This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Once and for all: How do I test for cortisol levels?

One of the few things i've never tested is cortisol. From my symptons, it could also be that I have insanely high cortisol levels specially at the mornings where I have constant shivers and my legs are shaky and im fatigued as fuck.
I want to confirm this or discard this if the levels are ok.

I've heard saliva tests are the best since you can draw a curve from the 4 saliva samples through the day.

Other's say this is broscience and I need 4 urine samples.

Once again lack of consensus and a poor confused guy like me doesn't know what to do. Please help.

asked Feb 20, 2015 by phillpeat

"My recommendation is to eat to increase the metabolic rate (usually temperature and heart rate), rather than any particular foods." -RP

There is no need for these tests. So what if your cortisol rhythm is off? Those tests are not useful. It's like when people test for gluten intolerance. Well you shouldn't be eating gluten anyway, so it doesn't matter what the test says. Just focus on the right foods that make you feel good. If you have high cortisol upon waking, you are probably not eating ice cream before bed to keep stress hormones down. I would also make sure you are getting enough fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). Those made a big difference for me and you should consider supplementing if you have acne, dandruff, bad breath, etc.

If you want I will email you Danny Roddy's Peat Whisperer which I found extremely helpful in dialing in this diet.

Hi, thanks for the reply. I do eat and I have no digestive problems. I dont believe in the "no glutten thing", it's just broscience, just like the milk thing, no whatever thing, when you have no digestive problems.
I eat orange juice, banana milkshake with cinammon, iberic jam, toasted bread with tomatoe spread and EVOO as breakfast. This is a breakfast that has enough vitamin C, high quality fats and proteins from the jam, carbs from the bread... etc. I get shivers and im cold in the morning. I only start feeling a bit more less brain fogged at night when i should go to sleep. I do believe in tests. I dont believe in randomly supplementing. You could be supplementing randomly any vitamin you want while you have some gen mutation that makes you severly lack/severly store too much and fuck up real bad. This shows on hair tests which im getting ASAP.

Some of the Danny Roddy stuff is broscience as well. I don't believe for a second you can stop legit MPB without 5ar inhibitors. Im yet to see photographic evidence.

After dinner I usually have some fruit like an apple. Would you replace the apple for icecream? I dont want to get bored of icecream by eating it daily.

Sounds like you need help from a doctor. Are you located in the U.S.? Their are some Broda Barnes inspired doctors that can probably help you figure things out. You could spend years trying to tweak diet, but some people just need a crutch, being thyroid hormone.

Im in EUR and im already on 75mcg of T4 nightly. Does nothing, i feel the same. My FT3 was good, my FT4 was a bit on the lower end, my TSH is always around 4-6.

T4 alone often makes hypothyroidism worse. So your TSH is 4-6 even while on T4? Then yes, it's definitely not aiding your hypothyroidism then. You should try out T4+T3 if you want to continue the supplement route.

Why? My FT3 was on range, conversion seems to be good.
I've heard using T3 can be a mistake in some cases. Im not sure when it's good to use T3.

1 Answer

You mentioned in another post about your terrible sleeping habits. Turning night into day and getting up in the afternoon, with little exposure to sunlight as a result, can easily wreck circadian rhythm and as a result the timing of cortisol release. Paul Jaminet has some interesting articles about it you might want to check out:

It's also important to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning. Deciding whether you feel best on 7, 7:30, 8 or 8.5 hours sleep will likely factor into timings. It's best for most people to get to bed and be asleep by 10:30-11pm and wake at 6:30 - 7am. I mention sleep so much because it seems like you are doing a lot of things right with your diet, and have already been through the Roddy rigmarole of retarded recommendations.

Also, for the love of god just take finasteride for your male pattern baldness, and throw in some S5 cream along the hairline. You are statistically highly unlikely to have anything negative happen to you:

That suggestion right there will make you feel more at ease about your hair situation (your main source of anxiety it seems), thus reducing stress - and cortisol levels.

answered Feb 22, 2015 by PeatNoob

Im already on finasteride 1% topically along with 5% minoxidil for more than half a year with no sides. The scalp itch is still there tho. Im trying to guess what's causing it. It gets a bit better once I apply the lotion but it eventually comes back.
There's no way I can go to sleep at 10:30-11pm, too early, I usually go at 1:00 or so and wake up at 9 or 10, even then im tired as hell in the morning, and my temperature is shit.

If you are getting results (ie. cessation of hair loss) on topical finasteride then thats good. But I am a bit skeptical about topical applications of it nonetheless. Finasteride is metabolized in the liver, so I don't know how effective a topical would be - I suspect that any results from it are a result of it being absorbed into the blood stream, processed by the liver, so it then works in that roundabout way. Its a 'flat' dose response drug, so you only need about .2mg for near maximum effectiveness.

In terms of the MPB "scalp itch" I often hear about, I don't think it's an indicator of anything. I've read about people who take dutasteride, get mad "MPB itch", yet regrow tons of hair despite this. You might want to look into ketaconazole (Nizoral) shampoo to see if that solves anything, and it's also a recommended tool against MPB anyway.

Why can't you go to bed at 10:30 - 11? Is there something stopping you eg work, or can you just not get to sleep?

I've seen tons of testimonials about how people going on fin fixed their itch.. there has to be a relation.

What do you mean in the liver? 5α-reductase metabolizes testosterone to DHT in the prostate gland, liver and skin... so it should make sense to put it directly in your scalp.
If I see no results i'll consider oral as well, not 1mg daily tho.

About going to bed at that hour I just can't, too early. I finish dinning at 10:30. And here I am again at 4 in the morning procastinating while I browse the internet. Another fail at trying to fix my schelude.

I'm mainly going by this study:

Viewable here:

"Finasteride may inhibit type 2 5a-reductase in the liver, resulting in lower circulating levels of dihydrotestosterone and less generalized exposure of hair follicles to androgen stimulation."

The study didn't think topical fin was effective fwiw.

near 6 in the morning, watching youtube videos about lions
another fail