The results of my research into Cortisol were somewhat surprising. We at DietSpotlight spent some time writing a detailed review, scrutinizing the side effects, ingredients, scientific research and overall customer care. We also dug deep and read hundreds of customer comments that are posted online. Lastly, we compressed all of the facts and responses we found to give you the information you need.
1. What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced in the cortex of the human adrenal glands. It is a member of the glucocorticoids hormones and its functions include controlling the immune system, metabolism and stress levels. 
Cortisol taken as a medication is known as hydrocortisone and performs the exact same functions. 
Popularly referred to as the ‘stress hormone’ the functions of cortisol extend far beyond that, controlling blood sugar levels, weight, blood pressure and diuretic functions.
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2. How Did Cortisol Get Started?
Cortisol, as a hormone, was discovered by Nobel Prize winners Edward Kendall, Tadeus Reichstein and Philip Hench in 1930. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discovery of the hormone that had a great effect on stress in 1950.
Hydrocortisone, cortisol in medicine form, was first discovered in 1950, granting ailing patients with low levels of cortisol to supplement their natural production. The discovery of cortisol then furthered research into the relationship between cortisol and stress in the human body.
3. Ingredients Of Cortisol And Composition
Cortisol is composed of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen in different concentrations. The chemical formula for cortisol is C21H30O5.
4. Benefits Of Cortisol
Cortisol is a far-reaching hormone with a number of different functions. Cortisol is responsible for controlling or regulating the following bodily functions. 
Cortisol kicks into action during a fasting period and breaks down glucose for use during such periods.
• Immune Response
Cortisol prevents the production of certain chemicals in the body that would otherwise lead to inflammation or swelling. Cortisol also greatly reduces the allergic responses in an individual exposed to allergens.
• Increases Blood Pressure
• Increases Blood Sugar Levels
When under stress, cortisol triggers a breakdown of protein, leaving the body with energy to escape the stress causing events.
• Diuretic Function
Cortisol increases the passing of extra water in the body and as such increases the absorption of nutrients, especially sodium.
5. Types Of Cortisol
Cortisol is available in different forms depending on what ailment it is being used to treat. The hormone comes in the following forms:
Creams. Cortisol can be used in a cream form to treat skin conditions or contains that are not internal. Cortisol can be purchased over the counter to treat the following conditions:
- Skin Rashes
- Bites and Stings
Ointments cortisol in this form is usually much lighter and thinner than creams due to the mixture of oil and water. Cortisol ointments are used to treat the following ailments and conditions.
- Skin reactions
Tablets. Cortisol is available in tablet form. This is usually used to treat chronic conditions or ailments that are not manifested on the skin or scalp. The use of cortisol tablets is common in patients suffering from any of the following ailments:
- Allergic Reactions
- Addison’s Disease
- Adrenal Gland Disorders
There are also a variety of capsules and tablets intended to reduce cortisol levels.
Cortisol Foam. Hydrocortisone foam is a specially formulated substance usually applied to the rectal region to treat painful inflammations like:
- Ulcerative Colitis
Cortisol Injections. This entails directly introducing the hormone into the bloodstream via the needle. The hormone is directly injected into the site of the injury or swelling and it is usually employed for this purpose by athletes who seek to reduce swelling and bruising.
Besides sports injuries, cortisol injections are also used to treat:
6. How Does Cortisol Work?
Cortisol can be described as a miracle hormone, regulating numerous bodily functions. What is cortisol? And what exactly is cortisol function in human anatomy?
The adrenal glands, a set of organs close to the kidney produces the body’s supply of natural occurring cortisol.
However, due to some illnesses, a person may not be able to produce enough cortisol for the body to perform optimally and that is when hydrocortisone comes into play. Cortisol/hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid that influences numerous bodily functions.
Cortisol, for instance, affects the immune, respiratory, excretory, endocrinal, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. This wide range of influence makes it a necessity in the body, and low cortisol levels will lead to a less than the optimal response on bodily functions. 
Cortisol decreases swelling or inflammation by preventing leukocytes (the white blood cells that fight infections) from reaching the area of the injury or reaction.
By reducing the swelling or preventing further inflammation, cortisol improves the speed of recovery from the same injury. In treating cancer, cortisol shrinks the swelling caused by malignant tumors, thereby easing the pressure the tumor may have been asserting on nearby organs or nerves. 
Cortisol reduces itchiness and redness due to reactions, bites, and stings by changing the immune system’s response to such activities. The body fails to take defensive measures it would normally engage due to the regulation of the applied cortisol. It should be noted, that during use of cortisol or hydrocortisone, patients are more prone to infections due to the immunosuppressive nature of the medication.
7. Cortisol And Weight
Cortisol has been linked to weight gain by scientists. High levels of naturally occurring cortisol or excessive, unregulated use of the medicine have been shown to cause a significant increase in the production of insulin.
Insulin, which then breaks down the body’s glucose content rapidly, leaves the body with extremely low glucose content. The fatigue or tiredness caused by such low levels of sugar correlates with the immediate need to consume high caloric foods with excessive sugar content. 
Abnormal cortisol levels will also deplete the production of testosterone, significant for muscle development, leading to a suction in muscle content in the body. A loss of muscle content finishes the body’s ability to burn excess fat and calories. Stress levels caused by a spike in cortisol will also send wrong signals to the nervous system, indicating an exertion of calories to ease the stressful encounter despite the opposite being the case.
A lot of products are advertised as cortisol blockers but there is no research backing the claims of such products. Controlling the body’s cortisol level requires a lifestyle change to reduce stress and by implication make weight loss easier.
8. Brands Of Cortisol
Cortisol or Hydrocortisone is recognized by the United Nations as an essential medication that should be readily available to all individuals in need of the same.
By implication, there are a lot of brands selling the generic cortisol under their specific branding with varying concentrations of the active ingredient. The brands of cortisol available presently are:
- Ala-Scalp HP
- Anusol HC
- Aquanil HC
- Beta HC
- Corticool Maximum Strength
- Dermasorb HC Complete Kit
- Hydrozone Plus
- Ivy Soothe
9. Ailments Treated With Cortisol
Cortisol has proven to be quite effective in the treatment of the following ailments. The effects of the medication are significant and so cortisol is either used as a primary or supporting therapy in the following illnesses or conditions.
Individuals with asthma take cortisol upon the onset of an asthma attack to significantly reduce the manifestation of the symptoms. The attack is contained after the use of cortisol.
Taking advantage of the anti-inflammatory property of cortisol, it is a recommended solution, rather than just be getting out of prison for assault and capable of eating allergic reactions. The body’s natural inflammatory response is temporarily altered by cortisol and thus prevents further aggravation of the symptoms.
Skin Conditions (Dermatitis, eczema, rashes, psoriasis)
By suppressing the immune system’s response to a localized particular area, cortisol is able to keep certain skin conditions in check as itching and further flaring up is eliminated.
Cortisol and other corticosteroids are employed in the fight against cancer due to their specific bodily functions and responses. Leukemia and lymphoma are usually treated with corticosteroids as a complementary treatment to chemotherapy. Allergic reactions are prevented by the anti-inflammatory properties of cortisol/hydrocortisone.
10. Cortisol And Stress
Cortisol is known as the ‘stress hormone’ because its levels are usually indicative of the individual’s state of calmness or anxiety.
A stressed individual has a higher cortisol level than a person who is relaxed. Increased cortisol levels lead to a myriad of wide-ranging medical conditions, not restricted to a singular aspect of the human anatomy. Stress can lead to chronic depression and other mental illnesses, problems with recalling memories, skeletal and muscular problems, and blood pressure issues.
Getting one’s cortisol levels at the proper levels is paramount for a good quality of life. Individuals should have at least one cortisol test every few months to ensure the hormone levels are at healthy values. If the values are out of order, such a person either considers natural cortisol blockers for high cortisol levels or cortisol supplements if dealing with a low cortisol level. 
11. Managing Low Cortisol Levels
Low cortisol levels are usually caused by the adrenal glands inability to produce the body’s daily need for cortisol due to a number of reasons.
The most common ailment that results in the body failing to produce sufficient cortisol is Addison’s disease. The ailment sometimes referred to as an acute adrenal crisis, is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment The symptoms of a low cortisol level includes the following: 
- Fatigue and Extreme Tiredness
- Muscle Weakness and Loss of Definition
- Dangerously Low Blood Pressure
- Night Chills
- Abdominal Pain
- Abnormal Heart Rate
- Sharp, Sudden Pain in Back of Legs
These symptoms are usually indicative of Addison’s disease or, at the very least, an impaired adrenal gland. A cortisol test will eliminate such fest and can be conducted by verifies medical practitioners.
The causes of such a condition can be traced to extremely stressful events on the glands– an accident, infection or injury to the gland.
An Addisonian crisis is a further worsening of the cortisol levels. The crisis occurs when an individual with already low cortisol levels, experiences orbits placed in a stressful environment. The nature of Addisonian crisis entails an immediate refurbishing of the body’s cortisol levels otherwise it could become worsened.
An Addisonian disease and crisis usually affect the same compromised individuals. The following factors predispose an individual to an acute adrenal crisis:
- Extended use of synthetic steroids like prednisolone
- Adrenal Tumors
- Severe and Chronic Infections.
- Blood Thinners triggering Adrenal Bleeding
- Past Surgery on Adrenal Glands
After determining what exactly caused low cortisol level, the doctor will normally prescribe an injection of hydrocortisone to be injected either intramuscularly or intravenously. Tablets, suppositories, creams, ointments, and hydrocortisone foam are also prescribed, depending on what symptoms or ailments a person is experiencing.
12. Managing High Cortisol Levels
If a person suspects that he or she has high cortisol levels, a cortisol test should be conducted by a medical practitioner.
A high cortisol level is usually indicative of Cushing’s syndrome, caused by a spike in the level of glucocorticoids in the body, of which cortisol is a member. The symptoms of Cushing’s develop over an extended period of time and as such should only be diagnosed after sufficient testing and monitoring. 
The symptoms of high cortisol levels include the following:
- Uncontrolled Weight Gain
- Abnormal Facial Hair Growth in Women
- High Blood Pressure
- Muscle Weakness and Loss of Definition
- Back Aches
- Mood Swings
- Low Libido
- Unregular Menstrual Cycle
- Bone Weakness
- Susceptibility to Infections
- Stunted Growth in Children
- Facial Swelling
- Stretch Marks
These symptoms should all be reported to a doctor if noticed in order to get a definite diagnosis and ensure the right treatment plans begin immediately. The causes of a high cortisol level are going to be listed out below
This is a noncancerous growth in the pituitary gland. The tumor produces ACTH which is a hormone that causes the adrenal glands to work in overdrive, producing much more cortisol than the body actually needs. 80% of patients with Cushing’s syndrome have this being growth.
Benign Growth In Adrenal Glands
A growth in the adrenal gland is liable to causing excess cortisol production by the gland. This growth is most times noncancerous and can be treated with medication. Cancerous growths in the adrenal glands are very rare and regular check-ups must be carried out to prevent this.
Excessive Steroid Medication
Taking medications that are of a similar nature to hydrocortisone in excessive amounts can lead to a rise in the level of cortisol in the body.
Uncontrolled Stress And Depression
Treatments for high cortisol levels are as follows:
A pituitary adenoma, a chief cause of high cortisol levels, can be removed by surgery. The doctor decides on the necessity of the surgery, the procedure is a relatively safe and effective one. After the surgery, low cortisol levels will be experienced and hydrocortisone must be administered for an extended period of time to manage the levels. Surgery can also be carried out to remove the adrenal glands if they have been compromised
The adenoma can be targeted using radiation. This treatment is carried out over months or even year but the success rate is high.
Certain drugs act as a cortisol blocker. These drugs are decided by doctors depending on your exact needs and disposition. Taking medication as a cortisol manager can be very effective as long as the dosage is followed.
13. How To Take Cortisol
After being prescribed a treatment of cortisol to treat a medical condition, the application must be done in a manner that ensures fast-acting relief.
Taking cortisol is dependent on the type of medication you have been prescribed.
The following types of cortisol are taken:
Cortisol tablets can be taken with water and should be taken with a meal. It is recommended to take cortisol tablets with a milk to prevent an upset stomach. Your doctor will ask for your medical history, recent surgeries, allergies and reactions before prescribing a dose to you. Cortisol tablets are usually taken on a daily dosage.
Cortisol injection can be administered intravenously or intramuscularly depending on the treatment plan. Intravenous injections get released into the bloodstream directly and have a faster effect than intramuscular injections.
Creams, Ointment, and Lotion
This is usually applied directly to the affected region. Usually, these types of treatments take a week to have the desired effect and afterward should be discarded.
14. Side Effects Of Cortisol
Cortisol medication can be very beneficial but the side effects are also to be noted. The most commonly reported side effect is a relationship between cortisol and weight gain, and a proneness to opportunistic infections while on the medication. Discontinue medication if you notice any of the following symptoms. 
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Weight gain
- Abnormal menstrual cycle
- Excessive hair growth
- Difficulties sleeping
- Blurred vision
- Swollen ankles or joints
- Dark or bloodstained fecal matter
- Chronic infections
- Dizziness and fainting spells
15. Cortisol Lawsuits
In 2005 the Federal Government brought charges against the makers of Cortislim and Cortistress, medications advertised as a cortisol manager for weight loss and disease prevention. The Federal Trade Commission sued for false advertisement, claiming that the medication had no factual or research backing it claims.
The manufacturers, Pinnacle Marketing Concepts, Inc. and Window Rock Enterprises, Inc. agreed to a settlement of $4.5million for their false, unsubstantiated claims of medicine efficacy and functions. 
16. Alternatives To Cortisol
Olive oil, Vitamins supplements, and exercising are great ways to manage the body’s cortisol levels without medication. 
What Users Are Saying
“I don’t normally do reviews but I actually am feeling alot better. Ive been using this for a little under 2 months. I have more energy & was shocked to see I lost 8lbs. I have been stuck at the same weight forever no matter what I tried. This actually is giving me the boost I need. Definitely going to stay on it!”
“Tried for a month, no change. My abnormally low cortisol levels were the same. I have ordered a second bottle and hope things will improve.”
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“Not great. Did notice a little energy boost at first then nothing. One thing that concerned me is the pills changed color from a different bottle.”
17. The Bottom Line – Does Cortisol Work?
So, should you buy Cortisol? Well, first off, we like that this diet product is easy to purchase online and it can be taken anywhere, which is convenient. On the other hand, we have some reservations because it’s not supported by actual science. Furthermore, we’re leery about this diet pill because of the negative user reviews we found posted on the web.
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