ZRT, (the lab we use to do our hormone testing) is one of the first labs to measure hormones in saliva, and they helped establish the method that made saliva hormone testing commercially viable for health care providers and patients around the world.
Why should you measure in saliva?
Measuring saliva allows you to assess the bioavailable hormone levels - that is, the level of hormone available to target tissues. Between 95 and 99% of a hormone in the bloodstream is bound to carrier proteins, and in this form is unavailable to target tissues. Only the unbound fraction freely diffuses into tissues, including the salivary gland.
Best Practices for Saliva Testing
ZRT measures hormones from a single morning sample, which represents the peak of daily hormone production - the optimal time to measure.
Today’s Most Advanced Saliva Testing Ranges Adjusted for Supplementation
Unlike other labs, patients do not need to stop hormone supplementation to use ZRT's testing because they have ranges adjusted for age, menstrual status and supplementation types. This is the ideal method for tracking the effectiveness of hormone treatments.
ZRT does not pool patient samples, meaning that we don't mix multiple daily samples together to get an average hormone level. Instead they measure hormones from a single morning sample, which represents the peak of daily hormone production - the optimal time to measure.
ZRT is the only lab to perform an extraction process for saliva testing, which separates hormones from background contamination. This is the only way to assure accurate test results for low-concentration hormones such as estradiol.
Setting Industry Standards
ZRT initiated and manages the industry-wide standards program called the Saliva Proficiency Inter-laboratory Testing Program which enables laboratories to regularly evaluate and improve saliva testing accuracy.
Comparing Saliva Testing to Blood Spot Testing
Saliva testing has been used in scientific testing for decades and has been shown to be highly accurate. It is the most reliable way to measure free, bioavailable hormone activity - those hormones actually doing their job at the cell level. Standard blood and urine tests do not measure bioavailable hormone levels. Numerous scientific studies have shown a strong correlation between the levels of steroid hormones in the blood stream and the bio-available levels of steroid hormones in saliva.
Peter T. Ellison, Ph.D. of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, has used this method of hormone testing in cross-cultural comparisons of hormone levels among women living in industrialized vs. non-industrialized countries. (Human Reproduction vol.8 no.12 pp.2248-2258, 1993; Human Reproduction Vol.17, No.12 pp. 3251-3253, 2002.) His research in the field is the subject of his 2001 publication, On Fertile Ground: A Natural History of Human Reproduction (Harvard University Press).
In addition, saliva hormone testing more accurately reflects tissue uptake and response of hormones delivered through the skin in creams, gels, or patches than blood or urine tests.
In general, Saliva Hormone Tests should be utilized by those using topical hormone creams, while Blood Spot Tests should be utilized by those using sublingual hormones or those who are not able to create enough saliva to fulfill the requirements for collection.
Saliva Tests for the Most Comprehensive Hormone Testing
The basic panel, Female/Male Saliva Profile I, includes estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-S and cortisol. This will give you an overall sense of hormonal balance or imbalance as these five hormones work closely together.
Female/Male Saliva Profile II provides a more comprehensive idea of hormonal interactions. Of the four tubes included in this kit, two are used: one large tube for testing all the hormones of the basic panel (Female/Male Saliva Profile I discussed above), and a smaller tube for collecting a cortisol sample at bedtime as well. This panel is recommended for those with mild to moderate symptoms of fatigue, stress, sleep disturbance, allergies, and food cravings.
With severe symptoms, Female/Male Saliva Profile III, the most comprehensive of our saliva panels, is recommended. This test analyzes complete adrenal function by testing cortisol levels throughout the day. The Female/Male Saliva Profile III test kit contains four tubes, one large tube for testing all the hormones of the basic panel in the morning, and three small tubes for noon, evening, and bedtime collections of cortisol.
Testing Estriol and/or Estrone
Since estradiol is the more predominant and potent of the estrogens, this is the most commonly measured estrogen in testing. Estrone and estriol are typically only tested for those who are supplementing with them.
Please note that because return postage is included with this these test kits, there is an extra shipping charge of $10. (This extra charge is NOT added to the Canine Health Check Test Kit or Any of the Air Quality Test Kits.
NOTE: Per state laws, if you live in California, and only if you would like to receive one of the saliva, blood or urine tests, you will need to email us a prescription from a medical practitioner (could be a physician, physician's assistant, naturopath etc.) in order for us to process your order and send you your test. New York residents may not receive tests per state laws. Perhaps having these tests shipped to you outside of California or New York may be a good option. The Air Quality tests and Pet tests do NOT need a prescription and can be sent anywhere needed.
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