Adrenal glands produce many hormones in our body, and out of these hormones an important role is played by the stress hormone cortisol, in regulating our immune system. If cortisol levels in our body fluctuate, then it can result in chronic inflammation, regular infections, and autoimmune allergies or diseases. To ensure that our body stays healthy, we need to maintain a balanced level of cortisol.
Reducing inflammation in our body is one of the major functions performed by cortisol. Whenever our body confronts a pathogen, its immune system reacts immediately and attacks the pathogen. This results in inflammation, which is often considered as a good thing for us as it means that our immune system is working properly. In individuals who have healthy immune and endocrine systems, the inflammation caused by the response of an immune system is moderated by cortisol, but it might not get success in eliminating it completely.
During the different stages of Adrenal Fatigue, levels of cortisol become imbalanced. As a matter of fact, the levels of cortisol in an individual will largely depend on the stage of illness he or she has reached. Along with norepinephrine and epinephrine, cortisol levels of an individual are likely to be elevated, if he or she is still in the early stages. The cortisol levels will be much lower, if the individual is in the later stages of Adrenal Fatigue. Both of these results are not beneficial for the immune system.
- Elevated Cortisol
The HPA axis work heavily and produces lots of stress hormones during the early stages of adrenal fatigue. This clearly implies that the levels of cortisol have become high, which results in suppressing the immune system and reducing the inflammation. Nowadays, stressors remain for a long time and are entrenched, clearly implying that levels of cortisol can stay elevated for months or years. It’s obvious that because of a suppressed immune system we will be more vulnerable to diseases. People who are under stress for a quite long time are more inclined to suffer too much from bacterial infections, as well as cold and flu viruses.
- Lowered Cortisol
Many people have a wrong assumption that if high cortisol is bad for their immune systems, then lower levels of cortisol will be a good thing. Not really! If cortisol falls below the required level, then there’s a chance that the immune system starts over-reacting to threats. In the later stages, the adrenal glands become tired and fail to generate the hormones needed by your body. The body of the person suffering from adrenal Fatigue quickly switches from having too much content to little amount of cortisol. Low cortisol may also result in an over-activation of the inflammation and immune system.