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Adrenal Hormone Imbalance and Potential Disorders

  • Neurological conditions such as Chronic fatigue syndrome, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, memory loss 

  • Metabolic disorders such as menstrual irregularities, obesity, thyroid diseases 

  • Cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, heart diseases 

  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, reflux 

  • Skin disorders such as eczematous dermatitis, psoriasis, decreased skin elasticity 

  • Inflammatory and Immune dysfunction such as more prone to infections, autoimmune disease 

Who Should Test

Individuals presenting with signs or symptoms of prolonged stress or chronic metabolic dysfunction are candidates for adrenal testing. Test results may suggest that a patient is actively under stress or that a prolonged stress response has progressed into a dysfunctional hormonal pattern. For example persistent stress may lead to a decrease in cortisol in the morning when it is needed most and/or an increase at night when levels should be declining.

The Adrenal Stress Profile measures cortisol levels at strategic times during the day (to assess deviations from normal 24-hour rhythms) and measures the most abundant form of DHEA known as DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S). Only free (unbound) circulating and biologically active hormones are measured in this profile.

The adrenal stress profile provides six vials and a plastic straw for collection. While only five collections are required, an optional sixth collection is recommended for deeper insights into adrenal function.

1st collection – within 30 minutes of waking up, before 8 am 
2nd collection – 1.5 hours after initial collection, before 10 am 
3rd collection – noon to 1 pm 
4th collection – approximately 5 pm 
5th collection – bedtime, before midnight 
6th collection (optional) – for best results, collect 6th sample approx. 2 hours prior to patient's normal waking time

Chronic stress ultimately disrupts the circadian rhythm of the body. This disruption can be assessed by measuring levels of the stress hormone cortisol (increased during stress) and the “de-stress” hormone DHEA (reduced during stress).In this DHEA and cortisol are inversely related, precursors (made from cholesterol) that would ordinarily be used to make DHEA are taken and shifted into cortisol production. The resulting increase in the cortisol: DHEA ratio reflects a state of “emergency” versus a state of “repair and relax.” Assessing the balance and ratio of these two hormones provides insight into how the body is handling and responding to stress. This profile may also identify insufficient cortisol production related to a complex response to chronic stress.17 Evaluating several samples over time can help identify changes in hormone patterns that reflect a maladaptive response to stress and may provide guidance for therapeutic intervention.