can’t be efficiently managed without the other, both cortisol and blood sugar levels need to be addressed for treatment to be successful. This is why nutrition is vital for stress prevention and integrating good sleeping habits, physical activity, and de-stressing routines, daily, are crucial for a healthy lifestyle.

You can read more about how to manage your blood sugar here.