A question I always ask my clients in an initial consult is
“How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?”
The answer to this can give me such great insight into a persons cortisol levels.
You see, your cortisol levels should be at their highest in the morning. According to The Sonic Pathology Handbook, your blood cortisol levels should be tested between 8-10am. Personally, I think they would be at its peak between 6-8am. But not all pathology clinics are open at that time are they?
So it makes a lot of sense when you see kids in the morning, that they can rise out of bed and are full of beans. This is because their cortisol levels are performing at an optimal range.
Cortisol is released from your adrenals and is usually released when we need a burst of energy or is called upon to assist in an inflammatory response. All hormones have a time when their levels are either the highest or lowest. So when cortisol is behaving correctly, it will slowly decrease as the day progresses and be at its lowest at night time when you are ready for bed.
But if I ask someone when their best time of the day is, and they say at night…..well this can give me an indication that their cortisol levels may be unbalanced.
Testing your blood cortisol levels can give a brief snap shot of how your adrenals are functioning, your overall energy levels and whether you need a boost or something to calm. This is extremely important to consider in naturopathy treatment. If cortisol levels are not tested and you might think that your client needs an energy boost (but in actual fact they might have extremely high levels), your treatment protocol will send them through the roof!
The ideal blood cortisol ranges are:
Collection between 8-10am
Random sample 130-650 nmol/L
Early morning 160-650 nmol/L
If you have received an unusually high reading you may need to consider the following:
Were you feeling rushed before the blood test?
Were you stressed at the time of the blood test?
Did you exercise prior to your blood test?
Some prescription medication may also give you a high level of cortisol too.
To give you a even bigger picture of your cortisol levels you can also have a saliva cortisol test. This can be done in the comfort of your own home and tests the unbound levels of cortisol. This test can be performed as soon as you wake up (yep, in your jarmies in bed), and another test can be done later in the day to check if there has been a decline.
By understanding your cortisol you can support it in two ways:
Boost- Siberian ginseng & Korean ginseng
Reduce- Phosphotidlyserine, Nervous system support- B vitamins, calming herbs
Adrenal Support- Licorice, Rhiodola, Withania, Vitamin C, Rehmmania
If you would like to know what your cortisol levels are and see if your adrenals need support; fill out the contact form below.