The Adrenal Check test measures the levels of cortisol collected from saliva at various times of the day, as well as the level of DHEA-S and helps evaluate adrenal gland function and hormone balance. When “adrenal exhaustion” occurs, the underlying causes must be highlighted through additional lab testing and by investigating the environmental and lifestyle factors that may play a role. At the same time the adrenals must be supported by nutritional and lifestyle modifications.
The Adrenal Check test measures the following:
1. A daily cycle of cortisol, known as "diurnal cortisol"
2. DHEA-S levels
3. The Cortisol/DHEA-S Ratio
Cortisol can also be referred to as “the stress hormone.” Repeatedly high salivary cortisol levels throughout the day may indicate excessive glucocorticoid production, and an inability to adapt to continued stress. Levels normally start high in the morning and decline as the day continues. They may fluctuate high or low at any of the four measurement times due to acute or chronic stress. Sustained high or low levels are often found in individuals with an imbalance in adrenal function.
DHEA is a testosterone precursor and is the most abundant circulating steroid hormone. DHEA is produced predominately by the adrenal glands, the gonads, and the brain, where it functions predominantly as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the androgen and estrogen sex steroids. DHEA-S is the sulfated form. In blood it approaches levels 300 times that of free DHEA and shows no significant diurnal variation. DHEA-S has important functions in the synthesis of the sex hormones, energy production and protection against the degenerative effects of aging. It can affect insulin sensitivity and plays a role both in thyroid function and protein synthesis.
Understanding the Cortisol / DHEA-S Ratio
This ratio, which normally ranges from 5:1 to 6:1, is an indicator of the adrenal output of cortisol and the androgens. If the ratio is higher than normal it is due to adrenal dysfunction. When the body experiences chronic stress, pregnenolone, the precursor to all other steroidal hormones, begins to overproduce cortisol at the expense of all the other steroidal hormones (DHEA and its metabolites, including progesterone, testosterone, and the estrogens). This creates an elevated cortisol to DHEA ratio. If the ratio is lower than normal for that age, and the DHEA-S level is within the normal range, it is probably due to the maintenance of DHEA-S output with advancing age. However, if the ratio for that age is lower than expected, it is probably due to high DHEA levels, low cortisol, or both of these.
Sample Adrenal Check test report (optimized for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari)