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There are several different salivary hormone panels that are available through your Naturopathic Doctor. These include the following:
Under stress, the adrenal glands produce cortisol 24 hours a day. Normally, cortisol production is highest in the morning (within the first hour of waking up) and gradually decreases throughout the day, reaching its lowest levels during sleep.
There are three stages to our reaction and adaptation to stress:
- Alarm Stage: Stress triggers the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol and DHEA. An increase in these hormone levels indicates to the body that respond to the stressor − ie. the “fight or flight” response.
- Resistance Stage: Increased levels of cortisol stimulates an increased energy production from proteins, fats and carbohydrates in order to help the body adapt to the stressor. However, this stage should only be temporary. Unfortunately, this stage is often not temporary due to the many stressors that occur at home, at work, etc. Symptoms related to elevated cortisol include: anxiety, feeling tired but wired, and have difficulty sleeping. Excess cortisol may interfere with the action of progesterone and testosterone, leading to symptoms of hormone imbalance.
- Exhaustion Stage: The adrenal glands are no longer able to increase the production of cortisol. At this point, the adrenal glands decrease the production of cortisol, DHEA and aldosterone. Symptoms related to low DHEA are not well defined. Symptoms related to low aldosterone result in dehydration, low potassium levels, and low sodium levels. Symptoms related to low cortisol result in fatigue (especially in the morning), feeling “burnt out”, depression, low sex drive, allergies, an increased susceptibility to infection, decreased ability to recovery from exercise, and low glucose levels.
The adrenal panel allows your Naturopathic Doctor to:
- determine if you are in the early stages of resistance
- confirm a suspected adrenal dysfunction
The female salivary hormone panel tests the levels of five hormones, looking for increased or decreased levels and imbalances between the hormones that have a negative impact on health.
These five hormones are:
- Estradiol (E2): is required for the proper function of progesterone receptors, thus maintaining a balance between estrogen and progesterone is crucial for healthy hormone levels. Increased E2 levels results in decreased function of T3. Decreased E2 levels after menopause may be attributed to adrenal dysfunction.
- Progesterone: may increase the sensitivity of estrogen receptors, thus decreased progesterone levels can contribute to or exacerbate estrogen deficiency symptoms, despite having normal E2 levels.
- Testosterone: Increased testosterone levels may indicate PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome. Decreased testosterone levels after menopause may be attributed to adrenal dysfunction.
- Cortisol: Increased cortisol levels interfere with the action of progesterone and testosterone, increase E2 levels, lead to bone loss, and are associated with depression. Chronically increased levels of cortisol may progress to adrenal exhaustion and eventual low cortisol levels.
- DHEA-S: Decreased DHEA-S levels are associated with high cortisol levels. Low DHEA-S levels may also be associated with hypothyroidism and chronic illnesses such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rocky Mountain Analytical @ www.rmalab.com