What, exactly, does cortisol do that lowers inflammation?
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid or steroid hormone and provides the body with glucose by tapping into protein stores via the process of gluconeogenesis in the liver.
Coritsol is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney.
Cortisol functions to reduce inflammation in the body. While this is a good thing, over time, these efforts to reduce inflammation also suppress the immune system.
Chronic inflammation, caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and stress, helps to keep cortisol levels soaring, wreaking havoc on the immune system. An unchecked immune system responding to unabated inflammation can lead to several problems:
- An increased susceptibility to colds and other illnesses
- An increased risk of cancer
- A tendency to develop food allergies
- An increased risk of an assortment of gastrointestinal issues (because a healthy intestine is dependent on a healthy immune system)
- A possibility of an increased risk of autoimmune disease.