Synthetic Cortisol; Does It Cause Or Reduce Inflammation?
Posted Aug 25 2008 3:41pm
I feel sorry for cortisol. It's such a misunderstood hormone.
We bicker over its role in health, including whether it causes or reduces inflammation in the body. Amongst Lyme-disease sufferers, this question seems to be particularly important when it comes to administering synthetic cortisol to a cortisol-deficient Lymie.
For those to whom synthetic cortisol has given life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this hormone can do no wrong. They are right to praise the hormone, as its functions are literally life-giving. They would die without cortisol. They would not function properly without cortisol.
However, too much of anything is not a good thing, and among other problems, too much cortisol does cause inflammation in the body, as any excess of this hormone weakens the immune system. And, as regulation of synthetic hormone is dependant upon a physician's discernment rather than the wisdom of one's internal mechanisms, there may be a tendency to overdose on the hormone and subsequently overinflame the body.
Conversely, those who have been hurt by synthetic cortisol or who have learned about its potential to harm the body when it's secreted or administered in excess, tend to view the hormone as strictly inflammatory. They have experienced such inflammation first-hand when stressed or after having taken a dose of hydrocortisone and know that this hormone can indeed damage the body.
But they misunderstand its role, too. They don't realize that a deficiency can also cause inflammation, as ironically, one of cortisol's functions is to tell the body not to overdo inflammation when it is under physiological stress. Too much inflammation causes destruction of the body's cells, and by reducing the body's "normal" inflammatory response, cortisol helps the body to minimize cellular damage.
Hence, cortisol is both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory. It can heal or harm, and for this reason, it is a hormone that deserves our utmost respect, especially when it is artificially administered in the cortisol-deficient Lyme disease sufferer.