Melbourne Functional Medicine
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Hormones are the unsung heroes of our health, quietly orchestrating vital functions within our bodies. These remarkable chemical messengers wield significant influence over our metabolism, growth, mood, reproductive health, and overall well-being.
By maintaining a delicate balance known as homeostasis, hormones ensure the harmonious functioning of our bodily systems. Their impact on our health is profound, shaping our energy levels, sleep patterns, emotions, and reproductive system health.
Understanding how our bodies handle hormones is crucial for maintaining optimal health and addressing any imbalances that may arise.
In this article, we'll explore the cutting-edge DUTCH test, a state-of-the-art laboratory analysis that offers comprehensive insights into hormone levels, adrenal function, and oestrogen metabolism.
By harnessing the valuable information provided by this advanced hormones test, we can develop personalised treatment plans to address hormone imbalances and enhance overall wellness.
The DUTCH test is a revolutionary hormone testing method that offers comprehensive insights into our hormonal status. Unlike traditional blood or saliva tests, this comprehensive hormone test utilises a combination of dried urine and/or saliva samples to measure a wide range of hormones, including cortisol, oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and their metabolites.
By analysing both the parent hormones and their downstream metabolites, the DUTCH test provides a deeper understanding of hormone levels, their breakdown within the body, and crucial insights into hormone pathways and potential imbalances.
This advanced test, supported by scientific research, is increasingly recognised for its accuracy and effectiveness in evaluating hormone health and guiding targeted interventions for hormonal balance and overall well-being.
The DUTCH test is conducted through a simple and convenient process that can be done from the comfort of your own home.
The test kit includes detailed instructions that guide you through the process of collecting urine and saliva samples at specific times during the day. These instructions ensure that the samples are collected at the appropriate times to capture the fluctuations in hormone levels accurately.
Samples are collected at designated times from 6-8am in the morning, until your bedtime. Saliva samples are collected in tubes, while the dried urine samples are obtained by saturating filter paper strips with urine at specific time intervals. People with sleep issues may want to get a night sample for assessing melatonin levels.
The collected urine samples are then sent to a specialised laboratory for analysis. These laboratories have the expertise and equipment to measure and analyse the hormone levels and metabolites present in the samples accurately.
To ensure accurate and reliable results, it is crucial to follow the provided instructions carefully. This includes adhering to the specified collection times, properly storing the samples, and packaging them as instructed before sending them to the laboratory. By following these guidelines, you can have confidence in the accuracy and validity of the test results.
When it comes to the DUTCH test, there are different types available, each serving a unique purpose in evaluating hormone health and providing valuable insights into specific aspects of our well-being. Let's explore the different types of DUTCH tests and their respective benefits.
The DUTCH Complete test provides baseline hormone assessment, looking at analysis of sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and their metabolites.
With a comprehensive view of hormonal balance, this test helps identify potential imbalances, such as oestrogen dominance, adrenal dysfunction, or hormonal fluctuations.
It provides a thorough assessment that guides targeted interventions for restoring hormonal harmony and overall well-being.
Building upon the DUTCH Complete test, the DUTCH Plus test goes a step further by incorporating additional measurements. It includes the assessment of melatonin, 8-OHdG (an oxidative stress marker), and six organic acids. This is the test our practitioners use most in clinic with patients, as it provides more value than the baseline assessment of DUTCH Complete.
This expanded panel of markers offers insights into sleep patterns, oxidative stress levels, and cellular energy production. By providing a more holistic assessment of overall health, the DUTCH Plus test allows for a deeper understanding of various factors influencing well-being.
DUTCH Cycle Mapping
While the DUTCH Plus test is the main test we use in clinic, there is another DUTCH test that’s specifically designed for women - the DUTCH Cycle Mapping test. This test offers a comprehensive evaluation of hormone fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle. By tracking oestrogen and progesterone levels at different phases, this test provides detailed insights into the hormonal cycle.
It helps identify any irregularities, imbalances, or abnormalities that may impact reproductive health, mood, or overall well-being. With these insights, targeted interventions can be tailored to address specific concerns and support hormonal balance.
Your practitioner will select the DUTCH test type that best suits your specific needs and health objectives. Whether it's a comprehensive assessment of hormone balance, a holistic evaluation of overall health, or tracking menstrual cycle fluctuations, the DUTCH test provides valuable information that can guide personalised interventions for optimal well-being.
The DUTCH test measures a wide range of hormones and their metabolites, providing a comprehensive assessment of hormonal balance and function. Here are some of the key hormones measured by the DUTCH test:
The DUTCH test uses a combination of saliva collection, dried urine samples, and mass spectrometry to accurately measure and analyse hormone levels. The collected urine samples, both saliva and dried urine spots, are analysed using mass spectrometry. Mass spectrometry is a highly sensitive analytical technique that allows for the identification and quantification of specific molecules, such as hormones and their metabolites, in a sample. This advanced technology enables precise measurement and analysis of hormone levels and provides detailed insights into hormone production, metabolism, and balance.
By combining dried urine samples, and mass spectrometry, the DUTCH test ensures accurate and reliable measurement of hormones and their metabolites. This comprehensive approach allows for a thorough evaluation of your hormonal status and provides functional medicine practitioners with valuable information to guide personalised treatment plans and optimise hormone health.
Traditional hormone tests, conducted using blood or serum samples, provide valuable insights into hormone levels, such as thyroid, sex, adrenal, and pituitary hormones. These tests are useful for assessing whole amounts of the hormones in the blood. This is valuable for diagnosing specific hormone-related conditions such as thyroid disease or calculating the amount of pituitary hormones (E.g. FSH, LH, TSH, ACTH) which stimulate glandular tissues to make hormones.
With respect to reproductive hormones, blood work measures whole amounts, and can measure Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which gives an indication of the free or unbound hormones available. However, blood levels can’t tell us the rate at which the body disposes or metabolises these hormones. This is where the DUTCH test is very useful. For example, a patient may have healthy amounts of oestrogen in the blood, however, the urine metabolites may be low, indicating a reduced clearance of oestrogen, resulting in symptoms of oestrogen dominance.
Blood and urine hormone tests are very complementary and together provide a comprehensive picture of reproductive hormonal health.
When it comes to cortisol, in the DUTCH test, cortisol and its sister compound cortisone are mapped over a day. Blood tests for cortisol take only one data point. Seeing the pattern of cortisol over time, the conversion to cortisone, and the relative abundance of cortisol provides critical information about an individual’s waking response, sleep quality, stress response, and phase of stress adaptation (that is, acute, chronic, burn out).
The adrenal and reproductive hormones like cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, and oestrogen are in a dance with one another. High-stress hormones like cortisol can impact ovarian or testicular hormone production. The DUTCH will give a clear picture of whether chronic stress is impacting reproductive hormones as it is measuring all of it, at once.
The DUTCH test differs from traditional blood and serum tests in the following ways:
Overall, the DUTCH test offers a more comprehensive, convenient, and informative approach to hormone assessment compared to traditional tests. It provides insights into hormone production, metabolism, and imbalances while allowing for convenient sample collection and reliable results during transit.
From identifying hormone imbalances to monitoring changes over time, the DUTCH test provides a range of benefits for patients, including:
The DUTCH test provides valuable insights into an individual's unique hormone profile, allowing healthcare providers to develop personalised treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. This personalised approach can lead to more effective interventions and better health outcomes.
Identifies underlying hormone imbalances
By analysing a wide range of hormones and their metabolites, the DUTCH test helps identify underlying hormone imbalances that may contribute to various health concerns. Some examples of key imbalances seen in various conditions include:
This understanding enables targeted interventions to address these imbalances, potentially alleviating symptoms and improving overall well-being.
Monitors hormone levels
The DUTCH test allows for regular monitoring of hormone levels over time. This longitudinal assessment helps track the effectiveness of treatment interventions and provides valuable feedback on the progress of hormonal balance restoration.
Reveals adrenal function and oestrogen metabolism
The DUTCH test also provides insights into adrenal function and oestrogen metabolism.
By evaluating adrenal function and oestrogen metabolism, the DUTCH test can provide insights into various conditions, for example:
*These serious medical conditions require treatment by specialist medical professionals, and therefore aren't conditions our practitioners treat.
By evaluating cortisol levels and its metabolites, as well as assessing oestrogen metabolites, the test helps assess adrenal health and provides crucial information about how the body processes and clears oestrogen.
Supports reproductive system health
For women with health conditions such as PCOS, menopause, PMS, dysmenorrhoea or for those seeking to optimise their reproductive health, the DUTCH test can be particularly beneficial. For men with low libido, low sperm count, low muscle mass, and early balding, this test can also be helpful. It helps identify hormone imbalances and guide interventions to support reproductive health.
The DUTCH test is a valuable resource for individuals experiencing hormone-related symptoms and those seeking to optimise their hormone levels.
Here are some specific groups who may consider taking the DUTCH test:
Individuals experiencing hormone-related symptoms:
Individuals seeking to optimise their hormone levels:
It's important to note that while these groups can benefit from the DUTCH test, anyone interested in understanding their hormonal health and optimising their well-being can consider taking the test. Consulting with a healthcare professional or functional medicine practitioner can help determine if the DUTCH test is suitable for specific health concerns and individualised treatment plans.
Understanding and optimising our hormones is crucial for overall health and well-being. The DUTCH test provides a revolutionary approach to hormone testing, offering comprehensive insights into hormone levels, adrenal function, and oestrogen metabolism.
By harnessing the valuable information provided by this advanced test, our practitioners can work with you to develop personalised treatment plans to address hormone imbalances and enhance overall wellness. If you're curious about the DUTCH test or any of the other functional tests we offer, contact Melbourne Functional Medicine and a member of our team would be happy to guide you.