Key Advantages to Urinary Hormone Testing
Bio-identical hormone balancing, also referred to as Natural Hormone Balancing, goes far beyond the treatment of hot flashes. This form of therapy provides women in their 40’s and up with health support for their brain, heart and bone health. This form of therapy is also available to men for treatment of low testosterone to improve drive, focus, motivation, libido and neuroplasticity. We commonly think of administering sex hormones for two reasons: low libido or hot flashes, but there’s much more than that. Cutting edge scientists, researchers and physicians revealed at a recent conference I attended on Neuroplasticity that there are significant benefits to being on bio-identical hormones close to the time that those hormones drop in order to help prevent further neuro-degeneration that could lead to Alzheimer’s. The groundbreaking work of Dr. Dale Bredesen in the area of neuroplasticity is leading to a 50% reduction of Alzheimer’s symptoms or more in some cases. In fact, we also know that testosterone can be used successfully in cases of brain trauma.
When it comes to hormone testing, this can be done in three ways: blood, saliva or urine. There are several key advantages to testing urine hormones. Blood or serum hormone testing is good for hormones like FSH, LH, Prolactin and fasting insulin, which help indicate how well your pituitary is functioning, if you are in menopause or not and to rule out a tumor that produces prolactin as well as diabetes. However, blood testing is NOT ideal for steroid hormones. The disadvantage of blood testing is that there is no distinction between bound hormone and free hormone, which can lead to misleading results. In our blood stream the hormones are bound to SHBG Saliva testing has its advantages over blood in that hormones are tested showing their circadian pattern. The disadvantage is that the saliva kit often remains unopened! Plus, the results are very sensitive to eating, drinking, chewing gum, or any micro-bleeding up to one hour after brushing the teeth. Both blood and saliva test MISS a critical factor that urine testing has which is the metabolites.
When hormones circulate through the body they are metabolized by the liver and broken down into metabolites. Those break down products or metabolites we call them have their own physiological effects and are rarely if ever measured or taken into account. Urine hormone testing shows the free hormone as well as the conjugated form to measure the total pool of bioavailable hormones. Interestingly, it’s the metabolites of hormones that can increase or decrease the risk of breast and uterine cancer, as well as give us a picture of the overall health of the adrenal glands long term. These metabolites have critical clinical implications. There are 3 different types of estrogen: estrone, estradiol, and estriol and each bind with higher or lower affinity to estrogen receptor alpha or beta receptor sites. The beta sites are “better” because they are anti-carcinogenic, whereas the alpha sites tend to promote cell growth and proliferation. In fact, one of the metabolites which is unique to our urine testing indicates the highest breast cancer risk.
The metabolites of the hormones found in the urine also show how well a person is methylating. Methylation, you may have heard of through a popular genetic test called 23 &me, as well as Genetic Genie, amongst others, is the addition of a methyl group to a compound in order for it to be recycled. This happens not just for the sex hormones but also for the brain chemistry, or neurotransmitters. Therefore, this urine test can show if you are methylating well or not. With nutritional help good methylation allows for healthy brain chemistry.
The urine test also measures progesterone and testosterone, as well as adrenal reserve, which gives us a complete look at all the sex hormones. The adrenal reserve shows the inner functioning of the adrenal glands, or medulla, as well as the functioning of the cortex or outer area. Based on the results that show up in the urine of the adrenal hormones your doctor can deduce how long you may have had adrenal fatigue, and which are the best herbal protocols for it.
In summary, the urine methylation test that we now offer will reveal to you how healthy your sex hormones are, adrenals and if they are being broken down in a clear way.