Hormone Testing

Blood Hormone Testing
Saliva Hormone Testing
Urine Hormone testing

Blood Hormone Testing

Thyroid Hormone Profile

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland and activates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is converted to T3 in the liver and requires the presence of selenium and zinc.

T3 and T4 regulate the body’s basal metabolic rate, influence heart and nervous system functions and are essential for growth and development. The thyroid gland also produces calcitonin which is essential in the regulation of calcium balance in the body.

The Thyroid Hormone Profile is easily performed by the patient at home. This test measures the levels of unbound free hormones which are available to the tissues, and reflects a true measure of the body's metabolic rate.

Disorders of the thyroid are among the most common diseases of the endocrine glands, particularly in women. Thyroid function decreases with age and an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism (myxoedema) is most common in menopausal and post menopausal women.

Symptoms of underactive thyroid include dry and coarse skin, weakness and lethargy, constipation, weight gain, slow pulse, heavy and irregular periods and depression. Symptoms of overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis) include fast metabolic rate, rapid heart beat, nervousness and palpitations, weight loss despite increased appetite and frequent bowel movements.

Reverse T3 (rT3)

Thyroid hormones are essential in maintaining and regulating the body’s metabolism. Triiodthyronine (T3) is the most active of the thyroid hormones. Approximately 85% of circulating T3 is produced by monodeiodination of thyroxine (T4) in tissues such as liver, muscle and kidney. Selenium and zinc are required for this process.

Reverse T3 (rT3) is an inactive form of T3 that is produced in the body particularly during periods of stress. rT3 differs from T3 in that the missing deiodinated iodine is from the inner ring of the thyroxine molecule compared with outer ring on T3. rT3 is measured by a blood test.

Saliva Hormone Testing

Adrenal Hormone Profile

The Adrenal Hormone Profile is a non-invasive saliva test which monitors the levels of the stress hormones Cortisol and DHEA-S, over the course of a day. This is an important test to determine adrenal function in patients presenting with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, headaches, low energy, stress, hormonal imbalance and poor immune function.

Altered levels of Cortisol and DHEA-S are indicative of acute and/or chronic mental and/or physical stress. Prolonged stress causes increased secretion of Cortisol and can eventually lead to hypertrophy of the adrenal cortex, adrenal exhaustion and immune suppression.

DHEA-S is the main androgen in both men and women and its levels decline with age. Reduced levels of DHEA-S may result in fatigue, poor immune function, weight gain, increased ageing, memory loss and poor concentration.

Baseline Hormone Profiles - Male & Female

The Baseline Hormone Profile provides valuable information on an individual’s hormonal status and the potential impact this may have on physical and emotional health. Hormonal imbalance may result in a symptom picture which includes weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, disturbed sleep pattern, loss of libido and hot flushes.

Salivary Hormone testing is unique in that it helps identify the hormonal imbalances which may be causing chronic health problems. Results obtained from the test make it possible for practitioners to individualise treatment in order to establish optimal hormone balance. Testing can also be used to monitor the effects of bioidentical/natural hormone replacement therapy.

The Baseline Hormone Profile is a non-invasive test which requires the collection of one saliva specimen, from which multiple hormones are tested.

Female Hormone Profiles

The Female Hormone Profile monitors changes in hormone status over the course or part of the menstrual cycle, by measuring the sex hormones. Saliva specimens are collected on specified days of the month, according to the nature of the investigation, e.g. a full cycle profile for a pre-menopausal woman or the luteal phase only in premenopausal or peri-menopausal women. For post menopausal women refer to the Baseline Hormone Profile.

The Female Hormone Profile provides valuable information on an individual’s hormonal status and the potential impact this may have on physical and emotional health. Hormonal imbalance may result in a symptom picture which includes weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, disturbed sleep pattern, loss of libido and hot flushes.

Results obtained from the Female Hormone Profile make it possible for practitioners to individualise treatment in order to establish optimal hormone balance. Testing can also be used to monitor the effects of bioidentical/natural hormone replacement therapy.

Melatonin Profile

Melatonin is a neuropeptide predominantly produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin is secreted in a distinct circadian rhythm - stimulated by darkness, inhibited by light and independent of sleep. The phase of the circadian rhythm is influenced by day length (increasing in amplitude in the winter and decreasing in spring) or artificial light.

The levels of melatonin in the body tend to decrease with age and low levels may result in sleep disturbances such as insomnia, poor immune function, depression and other mood disorders.

Due to its circadian rhythm, melatonin must be collected at midnight in the dark and again on rising (0600-0800).

Saliva vs. Serum

Saliva testing has been used to measure hormones since the late 1960s and has many advantages over serum testing. The most significant feature of saliva testing is that it reflects the non-protein bound 'free' fraction of hormones at a given point of time.

As steroid hormones are predominantly bound to carrier proteins (cortisol binding protein, sex hormone binding globulin and albumin) in the blood, the unbound fraction is considered more readily available to the cells of the body (see Diagram 1). It is these 'free' hormones that best reflect a patient's hormonally-related symptoms, rather than total or bound hormone levels (as measured in serum).

Furthermore, saliva testing effectively monitors the level of supplemented hormones as well as their absorption and utilisation. Studies indicate salivary progesterone measurements confirm applied progesterone is being absorbed, despite the lack of change in serum progesterone'. Therefore, saliva testing can influence supplementation dosages and determine if bio-identical hormone therapy is being absorbed.

Urine Hormone Testing

2 & 16 Urinary Oestrogen Metabolites

This test monitors oestrogen metabolism in men and women, which may be of great importance in determining those patients at high risk of hormone imbalance. High levels of circulating oestrogens are proliferative and potentially dangerous, so it is important that they are broken down efficiently and effectively removed from the body.

Oestrogens are metabolised in two ways: the first pathway (2-hydroxyoestrone) is protective whilst the second pathway (16α-hydroxyoestrone) is more potent. This test identifies which is the dominant pathway (2 or 16) for oestrogen metabolism. The aim is to ensure that the ratio between the 2:16 pathways is maintained at the ideal of 2.0.

A low ratio (reduced 2-hydroxy metabolite production), indicates a state of oestrogen excess which may be a contributing factor to oestrogen-dependant cancers, such as those of the breast, head/neck and the prostate. A high ratio indicates an oestrogen deficient state which may indicate an increased risk of osteoporosis.

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