Cortisol is a corticosteroid, a hormone made in the adrenal cortex from cholesterol. When used as a drug and in substitution therapy in Addison's disease, among others, it is usually called hydrocortisone. Cortisol can be used as an anti-inflammatory in allergic reactions, in lung disease (COPD) and numerous dermatological conditions such as severe forms of eczema.

Cortisol plays a role in:

  • digestion of food
  • sleep-wake rhythm
  • immune system

Cortisol is sometimes called the stress hormone because it is released during any kind of stress, both physical and psychological. It causes certain proteins in muscles to be broken down, releasing amino acids. From these, glucose (energy) can be made. This energy is used to bring the body back to homeostasis; at the moment of stress, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released to make the body more alert and ready to fight/flight. Cortisol ensures that this loss of energy is compensated again. Therefore, a better name would be: "stress-response hormone.

The body's production of cortisol follows a circadian rhythm, meaning that production is not the same at every time of day. During waking, more cortisol is released. Among other things, this causes a feeling of hunger.

There are some (rare) diseases in which cortisol production is disturbed. In Cushing's syndrome, the adrenal gland makes too much cortisol. The cause may be a tumor in the adrenal gland itself or by a tumor in the pituitary gland, which controls the adrenal gland. In Addison's disease, just the opposite is the case and, due to a disorder in the adrenal gland itself, the adrenal gland is unable to produce cortisol, if at all. In very rare cases, there is a disorder in the pituitary gland, so no ACTH is produced and the adrenal gland does not receive a signal to produce cortisol.


Treatment BeterKlinic

BeterKliniek is the clinic for Integrative Medicine that bridges regular and non-regular medicine.

An van Veen (physician) and Michael van Gils (therapist) look for the cause of a condition or disease. That is where the treatment starts otherwise, as people often say, it is 'carrying water to the sea'. We call this cause medicine. Sometimes it is also desirable to treat the symptoms (at the same time). We call this symptom medicine.

Chronic disorders often have their cause in epi- genetics. You can schedule a free informative telephone consultation (phone number 040-7117337 until 1 p.m.) at BeterKliniek to discuss your symptoms so that we can provide you with further advice.