Salivary Hormone Testing
Salivary hormone testing is a reliable method to assess for the levels of a number of important hormones in the body, especially your reproductive hormones and adrenal hormones.
Why do salivary hormone testing
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 – which is not tested for in blood testing.
As hormones are usually bound to carrier proteins (cortisol binding protein, sex hormone binding globulin and albumin) in the blood, the unbound part is considered to be more readily available to the cells of the body. 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).
Saliva testing can also effectively monitor 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.
Lastly, saliva testing can be collected at home – no needles, no appointments…just a simple collection of saliva at specific times, which will be thoroughly discussed with you.
Who would benefit from a salivary hormone test
A salivary hormone profile of one or more hormones will be recommended by your practitioner if they suspect that your health problem is related to an underlying hormonal imbalance. The easiest way to correct symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance is to first ascertain the extent and the cause of the imbalance, and then devise a treatment plan that addresses these problems specifically.
Patients that benefit from salivary hormone testing include those suffering from:
- Hormonal issues
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Period problems
What hormones can be tested for using salivary hormone testing
Salivary hormone testing can assess all of your primary reproductive hormones, to assess for hormone problems as well as your body’s stress-response (adrenal function) and sleep hormones.
Oestrogen – the 3 forms of oestrogen – oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol, are all important for maintaining the health of reproductive tissues, breast, skin and brain. Excessive oestrogens can cause symptoms such as fluid retention, weight gain, migraines, PMS and over stimulation of breasts, uterus and ovaries, leading to cancer. Insufficient oestrogen levels can lead to hot flushes, vaginal dryness, rapid skin ageing, urinary problems, excessive bone loss and possible acceleration of dementia. An excess of oestrogen relative to progesterone is thought to play a role in the development of prostate problems in men.
Salivary hormone testing will test for all 3 forms of oestrogen, not just oestradiol which is tested for with blood tests.
Progesterone enhances the beneficial effect of oestrogen while preventing symptoms associated with oestrogen excess, thereby having a balancing effect. While progesterone is a key hormone in women, its benefit for men in maintaining prostate health is also very important.
Testosterone helps the maintenance of lean body mass bone density, skin elasticity, libido and cardiovascular health in both men and women.
Melatonin is predominantly produced by the pineal gland with smaller amounts produced by the retina and gastrointestinal tract. Melatonin secretion is stimulated by darkness, inhibited by light and independent of sleep. The phase of the diurnal rhythm is influenced by day length (increasing in amplitude in winter and decreasing in spring) or artificial illumination. Melatonin levels are associated with poor sleep patterns, jet lag and some mood disturbances.
DHEA is a principal androgen in both men and women. DHEA levels decline with age and research suggests that healthy DHEA levels comparative to one’s age, plays a role in healthy energy levels, immune status and mental function.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressors such as emotional, mental and physical stress. Cortisol mobilises the body’s immune response against viral or bacterial infections and inflammation. Chronic elevated cortisol levels will suppress the action of the immune system leaving an individual more susceptible to infections and more susceptible to the effects of long-term stress.
How is a salivary hormone test done
Hormones can be assessed in a number of ways, the most accurate being salivary hormone testing, however blood samples or urine samples may also be required.
For salivary and urine sampling, patients are provided with kits which may be collected in the comfort of their home and posted directly to the laboratory.
We choose Nutripath to perform our salivary testing services. Nutripath provides specialised medical laboratory testing services to investigate patients’ functional, biochemical, nutritional, metabolic + hormonal status.
Functional pathology testing can assist health practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients seeking a holistic approach.