What are the side effects of excessive cortisol?

Alan Christianson, ND
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Cortisol is our stress hormone; excessive levels can lead to weight gain and related risk factors (diabetes), bone thinning and a higher risk of anxiety. Watch naturopathic doctor Alan Christianson, ND, explain why too much cortisol can be harmful.
Cortisol is a steriod hormone produced by the adrenal gland that controls the blood sugar levels, aids in metabolism and suppresses the immune system when necessary. Excessive levels of cortisol in the body can destroy good bacteria in the body.

Too much cortisol, known as Cushing’s syndrome, can have unwanted side effects in the form of obesity, diabetes, muscle weakness and breakdown, change in distribution of fat in the body (skinny arms and legs, big belly), thin skin, striae (purple lines on the abdomen similar to stretch marks), and brittle bones leading to osteoporosis and fractures. Depression, memory problems, and cataracts can also result from excess cortisol. Growth and puberty can be interrupted in children. Females can have difficulty getting pregnant. People with too much cortisol are also at increased risk for infection and may not heal wounds well.

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