The Benefits of Salivary Hormone Testing

Healthy Weight Loss, Hormone Health, Stress, Thyroid Health

Good health has a lot to do with maintaining balance: the right balance of work and play, the right balance of nutrients in the diet, and the right balance of hormones. What people don’t often realize is how complex the effects of hormones are in the body. Hormone imbalance may be a result of illness, or may produce symptoms and biochemical changes that eventally lead to illness. Getting your hormone levels checked regularly can be instrumental in determining these issues before it leads to the development of disease.

Why Test Saliva Hormones?

  • Saliva hormone testing is excellent at uncovering hormone imbalance.
  • Saliva measures hormone that has actually made it into tissue, because hormones pass through saliva gland tissue before getting into saliva. Blood measures hormones that might eventually get to tissue.
  • Saliva collection is painless and easy to do at home. Blood collection requires a trip to the laboratory, and some hormones cannot be tested in blood (e.g. estriol).
  • The stress of a needle puncture for blood collection tends to raise cortisol levels. Saliva collection is not known to raise cortisol levels.

The Key Players:

Estrogen – Estradiol, estrone, estriol

  • receptors are found throughout the body including: heart, brain, breast, bone, bladder, blood vessels.
  • estradiol is the strongest estrogen, followed by estrone. Estriol is the weakest.
  • are responsible for female sex characteristics and play an important role in the menstrual cycle.
  • needed to build up the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

Progesterone

  • is needed to balance the effects of estrogens and keep the endometrium from getting too thick.
  • is highest shortly after ovulation because it is released by the corpus luteum, which only forms after ovulation.

Cortisol

  • is the major stress hormone released by the adrenal glands.
  • high or low cortisol levels may be an indication of poor adrenal function.

DHEAs

  • is a storage form of the adrenal hormone DHEA, used to make estrogens and testosterone.
  • after menopause, estrogen and testosterone are made primarily from DHEA released by the adrenal glands.

Testosterone

  • helps maintain muscle mass and bone, improves sense of well-being and sex drive.

Common Conditions that are influenced by hormone levels:

  1. Weight Gain –high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can cause unstable blood sugars and may increase sugar cravings. High estrogen levels may interfere with thyroid gland function and result in weight gain. High levels of testosterone and/or DHEAs may be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that makes weight loss very difficult.
  2. Depression/Difficulty Coping/Irritability – according the data accumulated at Rocky Mountain Analytical Laboratories, two thirds of women who self-report depression or difficulty coping and seventy percent who report irritability have at least one hormone that is out of range. Many women experience some relief from mood disorders when their hormones are balanced.
  3. Sleep disturbances – high or low levels of cortisol may affect sleep, as may low levels of estradiol. For some postmenopausal women, difficulty sleeping is directly related to hot flashes and night sweats, which are often signs of hormone imbalance. Sleep issues often resolve once hormone imbalances are addressed.
  4. Hot Flashes – Having too little estrogen can be associated with hot flashes, but so can supplementing with too much estrogen! Maintaining the right amount of estrogen is at least one factor in controlling hot flashes.
  5. Bone Loss – Testosterone and estradiol help build bone, while high cortisol tends to break down bone. High cortisol is of particular concern because it breaks down bone and interferes with the bone building action of testosterone!

Call us today to see if salivary hormone testing is right for you!

by Kim Gowetor