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Saliva Hormone Testing
When it comes to hormones – one size does NOT fit all
Your hormone levels are as unique and varied as the fingerprints on your hands. So you need a hormonal program that is tailored to you. “One size fits all” does not apply when it comes to hormone balancing.
• Testing your baseline levels before beginning hormone supplementation is essential to regaining hormone balance.
• Testing your hormone levels will empower you and ensure that a hormone supplementation plan is tailored for only you and your specific complaints.
• Hormones are not like candy. Even though they can be purchased over the counter like chocolate bars and vitamins, hormones are extremely powerful chemicals, which influence and alter the function of your body. Hormones can be harmful to your health when used incorrectly.
“Sex” hormones are what most people think of when hormone balancing is discussed. This would include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA.
Glucocorticoids (primarily cortisol) are another set of hormones that are extremely important in maintaining immunity, energy, and ability to deal with stress. They too must be considered in the overall picture of health and hormone balancing.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressors such as emotional upheaval, exercise, surgery, illness or starvation. Cortisol plays an essential role in immune function, mobilizing the body’s defenses against viral or bacterial infection, and fighting inflammation. However, chronic elevated cortisol levels suppress the action of the immune system and predispose it to frequent infections. Cortisol levels are highest first thing in the morning to combat the stress of overnight fasting and to animate the body for the day’s activities.
Why is saliva used for testing?
Saliva has several obvious advantages over blood for testing of hormones. For example saliva:
• is simple to collect
• can be done in the privacy of your home under stress-free conditions
• can be collected at the optimal time of day
Blood, on the other hand:
• requires a specialist in blood collection procedures
• must be done at the hospital or clinic
• is stressful
• often cannot be collected at the proper time of day
But the most important reason for using saliva for testing is that saliva IS the most accurate method of evaluating your hormone status. Only about 1-5% of the hormones in blood are in the unbound or “free” form. The remaining 95-99% are tightly bound to blood proteins. It is this unbound fraction of hormones that enters tissues throughout your body, including the salivary glands. Hence, salivary hormones are representative of the free or unbound hormones in blood that are “bioavailable” to tissues of your body. Saliva testing is the most accurate method of evaluating your hormone status, including how hormone replacement therapy, topical hormone creams, diet, herbal therapy, and exercise influence your hormone levels.
Why Test Hormones
By Jay H Mead MD and Erin Lommen ND
Why do I need hormone testing? One size does not fit all when it comes to hormones! For decades western medicine has prescribed HRT 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.
Which hormones need testing? The major players in the sex hormone arena are estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. The main adrenal hormones are DHEA and cortisol. These five hormones will provide crucial information about your deficiencies, excesses and daily patterns, which then results in a treatment approach specifically tailored for you and one far more beneficial than the old “shotgun” approach. Below is a brief description of each of these five hormones to refresh your memory about what each one does and how they interact.
Estrogen: 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 (best) to provide protective effects and additional estrogenic benefits. The other major protector in keeping estradiol from running amok is progesterone.
Progesterone is 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).
Testosterone is 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. DHEA is an important adrenal gland hormone, which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance.
DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone.
Cortisol is 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. (More information below on cortisol)
Some of the common imbalances identified through testing include estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, progesterone deficiency, androgen (testosterone and DHEA) excess or deficiencies, adrenal dysfunction and adrenal fatigue.
State-of-the-Art Saliva Testing This testing is accurate, easy to collect, FDA approved and has rapid results (turn-around-time). Labrix Clinical Services, Inc is owned and operated by board certified pathologist; Jay H Mead MD, FASCP. Labrix is unique because it delivers accurate results requiring a much smaller sample size (one fifth the volume previously required). Sample collection only takes 2-3 minutes. Four samples are collected and pooled to give a truer reflection of hormone levels (hormones fluctuate dramatically throughout the day, thus one sample does not reflect your average levels). The exception is cortisol, which has its own daily rhythm, and is measured before the samples are pooled. With this state-of-the-art saliva testing you will find solutions to your health problems which until now have gone unexplained.
These are the tests available:
5 hormones – “Basic Hormone Panel” includes: estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and AM cortisol
5 hormones – “Adrenal Stress Panel” includes: DHEA & 4 diurnal Cortisol: am, noon, evening and pm
6 hormones – “Short Comprehensive Panel” includes: estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and AM/PM cortisol
8 hormones – “Comprehensive Hormone Panel” includes estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and 4 cortisol (AM/noon/evening/PM)
10 hormones – “Comprehensive Plus Panel” includes estrone, estriol, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and 4 cortisol (AM/noon/evening/PM
The test results will be sent back to you either by email or postal mail. Please include your email address with your order so you can receive the results faster. We will email you your results in a PDF file as soon as we receive them. If you need help interpreting the results, please email us with your questions. We will be happy to contact Labrix to try and get answers to your questions or to help you find a doctor who can interpret your results. However, we (Center for Natural Alternative Solutions) are not able to interpret your hormone testing results. We do have doctors or medical professionals on staff.
U.S. Customers: The hormone test kit comes with a prepaid label to ship your samples by UPS directly to the lab. The test results will be sent back to you either by email or postal mail. Please include your email address with your order so you can receive the results faster. Canadian Customers: You will have to supply your own mailing label and pay shipping charges to the lab in Oregon.
For additional information about which tests you might need please go to Which Tests for My Symptoms?
For more detailed instructions on saliva collection go to Saliva Collection Instruction for Women and Men.