What is Hydrocortisone?
- Steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland
- Belongs to the corticosteroid group or more specifically known as glucocorticoid
- The amount of cortisol released by the adrenal glands is regulated by the pituitary gland inside the brain.
Sufficient levels of cortisol are vital to health and quality of life. In truth, cortisol is said to be the base of the entire endocrine system. If a person does not make enough cortisol, their quality of life is low. They also cannot tolerate or benefit from the maximization of their thyroid, estrogen, DHEA or even testosterone levels.
By trying to help patients with fatigue and pain with natural methods and by performing saliva testing for cortisol levels, Dr. Lindner from the hormonerestoration.com has learned that partial cortisol insufficiency is normal, especially among women. Women tend to have lower cortisol levels or effects and responses than men do. Cortisol deficiency is associated with high incidence of fatigue, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases in women.
Indeed many studies showed a hypoactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system in people with these problems. Studies also revealed that the SSRI anti-depressants act upon the brain to increase ACTH production and cortisol levels. This is one reason why they alleviate so many different kinds of symptoms, and also why it is so hard to stop taking them (cortisol withdrawal). In fact, many drugs of abuse have been shown to increase cortisol levels including amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, nicotine, and even caffeine! This fact is, no doubt, one reason that these drugs are so addictive especially to persons with low cortisol levels and why stopping these drugs is so difficult.
What are the functions of Hydrocortisone in the body?
- Maintains blood sugar level along with insulin
- Needed for the proper absorption and use of carbohydrates, protein and fat
- Maintains healthy blood pressure levels and circulation
- Helps the body heal from illness and infection.
- Stress management
What are the symptoms of Hydrocortisone deficiency?
- Changes in your blood pressure or heart rate
- Chronic diarrhea
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and its symptoms
Cortisone deficiency, a primary aspect of conditions such as Addison's disease, may cause numerous potentially serious side effects.
What causes Hydrocortisone deficiency?
- Malfunctioning or removal of adrenal glands
- Malfunctioning pituitary gland for not producing ACTH, hormone responsible for the secretion of cortisol in the body
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). CAH causes a blockage within the adrenal glands so they do not allow cortisol to be produced.
Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK, also reports that the adrenal glands can stop producing cortisol because there are enough steroids in the body. In such conditions, the steroids should be withdrawn slowly to give the adrenal glands a chance to 'wake up' and start producing cortisol again.
Along with the natural hormone that is produced in the adrenal cortex, it is also possible to utilize synthetic supplements in order to treat several different medical conditions.
Hydrocortisone is taken as a replacement when the natural hormone is deficient either due to primary failure or insufficiency of hydrocortisone production by the adrenal cortex gland (Addison's Disease) or adrenal failure or insufficiency results from a pituitary deficiency of ACTH (the hormone that stimulates production of Hydrocortisone by the adrenal gland).
Replacement therapy is also required for people who have a congenital adrenal hyperplasia (a birth defect) or in cases where surgical removal of the gland (adrenalectomy) has been performed.
Hydrocortisone is similar to the body's natural hormone and works in many parts of the body to decrease inflammation. These medications are often needed when the body is not producing enough of its own hormone to keep things in balance.
The hormone is also found in a number of over-the-counter medications developed to alleviate muscle pain and inflammation.
Some of the conditions treated with corticosteroids (hydrocortisone) include
- Skin disorders - such as psoriasis
- Inflammatory diseases - such as asthma, ulcerative colitis, lupus and some forms of arthritis
- Cancer - particularly cancers related to the immune system, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
- Organ transplant - corticosteroids are used to inhibit the body's immune response so that a transplanted organ is not rejected
- Addison's disease - an autoimmune disorder that stops the adrenal glands from making sufficient hormones, including cortisol.
Cortisone (produced by the body, but also manufactured for use as a treatment) is used to manage rather than treat Addison's disease by replacing the cortisol naturally produced by the body. This may also occur in the management of pituitary disease. The dose required is much lower than the other examples above.
However, if taken at high doses or for a prolonged period of time, this treatment can have a number of side effects, including osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). Therefore, doctors shall prescribe hydrocortisone at lowest effective dose for their patients and monitor their patients accordingly.
- Hydrocortisone vegetable capsules
What are the benefits of Hydrocortisone supplementation?
- Improves mood and energy
- Better mental functioning
- Increased sleep quality
- Increased ability in handling physical and emotional stress.
- Helps in allergies and autoimmune diseases.