This is a 24-hour saliva cortisol rhythm assessment, which includes:
Abnormal adrenal function can alter the ability of cells to produce energy for the activities of daily life. People who have a hard time rising in the morning, or who suffer from low energy throughout the day, often have abnormal adrenal rhythms and poor blood sugar regulation.
The maintenance of a stable blood sugar level depends on food choice, lifestyle, adrenal function, and insulin activity. The Adrenal Stress Index panel measures stress hormones and insulin, to help clarify the causes of fatigue, cravings, and obesity.
Various immune cells (white blood cells) cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow. The immune system trafficking follows the cortisol cycle. If the cycle is disrupted, especially at night, then the immune system is adversely affected. Short and long-term stress is known to suppress the immune response in the lungs, throat, urinary tract, and intestines. With lowered levels of mucosal antibodies (secretory IgA), our resistance to infection is reduced and allergic reactions may increase.
Human skin regenerates mostly during the night. With higher night cortisol values, less skin regeneration takes place. Therefore a normal cortisol rhythm is essential for optimal skin health.
Abnormal adrenal rhythms are known to compromise tissue healing. Reduced tissue repair and increased tissue breakdown can lead to muscle and joint wasting with chronic pain.
The adrenal rhythm determines how well we build bone. If the night and morning cortisol levels are elevated, our bones do not rebuild well, and we are more prone to osteoporosis. Stress is the enemy of the bones. In postmenopausal women, the effect of stress worsens due to the naturally lower levels of female hormones.
More than fifty years ago, Dr. Jefferies (author of Safe Uses of Cortisol) discovered that patients with environmentally triggered allergies and autoimmune diseases dramatically improved when given cortisol for other purposes. More recently, German researchers reported that disruption of the adrenal axis and cytokine relationships lead to predisposition and aggravation of autoimmune diseases.
The ASI panel can help identify patients with autoimmune diseases and adrenal problems who may improve with cortisol support.
The ability to enter REM sleep cycles and to experience regenerative sleep are interrupted by high cortisol values at night and in the morning. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce a person’s mental vitality, vigor, and induce depression.
The level of cortisol at the cell level controls thyroid hormone production. Often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body temperature are due to an adrenal maladaptation.
Chronic hypoglycemia can impair normal adrenal function by repetitive overstimulation of cortisol production. Recurring exposure to high cortisol will impair insulin activity and invariably lead to insulin resistance and beta-cell exhaustion (diabetes).
The ASI panel investigates the insulin-cortisol relationship under real-life conditions to allow targeted and meaningful interventions. This panel is useful in the following clinical situations: rapid weight gain and obesity, imbalanced blood lipids, sugar blues, early diabetes, and associated emotional disturbances.
Several recent publications report a hyperactive HPA axis in depressed patients. Elevated midnight salivary cortisol is now considered one of the best tests in diagnosing endogenous depression. Other anomalies in cortisol rhythm usually accompany the midnight elevation. On the other hand, cortisol elevations and rhythm disruptions throughout the day are typical of attention deﬁcit disorders (ADD).
The anomalous cortisol ﬁndings in depression and ADD can be diagnosed successfully with the ASI panel. Subsequent interventions to rectify speciﬁc cortisol elevations (during the day or night) are usually effective when applied under proper supervision.