Wibe Wagemans and Ioana Bina MD PhD FACG write with this unusual sense of humility, while never at the expense of the facts. The title of their book, titled Cortisol: The Master Hormone – Improve Your Health, Weight, Fertility, Menopause, Longevity, and Reduce Stress, is fully indicative of this tonality. There’s never the sense Wagemans and Bina are trying to maintain some aura of factual sophistication or authoritative manner, the way some nonfiction writers – particularly covering medical issues – seem to feel they have to do. But they never resort to the other extreme, making things more psychological at the risk of running a more maudlin, less black-and-white presentational quality.

This is particularly pertinent with what Wagemans and Bina are trying to do, specifically advocating for a more holistic approach to maintaining one’s health in an increasingly insane world. “Let’s be fair: We’re grateful for access to pharmaceutical treatments. We don’t want to underestimate their role in prolonging life and healing the body. But all too often, they arrive after disease has set in. That’s too late. Treating disease symptoms is like putting a coat of paint on a structurally compromised house. For a less drug-dependent, more holistic approach to health, we want to address root problems,” they write in this vein. “Measuring your cortisol levels is a way to do that. You’ll locate the source of your stress. Once you know what stress is doing to virtually every aspect of your life, you and your doctor can talk about next steps. You’ll have the emotional and intellectual wherewithal to get healthy. Maybe for the first time in your life. We don’t want to freak you out. That’s not why we’re listing all the things that can go wrong when cortisol runs amok.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Cortisol-Hormone-Fertility-Menopause-Longevity/dp/B0BHC71CHS

We do feel a responsibility though to be your wakeup call. Elevated cortisol levels will threaten your quality of life and your longevity. They’ll contribute to ‘brain melt,’ or cognitive deficiencies. They’ll throw your metabolism out of whack. They’ll interfere with your sex drive and your ability to produce sex hormones. They’ll hobble your athletic prowess. They’ll suppress your immune system. They’ll atrophy your muscles and your bones. No doubt you see people in your own life who have been beaten down by one infirmity or another. We’re convinced cortisol has played a starring role in their deterioration. It doesn’t have to be that way. And it won’t be if you understand that cortisol runs the show. You’ve just got to get the shepherd’s hook and pull that bad actor off the stage – and into its rightful place.”

While thinking about my previous comment about being maudlin, I can’t help but backpedal (positively) on the following. In spite of some of the heavier parts of the read, Wagemans and Bina are quick to spare the rod whilst factually relevant. “We’ll get there,” they state reassuringly. “Methodically. Responsibly. Bad science and sloppy technology only temporarily create a black hole in the digital healthcare marketplace. Good science and ever-sophisticated technology remind us that biomarker diagnostics are within our reach when we work with talented, analytical teams to answer these questions: What’s the problem? What biomarker should we test? Based on test results, what’s the optimal treatment? What’s the right therapy for this particular person? Therein lies the true value of measuring your cortisol.”

Garth Thomas