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Hormone Testing Methods


Routine blood tests: Tests for the protein bound form of hormones. Protein bound is the inactive circulating reservoir of hormone. More than 99% of most hormones are in the bound form.  

Serum free testing: The free fraction is the unbound physiologically active form of the hormone. Although free fractions can be tested via blood tests, it is not routinely done because it is very expensive.  

Salivary testing: Test for the free physiologically active form of the hormone.  It is far less expensive than serum free testing.  Is salivary testing accurate?  Confusion still exists over the reliability of saliva testing and here is why. Initial studies compared serum protein bound tests with saliva free fraction tests and found poor correlations. Further studies that compared serum free fraction tests with saliva free fraction tests found very close correlation. In other words, appropriate comparison studies between free fraction hormones through blood and saliva showed both testing methods were accurate. As a side note, salivary testing costs approximately 10 to 20 times less than free serum testing.  

Urine tests: Tests for hormone metabolites after liver breakdown and excretion. Urine tests do not measure free hormone fractions.  

Hair mineral analysis: This is a test of intracellular minerals. Hair analysis tells us nothing about the levels of hormones in the blood or saliva. Hair analysis intracellular mineral patterns are an indication of how effectively the hormones are delivering their messages at the cellular level which would indicate and is an indication of receptor sensitivity and cellular responsiveness. It is very important to understand bound hormone levels are determined through serum bound testing. Free hormone levels are determined through saliva free fraction testing. Metabolized hormones are determined through urine testing. Receptor sensitivity and cellular response is determined through hair testing. All represent different methods used by the body to maintain control and balance over its biochemical messengers as they moved through the system. As a side note, any hormone testing whether it be blood or saliva, bound or free, will only detect bioidentical human hormones, not synthetic or horse hormones as in Premarin. Therefore, there is no accurate way to properly dose or monitor the use of these alien hormones in the human body.