Stress Hormone Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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A recent study published in the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have lower levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone) in the mornings. For many of us with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, this isn’t a new discovery since some of us take cortisol supplementation.

The study included 185 female adults.Seventy-five of these women have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome andhad been diagnosed using the standard criteria. The study participants gave saliva samples first thing in the morning after waking up, then again 30 minutes later. William Reeves, CDC physician, and his colleagues measured the cortisol levels in the saliva samples.

Findings were that Chronic fatigue syndrome was associated with lower morning cortisol levels among women, but not among men. Morning cortisol levels were similar for men with and without chronic fatigue syndrome.

However, the study does not prove whether low morning cortisol levels causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is still a mystery as to which came first: the CFS or the low cortisol levels.

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