Blood Tests are NOT Comprehensive for Hormonal Health
Blood testing is the most common lab test done to explore hormones, and it's a good test for reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as there's no major diurnal variation in these hormones (testosterone does have a slight drop throughout the day). The drawback is that it will not show you the metabolites of those hormones.
The blood test also falls short when testing adrenal hormones like cortisol, as it can only show you total cortisol. Using saliva or DUTCH, you can check the free cortisol, which is a better marker. Saliva testing is also common, but won't show you the metabolites of cortisol. DUTCH, on the other hand, does both.
The advantage of the urine test is being able to measure both parent hormones and metabolites.
STRESS HORMONE testing can be confusing.
And frankly, most popular tests for cortisol don't tell you what really need to know…
…things like how fast cortisol gets cleared by your body, what's truly causing high cortisol or low cortisol, how cortisol (and other crucial hormones) are getting created and broken down, and much more…
And this is important, because low cortisol leaves you with zero energy, low drive, brain fog, and feeling overtrained and adrenally fatigued, while high cortisol decreases protein synthesis and amino acid uptake, increases proteolysis (protein breakdown) and bone degradation, suppresses parts of the immune system, and increases serum glucose. So you feel pretty crappy when cortisol is low, and while you may feel good when cortisol is high, if cortisol is chronically high, there are some downsides to that too.
This Test will indicate Cortisol Production & Metabolism
So what is the DUTCH test?
The DUTCH test is a urine steroid hormone profile that measures hormones and hormone metabolites (called conjugates) in a dried urine sample, and is performed from the comfort of your home. It is the most cutting-edge way to truly see what’s going on when it comes to your hormones, because it doesn’t just measure hormones, but also something called “metabolites”, which are a measurement of hormone production and hormone breakdown.
Measuring both hormones and their metabolites can give you or your health care practitioner a much better overall picture of hormone production. For example, a DUTCH urine steroid hormone profile on someone with low salivary cortisol could show normal cortisol production, but high levels of metabolites. In other words, this would indicate that you are producing enough cortisol, but it’s just getting broken down into its metabolites very quickly. There are also some metabolites that are important markers for cancer risk that can only be measured in urine.
With serum (blood) and saliva hormone spot-testing, it’s possible to track variations in hormone release throughout the day – and this is a great way to measure how your hormones change during a 24-hour period (your circadian rhythm). In contrast, a standard 24-hour urine collection many physicians use reflects your total hormone output in a 24-hour period.
But by using the DUTCH urine steroid test, you get the best of all worlds: blood, saliva and urinary results with just a urine collection.
Why Hormone Metabolites Are Important
Metabolites can help you understand what the underlying pathology is. For example, one of the primary metabolites of testosterone is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is believed to be one of the primary risk factors for prostate cancer.
You want high levels of natural testosterone, but you don't want to have too much conversion to DHT, so you don't have excessive amounts of that metabolite. A blood, urine, or saliva test can tell you if you're making too much testosterone. But if those levels are normal, yet you're still experiencing symptoms of high testosterone, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, it suggests testosterone is being metabolized into DHT, resulting in androgenic facial hair, thinning scalp hair, and acne.
To evaluate where the testosterone is going, you need to check the metabolites. Moreover, if metabolites are not the problem, you won't end up treating a problem you do not have. If it is part of the problem causing these symptoms, then there are natural ways to intercede.
This Test will help us Evaluate Adrenal Insufficiency
Evaluating adrenal fatigue has been a notoriously confusing issue. For a long time it's been assumed that when people have low cortisol, they're suffering from adrenal fatigue, but this is not usually the case. Research is beginning to show that in many situations, what's really going on has to do with your brain signaling and the stress response, and not so much adrenal gland function.
So are your adrenals really fatigued? Or is something else going on? To define adrenal fatigue, we really need to look at the bigger picture of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) dysfunction. The question is, is it really an adrenal issue or is it dysfunction within the whole system?
VIDEO on TESTING ADRENAL HORMONES WITH DUTCH
INSTRUCTIONS on how to Collect a Sample