Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is predominantly produced in the adrenal gland. It is widely known as the body’s stress hormone, but also influences various other functions throughout the body. Cortisol receptors are present on most cells throughout the body; therefore cortisol is able to influence nearly every organ system. Cortisol is released in response to low blood sugar and stress. It helps to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis (synthesis of ‘new’ glucose), and is involved in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also suppresses the immune system and inflammatory response, helps control blood pressure, is involved in memory formation, and decreases bone formation.
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