Have you heard about the DUTCH hormone test on podcasts and were wondering how you can do this test in Australia?
At Planet Naturopath we can send you a DUTCH hormone test kit so you can take a deep dive into both your adrenal and sex hormones, plus the new organic acid markers that have been added to the DUTCH complete test.
Do want to find out more information? Read on and I will explain what the DUTCH hormone test is all about.
There are two main ways to measure the diurnal rhythm of the adrenal hormone cortisol, the traditional way is with a saliva hormone test and there is now a more comprehensive test called the DUTCH hormone test.
The saliva test measures free cortisol at 4 different periods of the day to measure whether free cortisol levels are high or low, but it does not actually tell us how much cortisol the body is actually making.
The free cortisol is only 1-3% of total cortisol production, and the saliva test does not measure how much total cortisol the body is making, or how quickly it is getting metabolised to cortisone.
This is why most saliva test results will show low cortisol levels - but this can be misleading as it does not show how it is getting metabolised.
Enter the DUTCH test, DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones and it combines the advantages of the saliva test so it can measure the diurnal rhythm of cortisol, plus it measures the total cortisol production and the cortisol metabolites. This information gives a better overall picture of what is happening with your adrenals, and it makes treatment more specific for your situation.
The DUTCH test also measures DHEA and the DHEA metabolites Etiocholanolone and Androsterone, and melatonin is also measured giving a complete adrenal function picture.
Symptoms of high cortisol
Symptoms of low cortisol
Muscle or joint pains
Depression, anxiety and irritability
Loss of emotional control
New or worsened high blood pressure
Low blood pressure, even fainting
Glucose intolerance that may lead to diabetes
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
Bone loss, leading to fracture over time
Weight loss and decreased appetite
As you can see the symptoms of high and low cortisol are similar, and they can be associated with just about any other health problem, so testing gives a more accurate picture of what is happening with your adrenal health, this cuts out the guess work.
Another advantage in the DUTCH hormone test is that the urine is collected on a special type of litmus paper, which is then dried before it is shipped back to the lab in the U.S.A …. this means that the test kits can be sent anywhere in the world and easily posted back to the lab for analysis.
Sex hormones can be measured with blood, saliva or urine testing and they all have their pros and cons.
Blood testing is not good for cortisol because you cannot easily do multiple tests during the day to measure the changes in cortisol, but estrogen, progesterone and testosterone do not fluctuate much during the day so blood testing can be quite good for these hormones. However a blood test does not measure the hormone metabolites which is important for both men and women.
Saliva testing is also good for measuring the free hormones, is cheap to do but does not measure the hormone metabolites so it does not give the full picture.
The DUTCH test measures progesterone, testosterone and the three estogens estriol, estradiol and estrone.
The DUTCH test also measures the metabolites of testosterone which are the more potent 5 alpha DHT and the less androgenic 5 Beta DHT. This is important for both men and women.
In men higher levels of the 5 alpha DHT can lead to acne, early hair loss, increased prostate cancer risk and increased mood changes.
In women it can also lead to skin changes like acne, hair loss and PCOS.
The DUTCH test also measures the metabolites of estrogen which can only be measured in urine, these are the healthy 2-OH-estrone and the unhealthy 4-OH-estrone and 16-OH-estrone which are associated with breast and ovarian cancer and fibroids.
Methylation is important for many aspects of health and the DUTCH test measures how well the methylation of estrogen is working, this is important if you have issues with the MTHFR gene or COMT gene.
PMS, menopausal, and infertility symptoms can be caused by an imbalance in the ratio of progesterone to estrogen. The treatment is different if you have high estrogen levels or if you have low progesterone levels, and while there is an initial cost to do a comprehensive test like the DUTCH test, it can be cheaper in the long run as it saves you time and money by taking out the guesswork with treatment plans.
Another option for women with fertility issues or severe PMS is to do the DUTCH cycle mapping which tracks your adrenal and sex hormones at multiple times during the month to get a much more comprehensive overview of your menstrual cycle.
The DUTCH hormone test when ordered through Planet Naturopath includes a one hour consultation to explain the results (in clear language), as well as recommendations on how to improve your hormones and optimise your health.
To order a test go to the DUTCH Hormone Test order page, you also have the option of scheduling a 30 minute consultation to find out if this is the right test for you, and to help you get your health back on track.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen