It’s summer, not winter when people are most likely to have higher levels of circulating stress hormone, Cortisol, says study.The research conducted by Dominika Kanikowskathe and associates from Poznan University of Medical Sciences found the level of stress hormones to be higher on the summer testing dates but inflammation levels did not change significantly between seasons.
The study included a group of female medical students on two separate days in the winter and for two days again in the summer. The researchers took saliva samples every two hours during each testing period–a full 24-hour cycle–to measure levels of cortisol and markers of inflammation. The volunteers completed a lifestyle questionnaire during each testing session about their sleep schedule, type of diet they followed and physical activity levels.
Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” as it is released into the bloodstream during stressful situations and helps regulate the body’s levels of sugar, salt and fluids. The hormone helps to reduce inflammation It’s levels are highest in the morning and gradually drop throughout the day. Levels are lower in the evening to maintain healthy sleeping patterns. Illness, lack of sleep and certain medications can affect cortisol levels more than normal daily fluctuations.
Research has been done earlier in this context but the findings were not substantial as the participants were tested in their own homes and not in a uniform setting.
These non-intuitive findings contradict traditional concepts of scorching winter and the cool summer.
Source: With inputs from American Physiological Society