Hormones are chemical messengers. Their role is to act as a catalyst to signal reactions to occur in the cells of your body. Hormones govern your energy, emotions, sleep, mood, digestion, sex drive, sense of well-being, motivation, ability to enjoy, your physical appearance, your ability to detoxify, pain and inflammation, mental sharpness and memory, your ability to make bone, muscle tension, your ability to relax, your immune system, allergic reactions and more.
Hormones can be evaluated using Hair Analysis, Live Blood Analysis, Saliva Testing and Blood Spot Testing for Vitamin D.
Saliva testing is used to evaluate the following hormones:
Cortisol is the adrenal’s primary glucocorticoid. It is secreted in a known 24-hr pattern, which controls energy and influences sleep patterns. Cortisol is essential for sugar metabolism and immune modulation. It is foundational for energy production and optimal thyroid function. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressors such as emotional upheaval, exercise, surgery, illness or starvation. Cortisol plays an essential role in immune function, mobilizing the body's defenses against viral or bacterial infection, and fighting inflammation. However, chronic elevated cortisol levels suppress the action of the immune system and predispose it to frequent infections. Cortisol levels are highest first thing in the morning to combat the stress of overnight fasting and to animate the body for the day's activities.
DHEA is the principal androgen in both men and women. DHEA levels decline with age. In some cases, supplementation with DHEA can restore energy, improve immune function, lift depression, optimize testosterone levels in women, and improve mental function. Nutritional supplementation to improve the function of the adrenals is best since, this hormone is also converted to testosterone, cortisol and estrogen.
Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol) are predominately female hormones, and in adults, they are important for maintaining the health of the reproductive tissues, breasts, skin and brain. Excessive estrogens can cause fluid retention, weight gain, migraines and over-stimulation of the breasts, ovaries and uterus, which can lead to cancer. Insufficient estrogen levels can lead to hot flashes, vaginal dryness, rapid skin aging, urinary problems, excessive bone loss and possible acceleration of dementia. An excess of estrogen, relative to testosterone, is thought to play a role in the development of prostate problems in men. Most scientists now agree that by-products of estrogen metabolism are the cause of both breast and prostate cancers.
Estrone(E1): E1 is in equilibrium with E2 and therefore can be approximated by knowing the E2 level. In fact, metabolites of E1 are carcinogenic.
Estradiol(E2): The strongest form of estrogen and when deficiency exists it causes: hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory loss and emotional instability.
Estriol(E3): Considered the weakest estrogen, but also the protective estrogen. Is used widely to treat vaginal dryness/atrophy, and as a safe estrogen replacement for breast cancer survivors.
Progesterone can be thought of as a hormonal balancer, particularly of estrogens. It enhances the beneficial effect of estrogens while preventing the problems associated with estrogen excess. Progesterone also helps create a balance of all other steroids. It also has intrinsic calming and diuretic properties. It is important in women, but its importance in men for the maintenance of prostate health is only now being appreciated.
Progesterone is known to block or protect against the proliferative effects of Estrogen (E2). It is protective of breast and endometrial tissue. When replaced in physiologic doses, it stabilizes mood, increases bone mineralization, reduces PMS and post-menopausal symptoms, and decreases cancer risk. It can be nutritionally supplemented by supporting and rebuilding the adrenals ability to make it, or by topical application or oral ingestion.
Androgens (testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione) play an important role for men and women in tissue regeneration, especially the skin, bones, and muscles.
Testosterone The major sex hormone in males produced in the testes, and in women in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It is essential for sexual function, cardio-protection, stamina, muscle strength, bone density and stable sugar metabolism. In males, it is prostate gland-protective. It is involved in maintenance of lean muscle mass, bone density, skin elasticity, sex drive and cardiovascular health in both sexes. Men make more of this hormone, accounting for their greater bone and muscle mass.
Androstenedione is a precursor for both estrogens and testosterone, especially in females. It can be produced in excess by the ovaries, especially during early menopause, and can cause some of the "androgenic" symptoms such as scalp hair loss, acne, and facial hair growth.
Information provided by Dr. Jay Mead, M.D. of Labrix