Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone”. It is released in response to a variety of physical and psychosocial stressors and is hypothesized to alter brain development, stress responsiveness, and alter behavior /temperament in developing babies when cortisol levels are elevated during pregnancy.
Cortisol is a major player in a biological feedback mechanism called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This axis controls the reaction to stress and regulates processes such as digestion, and the immune system.
Although cortisol might give off the impression that it is a negative hormone, it is actually essential to assist the body to deal with stressors. Some of the other benefits of cortisol include reducing inflammation and the management of blood pressure.
Research shows that extracting cortisol from hair is a reliable method to accurately measure cortisol concentrations over a long-term basis (Russell et al., 2011). Whereas, serum such as blood or saliva gives a more instantaneous measurement of cortisol concentrations. Below is an image explaining how your hair will be collected and processed.