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.

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.

For more information go to endocrinediseases.org: http://endocrinediseases.org/adrenal/cushings.shtml

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.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.