Cortisol is one of a number of stress hormones and its essential to our daily function. It increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels and helps us adapt to our environment. Ideally we get a surge of Cortisol as the sun rises and we awaken from our sleep. These levels then gradually decrease as the day goes on allowing Melatonin (our sleep and repair hormone) to overcome it. This surge of Cortisol makes our brains alert and prepares us the for the day and the changes that may occur. Researchers have found that those with Aspergers do not seem to experience this rise.
Those with Aspergers typically have very repetitive or narrow patterns of thought and behavior, and tend to be obsessed with either a single object or topic, for me its health and nutrition. Whilst I'm considered an expert in the field I do tend to have very limited social skills unless the topic is health.
All of my symptoms are a stress response and over the years I've developed numerous strategies for avoiding situations that might cause distress such as avoiding social situations which have more than 2-3 people. Quite simply I lack the Cortisol to react to situations and I struggle to cope with such stressors that others aren't even aware of.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and small increases of Cortisol have some positive effects such as a quick burst of energy for survival reasons. If you suffer from Asperger's or social anxiety it may be worth considering your Cortisol function.
As always diet is key so feel free to contact me to discuss how optimising your diet can help alleviate the root cause of your symptoms.