Adrenocortex stress testing (cortisol testing) – my results and first impressions of this approach.

I’ve just returned from my week away to Kaizen Institute of Health (Queensland) where I was immersed in study and observations on a personal training approach I’ve been interested in for some time.  I first encountered Dave and Angela from Kaizen Institute of Health at Filex National Fitness Convention in 2016 and was impressed by their systematic and holistic approach to personal training.  I was particularly interested in learning about adrenocortex stress testing and food sensitivity testing (more on this later).  I thought this was an element of health that my client base would be interested in. I learned far more than I ever expected at the 4 day course.

Kaizen is a Japanese word and approach meaning “continuous improvement, is a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality”.  What better way to go when aiming to improve your health, it’s a philosophy I’ve always encouraged.  It’s going to improve every service I have.  

To begin with I wanted to share what I covered in the mentor-ship.  The thing I was most interested in was the adrenal stress testing and food sensitivity testing (got this and I am ready to go) but I also got a whole bunch of skills around skeletal health.  PT’s are trained in muscle health, ligaments and tendons and fascia but not so much skeletal health.  So if your feet are hurting, you have orthotics, you know your hip is ‘out’ but you think the problem is your knees or ankles I have some new skills to help you.  I was absolutely amazed by the sudden change to one of my clients pain in her feet after an adjustment that took no longer than a few minutes to implement.  I look forward to further investigation of her feet so see what we can achieve longer term.  I saw fast turn around in pain and movement quality in all the observations I had at the mentor-ship last week.  It’s impressive, valuable work, and I want this for my clients – a better quality of movement.  In my mind if you are attending PT regularly you should be getting much more than a workout.  That’s the service I aim to offer.

I also learned a whole lot about posture and loading clients with postural issues – so I’ll be sharing those insights.  Imagine this – you habitually squat heavy weights but you stand with more weight shifted to the left than the right . . . . what do you want to do – lift heavy weights knowing the foundation is wonky, or fix the foundation?  Do you know to fix it?  Does your PT?  I just learned the simplest way ever to check and rectify this.

Adrenocortex Stress Profiling and Food Sensitivity Testing

I think you would only get the adrenocortex stress profiling completed if you thought you were stressed AND you wanted to improve this.  Stress manifests in the body so many ways, here are a few examples:

  • sleep deprivation
  • brain fog
  • digestive issues
  • energy highs and lows
  • reoccurring sickness
  • memory loss

I had my cortisol levels tested as well as food sensitivities (different from allergies).  I am hearing lots of people are interested in the food sensitivity testing to get definitive information so they can move their health forward.  This is a much more informed approach to just random cutting out of food groups.  It is individualised and accurate.  I did not think I would have any food sensitivities but I do.  It’s not permanent but to heal the gut I need a rest from them.  I was found to have a moderate reaction to milk, pineapple, wheat, gluten, whey and yogurt and a high reaction to chicken and duck eggs.  So my digestive health was really never going to improve without knowing this and making some changes.  And I was very surprised indeed to get these readings.  There is no debating the data.  I am on an elimination diet for 12 weeks.  Actually it’s pretty simple to implement an elimination diet when you know what to eliminate, but you have to plan it and get organised (on writing this I am 20 days into my elimination diet and I have to say there is significant digestive ease . . . . ).  I hear many people saying they are on elimination diets but without knowing exactly what to eliminate I do not recommend this.  If you are sick the benefit of doing this test is to remove any doubt as to what foods are the issue – all the time wasting around guessing what the problem is gone.  You can confidently and proactively plan a healthier future knowing exactly what causes a reaction.  Incidentally it’s a home pin prick test.  You aren’t paying for a consultation around the test, just supply blood samples on a small card, post it to our lab in Victoria and you will have your results explained to you in a 25 minute phone consult with the Kaizen naturopath.  Follow up sessions are with me.

Here’s my Adrenocortex Stress Profile.  This data was taken from 4 saliva samples taken at 4 points over a day.  It measures the amount of cortisol (your stress hormone) in the body.

My profile is the yellow line, it sits right within the optimal range – so I’m managing my life without any sign of being overly stressed (a yellow line above the red line indicates you are in a state of high stress), or heading toward burnout (yellow line below the green line)   I was the only one in the course who had a healthy profile, and this I am told is quite common – most people are within a constant state of stress, and by stress it’s not just rushing and over committing – sickness, dieting, over exercising are 3 examples of stress that often do not come readily to mind when we discuss stress.  Typically 7/10 Fitness Instructors are not in the optimal range.  

You might get a reading like mine – in which case that’s a great start, but you can see I’m at the higher end of optimal at midday and evening.  I am looking at some simple changes to lifestyle to try and affect that – minor tweaks, more mindfulness, a change to exercise routines and evening routines – nothing too daunting

You might get a reading where your yellow line is below the green line, that is, below optimal.  We call this the COLLAPSE or EXHAUSTION phase and it’s a concerning place to be.  If your cortisol measures are down this low you body is not making enough Adrenalin to meet your needs.  Symptoms are varied but will likely include fatigue, regular illness, weariness and a feeling of overwhelm.  However you may be functioning quite well.  That can’t last.

You might get a reading where your yellow line is above the red line, that is, you are producing high levels of cortisol.  This is called the compensatory phase and what might happens in this phase is you’re body IS making enough cortisol but it is stealing it from another system, the system that deals with the reproductive or sex hormones.

You might get a reading where your yellow line zigs and zags above and below the optimal range.  This is showing us that you are making high levels of cortisol to deal with the stresses of life at some times during your day, and at other times you are not making enough – you ‘slump’.

The aim of this test is to gain definitive information on how your body is coping with every day stress.  Prior to the adrenocortex stress testing  I’d be asking you to complete a short or long subjective questionnaire on the adrenal stress indicators in your life (this is the first step and is an excellent place to start should you know you have stress in your life but can not afford the saliva test)  Together we will map out a plan to reduce stress in your life, bit by bit, step by step.  Clearly as a personal trainer we would be looking at an exercise plan but we will also coach you around food choices and gut health, environment stressors, mental and emotional health strategies and immunity building.  This is a very sound approach so clients should not come through the door expecting to be smashed – this holistic personal training approach is based on what your body needs following your adrenocortex stress testing and a vigorous assessment of how you move.

The body is meant to thrive.  You should expect to feel awesome – perhaps not always, but certainly mostly.  You can probably tell I’m absolutely sold on this approach and I’d love to assist like minded persons who want to feel better.    Contact me if you want to talk more about an approach that will suit you

The first step is make contact, Jo Cordell-Cooper 0409 862206.