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Cortisol is synthesized by the adrenal glands and released into the bloodstream in response to stress signals from the brain. In the bloodstream cortisol is mostly bound up by Cortisol Binding Globulin (CBG) and albumin, leaving only about 1-3% bioavailable to enter tissues and invoke a biological response. The bioavailability of cortisol can vary considerably due to different levels of CBG; liver synthesis of CBG is controlled by various hormones, such as estrogens, thyroid, and cortisol itself. Salivary cortisol reflects the amount of cortisol that escapes binding proteins, and enters the tissues throughout the body, including the salivary glands and saliva.
As such, saliva is representative of the bioavailability of cortisol to target tissues throughout the body. Saliva collection at four time points throughout the day (morning, noon, evening, and night) provides a simple and convenient means for assessing not only the bioavailability of cortisol but also its circadian pattern of synthesis
30 million adults suffer from thyroid imbalance. Don’t let dysfunction go undiagnosed.
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland that sits behind and below the Adam’s apple. A wide range of factors from hormone imbalances to mineral deficiencies and environmental pollutants can interfere with thyroid production, leading to health problems.
The American Thyroid Association estimates that as many as 60% of people with thyroid disease are not aware of it. Statistics show that women are seven times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems, facing as much as a one in five chance of developing a problem particularly during the peri-menopause years when hormones start to fluctuate.
Levels of key thyroid hormones can indicate whether there is a thyroid imbalance. These include:
Produced by the pituitary gland, TSH acts on the thyroid gland to stimulate production of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4).
The predominant hormone produced by the thyroid gland, T4 is converted to its active form, T3, within cells.
Total T4 includes both free T4 and protein-bound T4, and is an indicator of the thyroid gland’s ability to synthesize, process and release T4 into the bloodstream.
T3 is the active thyroid hormone that regulates the metabolic activity of cells.
Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme involved in thyroid hormone production. The body produces antibodies, including TPOab, that attack the thyroid gland in autoimmune thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s. Testing TPOab levels can diagnose these conditions.
HORMONE BALANCE: The Key to Health
Most hormones are produced by a group of glands known collectively as the endocrine system. Even though these glands are located in various parts of the body, they are considered one system because of their similar functions and relationship to each other.
Hormones are secreted into the bloodstream by these glands. From there, they travel to all parts of the body playing the role of chemical messengers turning specific target tissues on or off. Because they can’t be stored in the cells, hormones do their work as they pass through and then they’re gone. As a result, hormones must be made and released at the precise time they’re needed. To keep things functioning at their best, the body must constantly fine-tune hormone release to keep levels within proper limits.
Because of the complexity of these interactions, a hormonal imbalance rarely stems from only one type of hormone. More often, the problem involves a series of hormones that are out of balance. In addition, a disruption in the balance of hormones produced by one gland or set of glands can cause other glands or systems to dysfunction. Before you know it, you’re feeling miserable on multiple fronts.
Saliva testing is used for measuring hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone, and its non-invasive collection asks patients to spit into a plastic tube. This sampling method allows patients to collect saliva at home at specific times, which is important for accurately measuring hormone levels.
Why do we test hormones in saliva? Steroid hormones in the bloodstream are 95-99% bound to carrier proteins, and in this form are unavailable to target tissues. Saliva testing measures the amount of hormone available to target tissues – the bioavailable amount. For this reason, saliva testing better relates to specific symptoms of excess or deficiency, and is a good option for monitoring hormone therapy.
ZRT is one of the first labs to measure hormones in saliva, and helped establish the method that made saliva hormone testing commercially viable for health care providers and patients around the globe.
BLOOD SPOT TESTING
Dried blood spot is a form of collection where patients place blood drops on a filter card after a finger prick with a lancet. Once dry, blood spot cards are extremely stable for shipment and storage, and the dried blood format offers excellent correlation with serum tests
Blood spot is ideal for measuring hormones and other analytes such as insulin, blood lipids, Vitamin D, thyroid hormones, and elements like lead and magnesium. It offers distinct advantages over serum because it eliminates the need for a blood draw
These labs are for nutrition analysis only. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. They are not intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician on any matters regarding your health and before nutritional changes.