Why take the Cortisol Test?
Today, we have to be constantly available, strike a perfect work–life balance, and face growing challenges at work. On top of that, we have countless appointments and stress even when we’re not working. For many of us, this causes the level of the stress hormone cortisol to increase in the long run.
Deviating cortisol levels can be an indication of chronic stress and burnout. But if you know about your cortisol levels, you can take action yourself and adjust your lifestyle. Good sleep, regular exercise, relaxation techniques and stress management programmes often help. This way, you take your health into your own hands and counteract the consequences of unhealthy cortisol fluctuations.
A deficiency or excess of cortisol can also be a sign of a disease. If you detect and treat such a disease at an early stage, you can significantly increase your well-being.
Who should take the Cortisol Test?
With a small straw, which is included in the test kit, collect some saliva into a sample tube. Over the course of one day, fill seven tubes with your saliva. Then send your seven samples in the return envelope to our specialised laboratory.
Please note: You should do the test when you are healthy. Infections such as a cold or flu can affect the results, as can alcohol consumption. Certain medications such as hydrocortisone and corticosteroids will also affect cortisol values. You can find more information on how medicines influence test results in our FAQ.
What does the results report tell me?
You get an overview of your cortisol levels at different times of the day. Cortisol levels are typically highest in the morning and then they continuously decrease until the evening. Learn whether your cortisol values are too high or too low at certain times.
The results report also provides you with typical daily cortisol levels for chronic stress, acute stress and burnout syndrome. You can compare your values with these curves and get an indication of whether you are suffering from too much stress.
What recommendations will I receive?
In the results report, we will provide you with recommendations that you can use to normalise your cortisol levels.
Our recommendations for action include tips on diet, supplements and relaxation techniques.
What is cortisol?
The vital hormone cortisol (also called hydrocortisone) is often called the stress hormone. Our body produces it in the adrenal cortex.
Cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day. It is highest in the morning, then it gradually decreases and reaches its lowest point around midnight.
Why do I need cortisol?
Cortisol is released in stressful situations and when we feel under threat, along with adrenaline. Stress hormones make your body release energy, make you awake and alert, and suppress digestion and the immune system. These factors mean you are optimally equipped for a stressful fight-or-flight situation.
Cortisol has other functions in the body:
– It regulates blood sugar and blood pressure
– It is involved in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism
– It inhibits inflammation – including that caused by other hormones such as adrenaline during a stressful situation
What happens if I have a cortisol deficiency?
If there is too little cortisol in the body, it is often related to a sick kidney. If you have an underactive kidney, your body does not produce enough cortisol. This is called Addison’s disease. Burnout syndrome can also lead to a cortisol deficiency.
Cortisol deficiency symptoms include:
– Weight loss, loss of appetite and gastrointestinal problems
- Dizziness, fatigue and feeling weak
– Depression, irritability and decreased libido
– Hair loss
What are the causes of excess cortisol?
Your cortisol levels rise when you are under pressure. Our ancestors used stress to survive. Stressful situations were usually short-lived, after which our hunter-gatherer ancestors were able to recover.
Today, the demands of the job, family and deadlines leave many people constantly under stress. As a result, our bodies remain in a state of tension. Cortisol levels are constantly too high.
What happens if cortisol levels are too high?
When cortisol levels are too high throughout the day, this is classed as a cortisol excess. Chronic stress is a common reason for this – a body that is always expecting danger and stress also constantly tries to prepare itself for threats with stress hormones.
Other possible causes are pregnancy, severe obesity, depression, Cushing’s disease and alcoholism. Our cortisol levels also increase with age.
Symptoms of excess cortisol include:
– Bone pain and an increased risk of osteoporosis
– High blood pressure
– High blood sugar levels and weight gain
Who should NOT take the Cortisol Test?
The Cortisol Test (Stress Hormone) is not or only partially suitable for certain groups of people:
People with infectious diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, may not use the Cortisol Test.
People with haemophilia should not take the test.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only take the Cortisol Test under medical supervision. The given reference ranges and recommendations do not apply to people in this group; consult your medical professional for advice concerning your test results.
The Cortisol Test is not intended for children under 18 years of age.
The test is not intended for diagnosing illnesses or disease. For example, if you suffer from depression or are in physical pain, consult a doctor.