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Hormone Testing

I wish I had known more about the intricacies and interconnectedness of how stress hormones and sex hormones work together when I was younger. Not only would it have saved me a lot of struggle, but it sure would have given me better insights into my clients' challenges. Luckily, my studies with Functional Diagnostic Nutrition have given me the tools to dig deeper and see how imbalances and deficiencies in sex and stress hormones are impacting the health of myself and my clients.


Often, I'll have a discovery call with a potential client dealing with symptoms like brain fog, weight loss resistance, insomnia, food cravings, and so much more. While obviously there can be a myriad of reasons for these symptoms, often some form of hormone dysregulation is going on. It's not just women who are suffering either; I have men I work with who are over-stressed and under-muscled and feeling just awful.


Male or female, for those of us in middle age (40's-60's) the sheer amount of daily stress combined with the natural decline in our hormone production is a recipe for seriously feeling terrible!

If you are lucky enough to have a good general practitioner who does a comprehensive blood panel every year, you will likely have serum numbers for some of your hormones. While serum is the gold standard for testosterone, most of our other sex and stress hormones are not so easily evaluated with blood work. This is because they are constantly in flux, so if you take a blood sample, you're only getting a tiny snapshot of what those hormones are doing at the moment, not their levels at other times of the day or month.


My absolute favorite test to get a full picture of what is going on with sex and stress hormones is the DUTCH (dried urine test for comprehensive hormones). This simple home test kit will show us how much of these hormones you have and what your body is doing with them! It shows me how much progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and estrogens a client has, but more importantly, it shows me how that person is using and detoxifying those hormones. Below is a picture of my most recent DUTCH sex hormone panel. While the dials might be a bit confusing, what matters is that you can see how the hormones feed into one another. At the bottom left, you can see how well I'm excreting all these hormones at the end of the day (not very well).



DUTCH hormone cascade
DUTCH hormone cascade

I share this with you not to confuse you but to show you how much info I can garner from this urine test. It's my job to be able to read this, correlate it with your symptoms, and come up with a plan to help you optimize your hormone profile. When I saw how low my methylation was, I decided those extra glasses of wine I imbibed in from the holidays needed to go!


This page of the DUTCH also illuminates how balanced progesterone and estrogen are. It can help me figure out if someone is making enough testosterone or if it is getting over-converted into estrogen. It can even help me understand how we should be tweaking diet and supplements.


What about stress hormones? Well, the picture for those hormones is just as intriguing. Again, below is a snapshot of my stress hormones on my last DUTCH. You'll see that, yes, I used to take melatonin supplements on occasion (note- I was using 1 mg at night, and it is still a superphysiological dose; you can imagine if you are taking 5 or 10 mg!). More importantly, my adrenal glands seem to be struggling. As we age, our ovaries and testes make less of our sex hormones, and our adrenals take over that job, too. Something often has to give!


DUTCH adrenal profile
DUTCH adrenal profile

This was a wake-up call for me to start working on better sleep hygiene in the evening and getting back to my daily meditations. Also, to increase my DHEA (an anabolic balance to the catabolic cortisol), I needed to cut way back on my cardio workouts and focus more on lifting weights and yoga.


These are the kinds of insights I can get from running this test with my clients. I find it essential to use when monitoring hormone replacement therapy (both for myself and my clients). It's great to get hormones repleted when you are deficient, but if you can't detoxify or balance them out in the long term, it's going to be a problem. I often partner with prescribing doctors to help my clients get the best comprehensive program for them.


If you would be interested in learning more about the DUTCH test or want to chat about what testing might be best for you. Please set up a discovery call with me. I would love to talk to you more and see how I can hopefully help you feel your best.


~Yours in health,

Daniella

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