What Wibe Wagemans and Ioana Bina MD PhD FACG’s Cortisol: The Master Hormone – Improve Your Health, Weight, Fertility, Menopause, Longevity, and Reduce Stress might not have in terms of literary subtlety, it more than makes up for in terms of information. There’s this sense Wagemans and Bina write with an almost urgent sense – relaying everything they can in bell-clear, eloquent prose spelling the facts and concepts out from A to Z. “Measuring your cortisol is as close to a healthcare silver bullet as you can get,” they proclaim, at the beginning of the read. “Until now, checking cortisol in real time was practically impossible. You saw a doctor to get a blood, saliva or a 24-hour urine test.
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The sample was sent to a lab and underwent analysis. Days or weeks later, you received a result that typically gave you a single data point. Getting only one measurement is like measuring your heartbeat for one second. Our cortisol varies widely throughout the day and has a circadian – or waking/sleeping – pattern with broad health implications. To appreciate the powerful role cortisol plays, we need a more nuanced, more comprehensive picture of its behavior in the body throughout the day.” They use this opportunity to introduce the groundbreaking health app Wagemans and Bina developed to address accurate monitoring of cortisol levels, while continuing to simultaneously highlight the facts the app addresses and highlights with its calculations.
“Measuring cortisol is not just for athletes,” Wagemans and Bina write, in aforementioned vein. “You’ll see what we’ve learned about the effect of cortisol on everyone’s hormones, brain function, blood pressure, bones, gut, appetite, weight, sleep patterns, immune system, and longevity. We’ll help you gain insight into the impact of cortisol on women’s health, especially during the years of fertility, pregnancy, and menopause. We’ll help you understand the effect of cortisol on health, particularly in regard to obesity. By now you have already used a phone app to hail a taxi, take a photo, check the weather, text your kids or friends, learn a language, set an alarm, listen to a podcast, buy groceries, and pay for coffee. Gauging the status of your cortisol levels – and other biomarkers – should be just as easy as tapping an app for every other necessity in your life.”
These guys might not be ones for not mincing words, but in this case, that’s a good thing. With the way they write, they come across as wholly knowledgable, thorough, and assuring. “In short, hormonal signaling across the HPA axis with increased CRH levels results in elevated cortisol in healthy individuals, and a maladaptive behavior with a blunted response, especially in the morn‐ ing, in individuals with chronic depression or burnout,” they write, regarding a specific process. “Typically, however, low cortisol levels are associated with anxiety, PTSD, and burnout in people who have survived all kinds of super-high-stress situations.
Low cortisol levels have also been found in the children of people who experienced trauma and chronic depression. In her evaluation of 187 pregnant women who had been in the area of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, for example, psychiatrist Rachel Yehuda and her team at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York found that some of the women had developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — as well as low levels of cortisol.” In short, you are your everything. Don’t take it for granted.