What is cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands, which are small glands adjacent to the kidneys. The hormone is released in the body during stress; hence is called the "stress hormone." But cortisol is more than a simple marker of stress levels - it is necessary for the function of almost every part of the body.

Cortisol is synthesized from cholesterol and acts through specific intracellular receptors to affect numerous physiologic systems including immune function, glucose counter regulation, vascular tone, and bone metabolism.

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