The truth about cortisol: Is it really as important as everyone says?

Cortisol: one part of a bigger picture.

Severe cortisol dysregulation is certainly possible. This is called Cushing’s syndrome, when the body overproduce’s cortisol, or Addison’s disease. However, these are relatively rare.

For most of us struggling with stressful lives, ‘mildly elevated cortisol’ would be the more common truth. This certainly has many flow-on impacts, but it is a piece of a larger puzzle.

All of this to say? You are not broken.

Mildly elevated cortisol levels can usually be addressed by going back to the basics.

Cortisol: two sides of the same coin.

The good:

In acute situations, cortisol is essential. It helps us focus, have immune resilience and challenge ourselves in the gym. It’s an energiser, motivator and go-getter.

The not so good:

If cortisol stays high for a prolonged period of time, we can run into trouble with fatigue, immunity, brain function and, sometimes, weight.

Knowing your own body:

Variations in cortisol levels don’t happen spontaneously. It’s a response.

Doing activities that increase cortisol (like HIIT training) aren’t inherently bad. In fact, they can be extremely helpful.

But here’s the catch…

If you’re already leading a non-stop life, aren’t fuelling your body well, aren’t getting enough downtime, then of course anything extra is going to tip the balance.

How to test if you suspect you might have a cortisol issue:


The DUTCH test is the most comprehensive way to evaluate nervous system function, as it assesses both free and metabolised cortisol levels.

The test shows stored cortisol levels, active cortisol and unused cortisol. It is taken via urine sample multiple times during the day to gain reliable data.

We offer the DUTCH test at the BePure Clinic for clients who would like to get a gauge on their stress levels, stress-associated conditions, adrenal function and overall nervous system function.

Want to find out more? Book a free 20 minute discovery call with one of our clinicians here.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. We are all unique, for your individual health concerns it is important to discuss these with a BePure Holistic Health Consultant or relevant health professional.