The adrenal glands are two little glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They are responsible for the release of many hormones including cortisol. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid steroid hormone that is released in response to decreased levels of blood sugar and increased levels of stress. However, cortisol is also released in response to inflammation thus providing an immune-suppressive response or, in other words, a decrease in inflammation. It is not a mystery that synthetic glucocorticoids are utilized in a variety of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis as a way of diminishing inflammation in the body and alleviating symptoms. This is also the reason why a synthetic glucocorticoid such as prednisone may be prescribed for a severe sinus infection or an exacerbation of asthma. Moreover, cortisol takes part in our natural circadian rhythm with higher levels peaking in the early morning around 7-8am and progressively dropping throughout the day. Cortisol delivers a circadian dose of anti-inflammatory protection.

The adrenal is part of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis which directly affects hormones. So, if your adrenals are chronically stressed it can cause irregular menstruation, increase blood sugar, increased inflammation and oxidative stress and interfere with fertility success.

The best was to test adrenal function is to get a 24-hour salivary cortisol test. This can show you the diurnal rhythm of cortisol throughout the day and into night. If levels are off, then regulating and supporting adrenal function can improve hormone control and fertility.