The Cortisol Awakening Response
IN THIS EPISODE:
Cortisol Awakening Response Test
The Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) is a natural biological process in which the hormone cortisol is released by the adrenal glands upon awakening in the morning. The CAR typically occurs within the first 30-45 minutes after waking and is responsible for preparing the body for the day ahead. The Cortisol Awakening Response Test measures the amount of cortisol in the saliva at awakening. It is used in conjunction with the urine metabolite testing to evaluate response to stress. When used with metabolite testing, it allows you to see the dips and peaks throughout the day to see if there are any imbalances.
Why Timing The Cortisol Awakening Response Matters
The cortisol awakening response is a natural physiological pattern where cortisol levels increase rapidly within 30-45 minutes after waking up in the morning. When testing, it is crucial to test immediately upon awakening, within the first 5 minutes at most. Once a person starts moving around we are no longer going to see the baseline amount. The timing of the cortisol awakening response is critical because it sets the tone for the body’s stress response levels throughout the day. If cortisol levels are not elevated in the morning, it can impact our ability to cope with stressors, increase our risk for diseases, and affect our mood and energy levels for the rest of the day.
The HPA Axis and Blood Sugar Dysregulation
The HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis is a complex neuroendocrine system that regulates the body’s response to stress. When we encounter a stressful situation, the hypothalamus in the brain signals the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which then stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps the body to respond to stress, but chronic stress can cause dysregulation of the HPA axis and lead to various health problems. One of these problems is blood sugar dysregulation, which occurs when cortisol raises blood sugar levels in response to stress. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Read through our FREE Resource Adrenal Guide.
- Get our FREE Guide to Taking a Detailed Health History that gets you to root causes with ease.
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- Watch our recorded Thyroid Adrenal Workshop here.