TESTING SERUM VS SALIVA

Have you picked up some B12 or Vitamin D because you heard it was good for you? Most of us would say yes, but ask yourself, have you had it tested? And if you have had it tested, do you know what level is optimal for you, and what dose you need to get there?

            If the answer is no, that is ok. While B12 is water soluble, and you will likely not have any toxic build it up, because it is getting excreted out of your body through urination. Vitamin D is fat soluble, and thus can accumulate in the fat, muscle, and liver. Toxicity of Vitamin D is extremely rare, but important to be aware of if you were taking high doses for a long time and not having it monitored.

Now there are many other things such as hormones, cholesterol, liver enzymes, thyroid, and inflammatory markers that also should be tested at least yearly, or more frequently if you were working on a plan to optimize those areas. When testing is thought of, we first think blood. However, blood has limitations. For our hormones to travel around, they need to be protein bound. An analogy to think of is that you are the hormone and for you to to get to point A to B, you need to get in your car seat, which will be the protein, and this this how you are transported around. Now when you are in your car seat, you are not available to do other work, your stuck, in your seat. Similarly, the hormone which is protein bound, specifically to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin for estrogen and testosterone, is not able to bind to receptor sites all around the body to do other work.

            This is where we then like to look at the “free” hormone, which is able to do work in our body by being able to bind to receptor sites, since it is not bound to sex hormone binding globulin. While measuring free and total testosterone is readily available and affordable, when it comes to estradiol, a form of estrogen, measuring the free hormone is generally cost prohibitive, thus we mostly just look at estradiol levels as a whole.

If you want to measure estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and cortisol all in the free, and unbound form, salivary testing maybe a great option. This method of testing has you collect saliva 1 to 4 times per day by spitting in tube. Price ranges from $100-300 on average, and is not covered by insurance. Another benefit, is that if someone is on topical hormones, either a patch or cream, this hormone gets bound to the red blood cell surface, which is only minimally enters into the serum, but can be fully evaluated in saliva.

“Testing provides accurate assessment and is a great tool to help your doctor make a tailored plan to meet your needs...”

            There are other modes of testing, depending on what you are looking at, from stool, to urine, even breath tests, saliva or blood serum. Testing provides accurate assessment and is a great tool to help your doctor make a tailored plan to meet your needs, it is also important though that symptoms are always a part of that conversation. Many patients seek Naturopathic doctors, because they’ve been told by other doctors “all your labs look good”, yet they don’t feel good, so be sure your doctor is listening to you!

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