Cortisol is the natural glucocorticoid that helps neutralize inflammation and maintains our blood sugar and blood pressure. It is produced in small glands located at the top of the kidneys, called the adrenal glands. Cortisol has a suppressant effect on adrenaline, thus ensuring that our emotions remain in proper check and we are not subject to undue anxiety and aggressive impulses. Cortisol release is triggered by the presence of adrenaline in the blood. This means that if a person is under constant stress, eventually they deplete their body’s ability to produce cortisol. When this happens, typical symptoms include extreme pain around the lower back which occurs because the adrenal glands have become severely inflamed.
A persistent but not chronic shortage of cortisol usually results in an over-supply of adrenaline in the blood, leading to emotional outbursts and difficulty in controlling temper and aggression.