The body is an amazing thing and while it has an incredible ability to regulate its own health it often requires us to understand the language it is speaking. If you are a runner you will know that you need to listen to your body all the time and translate how you are feeling into understanding whether you are running too fast, too slow, overtraining, are exhausted, not sleeping enough, or something else. The body gives lots of little tips that if we simply open our eyes to will inform us of many important things. While we have known this for a long time we never knew how important the ear was, until now.
In the modern age, we are starting to understand mental illnesses more and more. Stress and anxiety are two of the leading causes of serious health problems in modern society. People are working too hard, stressing about their family, and basically becoming anxious all the time. This is having a negative effect on their heart, their health, their wellbeing. Doctors now know that cortisol is an important ingredient when it comes to creating stress. People who have high levels of cortisol are more prone to mental health conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety. They are less able to deal with the normal everyday drama of the world and struggle as a result.
If you are someone who gets mad occasionally don’t simply assume it is explained by cortisol levels. It may be something simpler like your job or habits are leading you down a stressful path – sort these things out first. High levels of cortisol may also result in rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, flushed face, skin changes, and mood swings. If you are experiencing some of these then perhaps it is your cortisol level.
For years doctors have had methods to test cortisol. Saliva and urine are two known ways to test it. The problem is they don’t work very well. When we test cortisol levels we usually care about how they have been impacting someone over a medium or long-term period – not the short term. Salvia and urine can only test short term levels and the results often generate more questions than answers because of this. In fact, some people find the test itself stressful and can produce high cortisol levels just for the test.
This is where the ear comes in. It turns out that ear wax may offer a better method of testing as it is easy to get a sample and that sample is not impacted by the test itself. Not only this but as the wax is a build-up over time it can actually tell its own cortisol story. The test appears to be cheap and effective. Although it is only in the initial testing stages, the outlook is very promising.
Earwax may have more benefits than that. Initial results also suggest that it can identify COVID 19 antibodies that accumulate. The test could be used to determine those who are less at risk of catching the disease. Hopefully, this is something that we won’t need in the future but even if we don’t it shows the potential that earwax has to really inform a lot more about our own makeup, health, and well-being.
Cortisol is a powerful ingredient in understanding stress, anxiety, and depression. While we have been able to understand it for years we are now starting to understand how to measure it in a better more meaningful way. This will allow us to make huge strides in understanding mental health. Earwax is the answer and experts say that we are only beginning to understand the things we can learn from earwax.