Posted on May 20, 2013, 6 a.m.
Elevated hair cortisol levels over time may correlate to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Often utilized as a diagnostic to gauge long-term patterns in accumulated toxins, hair samples may serve as an indicator of a person’s risks of cardiovascular disease. Laura Manenschijn, from Erasmus Medical Center (The Netherlands), and colleagues took hair samples from sample of 283 older men and women, median age 75 years, who were part of the Dutch cohort study called the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Proposing that measuring cortisol in hair provides a way to study long-term cortisol exposure and thus a 3-cm sample of scalp hair can capture information about how cortisol levels change over a three-month period, the team found that subjects with hair cortisol levels in the highest quartile were at a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as compared to those in the lowest quartile. As well, high hair cortisol levels were associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study authors conclude that: “The increased cardiovascular risk we found is equivalent to the effect of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, suggesting that long-term elevated cortisol may be an important cardiovascular risk factor.”
Manenschijn L, Schaap L, van Schoor NM, van der Pas S, Peeters GM, Lips P, Koper JW, van Rossum EF. “High Long-Term Cortisol Levels, Measured in Scalp Hair, Are Associated With a History of Cardiovascular Disease.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Apr 17