A team of German researchers has suggested that the low morning and high evening cortisol levels are linked with frailty in older individuals.
Frailty confers a high risk for institutionalization and increased risk of mortality and is characterized by unintentional weight loss, feelings of exhaustion and fatigue, physical inactivity, slow gait speed and low grip strength.
"Cortisol typically follows a distinct daily pattern with the highest level in the morning and the lowest basal level at night," the study's author, Karl-Heinz Ladwig, from Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen in Neuherberg, Germany, said.
"Our findings showed dysregulated cortisol secretion, as featured by a smaller morning to evening cortisol level ratio, was significantly associated with frailty status," the researcher said.
In this study, researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 745 participants between the ages of 65 and 90 years. Cortisol levels were measured using saliva samples at three points: awakening, 30 minutes after awakening and evening.
Another author of the study, Hamimatunnisa Johar, said their study suggested a link between disrupted cortisol regulation and loss of muscle mass and strength, as the underlying pathophysiology of frailty.
The study will be published in the journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.