Cortisol is something we talk about a lot — for a couple of reasons.
First of all, high cortisol levels cause us to get fat, diabetic, and sick.
It also contributes to anxiety and other issues.
But we do need some cortisol of course.
Cortisol kicks in to maintain our blood sugar if we don’t eat for a long time.
Most of us don’t eat when we sleep, LOL.
So for this reason, when we’re asleep, cortisol levels tends to rise.
Cortisol hits its highest levels sometime in the very early morning — after you’ve been asleep for several hours.
And the cortisol helps to keep our metabolism working until we eat.
So we do need some cortisol.
But part of how cortisol works is that it digests our organs and muscle tissue to fuel our metabolism.
It turns our organs into the sugar needed to maintain blood sugar levels.
In the longer run, cortisol reduces our lean mass and increases our fat mass.
So that isn’t good.
And we want to make sure that we do everything we can to lower cortisol levels in a reasonable and legitimate way.
What we don’t want is extra cortisol.
Yet, doctors freely prescribe prednisone, which is a form of cortisol.
They suggest you use hydrocortisone cream without telling you about hydrocortisone cream side effects.
I know that my stepmother encountered severe bone loss and had to get a hip replacement.
And I believe the reason was she was on high amounts of prednisone for several years.
One of prednisone’s effects is that it prevents bone mass from being replaced.
That’s what researchers looked at with this study.
The study used patients who had arthritis and gave them prednisone.
Prednisone is very anti-inflammatory, so it is tempting to take it because it feels so good for a while.
It’s given for everything from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, to virtually any skin problems that you may have.
It does tend to reduce the symptoms of these problems.
That’s what cortisol does.
But the prednisone does damage to other areas at the same time — in this case to the bones.
Marked vertebral bone loss in the initial months of therapy in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.
After discontinuation of treatment, this bone loss seems to be (partially) reversible.
But the bone loss did not completely reverse.
And this damage was done with a very low dosage of prednisone.
It was much lower than their doctors give most people.
They took 10 mg a day, and that was further reduced after 12 weeks.
Another one of prednisone’s side effects messes with your mind.
Prednisone damages your memory and reduces brain function!
If you take prednisone and are trying to remember something, you don’t remember them very well.
And what’s worse is that some of these neurological effects and last a long time.
acute prednisone administration 1 hour before retention testing impaired word recall
Now let’s turn to an effect of prednisone that we may be able to use to our advantage.
If you have to take prednisone for some medical reason, you may be able to capitalize on this.
In this study, researchers found that prednisone opposes the metabolism of vitamin D3.
So getting some extra vitamin D3 may be very helpful in counteracting some of the negative effects of prednisone.
Note that you should always have vitamin K2, the MK-4 type, when you take vitamin D3.
And taking some extra calcium is probably really good idea too.
Otherwise, prednisone reduces metabolism of calcium and may be the reason why prednisone causes bone loss.
Note also that cortisol in general probably produces exactly the same effects.
So if you’re chronically stressed, physically and mentally, you’ll have high cortisol levels.
And these high levels will interfere with vitamin D3 metabolism the same way prednisone does.
The observed antagonism of glucocorticoids to the action of vitamin D in a man is related to the rapid turnover of vitamin D3, a diminished production of a biologically active vitamin D metabolite and the subsequent decrease in the intestinal absorption of calcium.
Finally, a lot of people take prednisone topically on the skin.
You can even buy it over-the-counter in some places.
People take it for all kinds of skin rashes and irritations.
This is probably really bad idea because prednisone and cortisol suppress healing.
One of cortisol’s effects is to suppress inflammation and therefore to slow down or stop the healing process.
It’s important to remember that inflammation isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom of a problem.
And the body creates the inflammation as part of the healing process.
Cortisol keeps that inflammation down, and so the healing process slows.
You can have one without the other.
So in this study, they found that vitamin A can help reverse some of the problems from prednisone.
The researchers did a remarkable series of experiments that showed how extra vitamin A can help restore the healing process that cortisone ordinarily slows down or stops.
Topical vitamin A can stimulate cortisone-retarded healing in open wounds while not affecting other open wounds not treated with vitamin A in the same patient or animal.
This shows how important it is to get some vitamin A onto a wound or skin area that you’re treating with cortisone cream.
Yet I’ve never met a doctor who understood this.
And it’s been known for decades.
So I hope that this little tour of some of the issues with prednisone and cortisol has been helpful for you.
There are plenty of hydrocortisone cream uses that you could have to treat.
But you ever get cortisone cream or ointment from the doctor, you know some of the risks.
And you know that this applies to prednisone and cortisone injections as well.
You also know that you can take vitamin A to help push the odds more in your favor.
Glucocorticoid Therapy-Induced Memory Deficits: Acute versus Chronic Effects
Effects of Prednisone on Vitamin D Metabolism in Man
Effect of Vitamin A on Reversing the Inhibitory Effect of Cortisone on Healing of Open Wounds in Animals and Man