Hormones are powerful molecules essential for maintaining physical and mental health. We frequently think of estrogen as being a female hormone, and testosterone as being a male hormone. But men AND women make both, plus several more that need to be in balance for optimum health. An imbalance of any one hormone can throw your physical and mental health out of balance, causing aggravating and even serious health problems.
One size does not fit all when it comes to hormones! For decades western medicine has prescribed hormone replacement therapy as if everyone needed the same thing and the same amount. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your hormones are like your fingerprints and in order to achieve optimal health, you need to know what your specific imbalances are.
There are several ways to test for hormones, saliva, serum(blood) and urine, but the state-of-the-art method is through saliva. This is because only the active portions of hormones are measured and it is these portions that determine how individuals feel. So if you are seeking bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT), you’ll need to know active hormone levels. In addition, if using a topical (transdermal) hormone preparation for treatment, saliva testing is the most accurate tool to measure and monitor hormone status.
Who Should be Tested?
Both men and women experience changes in hormone levels with age. Sometimes those changes result in unpleasant symptoms that demand attention. Often, the changes are more subtle – yet there is still an impact on overall health. Hormone testing is applicable for:
- Men and women concerned with changing hormone levels as a result of age.
- Cycling women experiencing PMS symptoms, perhaps related to a hormonal imbalance.
- Peri- and post-menopausal women concerned with their estradiol and progesterone levels for replacement considerations.
- Those wishing to monitor their hormone levels following replacement therapy (oral, sublingual or topical), and subsequently regulate their supplement levels.
- Anyone with symptoms involving fatigue, insomnia, stress, immunity problems, blood sugar problems, and an overweight body should be tested for cortisol levels as well as “sex” hormones.
Men and women of any age who are having symptoms of hormone imbalances should test for all hormones that may be associated with their symptoms. Men and women over the age of forty may want to do a baseline test. Frequently, imbalances will be detectable for a time period before symptoms gain attention.
Which Hormones Need Testing?
The major sex hormones to assess are estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. Estrone and estriol are also important sex hormones to consider testing. The main adrenal hormones are DHEA and cortisol. These seven hormones will provide crucial information about deficiencies, excesses and daily patterns, which then result in a specifically tailored treatment approach and one far more beneficial than the old “shotgun” approach. Below is a brief description of each of these hormones:
There are three forms made by the body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. The form used in past hormone replacement therapies is estradiol, often in the form of concentrated pregnant mare’s urine (premarin). It is a proliferative (causes growth) hormone that grows the lining of the uterus. It is also a known cancer-causing hormone: breast and endometrial (uterine) in women and prostate gland in men. It will treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia and memory-loss. With the bio-identical formulas, estriol is matched with estradiol (biest) to provide protective effects and additional estrogenic benefits. The other major protector in keeping estradiol from running amok is progesterone. Estrone and estriol are also useful hormones to test.
Called the anti-estrogen because it balances estradiol’s proliferative effects. It is considered preventive for breast and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis. In addition, too little progesterone promotes depression, irritability, increased inflammation, irregular menses, breast tenderness, urinary frequency and prostate gland enlargement (BPH).
An anabolic hormone (builds tissue) that is essential for men and women. The proper level of testosterone is necessary for bone health, muscle strength, stamina, sex drive and performance, heart function and mental focus.
An important adrenal gland hormone, which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance. DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone.
Your waking day hormone (highest in the morning and lowest at night). It is necessary for energy production, blood sugar metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects and stress response.
Classified as a hormone but also acting as a neurotransmitter, melatonin is primarily secreted during the dark (at night) with levels dropping dramatically after exposure to bright light. Melatonin is involved with circadian rhythms, and most commonly associated with sleep patterns and sleep disturbances.
Some of the common imbalances identified through hormone testing include estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, progesterone deficiency, androgen (testosterone and DHEA) excesses or deficiencies, adrenal dysfunction and adrenal fatigue.
Accuracy of Labrix Saliva Testing
Pooled Tube Provides More Accurate Sex Hormone Levels
Sex hormone (E2, Pg, T, DHEA) levels fluctuate throughout the day as well as throughout the month while other hormones, like cortisol, have a predictable diurnal rhythm. As a result, many lab measurements will give falsely elevated or depressed values if only evaluating one sampling for sex hormones.
The graph below shows the measured salivary estradiol levels (in pg/ml) of two females during the luteal phase, with samples taken every 10 minutes. As you can see, the estrogen levels are fluctuating continuously and dramatically. Imagine if you had only measured one sampling… say in the morning? It might alter your assessment and lead you to incorrect treatment choices.
Labrix Measures Sex Hormones From a Fifth Pooled Tube
When saliva kits are received by our lab, a fifth tube of saliva is created by pooling a measured sample from each of the four submitted tubes. This fifth pooled tube is mixed thoroughly to provide homogenization and becomes the source from which estradiol, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA are measured. The pooling of these multiple samples throughout the day enables us to provide a much better reflection of each patient’s hormonal status. It is essentially an average of the four submitted samples and more accurately reflects the physiologic hormone levels.
Cortisol Levels Are Measured From Four Timed Samples
Cortisol levels are measured from the original four saliva tubes to provide an assessment of the natural diurnal rhythm of cortisol. Cortisol should be highest in the morning, and gradually taper off throughout the day. Knowing the time of day that a sample was collected is critical to accurate interpretation of the cortisol levels.
Melatonin is Measured From Three Timed Samples
Like cortisol, melatonin is measured directly from the AM, evening and PM sample. Melatonin levels follow a diurnal rhythm with highest levels produced at night, when sleep should be occurring, and the lowest levels should be during daytime.
In today’s world there are many factors effecting hormone health. There is over exposure to xeno estrogens from plastic, petroleum products, many of which are in personal care products, pesticides in food, water and even the air.
Getting your hormone levels tested via Saliva Testing is a great way to keep track of your hormone health and correct imbalances before it can lead to chronic or serious health issues.
Why guess when you can know for sure?
If you are interested in a Saliva Hormone Test, you will order either the
Women Choose Women’s Health and Breast Profile OR
Men Choose Men’s Comprehensive Hormone Profile
The test kit will be sent to you with directions on how to take the test in the comfort of your own home.
Be sure to read the directions immediately. There will be certain foods that you will need to avoid for 48 hours before taking the test and woman who are still having a menstrual cycle will need to do the test on a certain day of their cycle.
The kit also comes with a FedEx prepaid label and everything you need to send the test back to the Labrix Lab.
The doctors on staff at Labrix will read the results and write up the report.
Once your testing is complete, the report will be sent to me. I will then contact you to set up a 30 minute appointment to go over the results and make lifestyle and supplement suggestions to correct any imbalances.
Click Here to order your Saliva Hormone Testing Kit today.
Melatonin testing is an “add on” at an additional charge.