How stressed are you? Your earwax could hold the answer.
A new method of collecting and analyzing earwax for levels of the stress hormone cortisol may be a simple and cheap way to track the mental health of people with depression and anxiety.
Cortisol is a crucial hormone that spikes when a person is stressed and declines when they’re relaxed. In the short-term, the hormone is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, so it’s important for survival. But cortisol is often consistently elevated in people with depression and anxiety, and persistent high levels of cortisol can have negative effects on the immune system, blood pressure and other bodily functions.