The primary goal in hormone replacement is to be as close as possible to the ideal hormone combination for each individual person. Bio-identical hormones can supplement and then replace what lacks in the years leading up to and then continuing through menopause. Unlike mass produced hormones, they are tailor-made to meet individual needs. They are then very closely monitored until just the ideal and lowest dose for each particular patient is discovered. This decreases weight gain, bloating and negative side effects. Saliva as opposed to serum (blood) testing is the ideal way to assess hormone levels.
Blood Testing and Hormone Delivery
Serum (blood) is the most well known body fluid for testing sex hormones produced at any specific time by the body. However, using it to accurately detect hormones following hormone therapy can be problematic.
Some of the commercially available progesterone blood tests show significant cross-reactivity with progesterone metabolites following oral progesterone therapy, causing false-high progesterone levels in serum. Many studies clearly demonstrate that most commercial blood tests overestimate the true progesterone levels, especially in women using oral progesterone. Recent research indicates that saliva testing is actually the optimal way to measure the body’s own naturally produced hormones as well as hormone replacement levels.
Saliva Testing and Hormone Delivery
When the sex hormones are produced by the body and released into the bloodstream, or they originate from some form of replacement (commonly oral, topical, vaginal, or troche), most of the active hormones (97–98%) are bound up by specific proteins. Only a small fraction (about 2%–3%) of the active hormone is released from these binding components into the tissues. Saliva is different from blood in that most of the interfering metabolites resulting from hormone therapy are filtered out by the salivary gland. Therefore, only the active hormones are allowed to enter saliva. Thus, salivary testing is more representative of not only the amount of the truly active hormone present in the bloodstream, but also of its actual availability to target tissues.
Hormone levels in saliva therefore represent the quantity of the hormones that are currently available to target tissues and actively exerting specific effects on the body. Salivary hormone levels, therefore, will relate to specific symptoms of hormone excesses or deficiencies. Research has shown clear correlations between salivary hormone levels and symptoms. The rationale for saliva testing is well documented.
Our Hormone Balance Programs utilize saliva testing to assess hormone levels in the most accurate way possible. Visit our Hormone Balance sections for more information.