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Nov 29

Biotin (Vitamin B7) and Blood Test Interference

Biotin (Vitamin B7) interferes with certain blood tests.  Could your test results be less than accurate because of biotin?


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Nov 22

The Importance of Reliable Hormone Testing

When working properly, hormones help us live happier and healthier lives. They’re a normal part of bodily function and are responsible for important processes like our ability to sleep soundly, concentrate easily, maintain healthy bone density, have normal sexual functions, and can even positively influence our moods. When hormones are not in balance or not working as intended, they can negatively affect each of those processes and cause us a wide range of other physical and emotional distresses.

In order to provide long-term protection against osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, breast cancer, and other disorders, it’s important to have your hormone levels tested to ensure they are at optimal levels. It’s much easier to receive help and make the necessary changes to improve your overall wellness once you know specifically which hormones are out of balance.

How Are Hormones Tested?

Measuring your hormone levels can be performed with several different tests, but the two most common are blood and saliva testing. Unfortunately, hormone levels from blood tests mostly indicate inactive hormones. For these and other reasons, ALHC believes blood tests are not the best way to test hormone levels.

In blood testing, samples are drawn and plasma is then separated from the sample to measure hormone levels. These measurements are of the hormones bound to carrier proteins as well as unbound hormones. Blood collection is considered an invasive method hormone testing.

At ALHC, we believe saliva testing to be the most accurate method of testing hormone levels because it more accurately reflects any absorbed and bioavailable hormones. Active hormone levels are important to measure as they help identify any excesses or deficiencies that may be causing your symptoms.

Accurate hormone readings are particularly important when using topical hormone therapy. Hormones are delivered to tissues by red blood cells, but any plasma that’s tested doesn’t contain red blood cell membranes. As a result, blood testing doesn’t accurately reflect current hormone levels from topical treatments. Studies show that this method of delivery results in increased tissue hormone levels (thus measurable in saliva), but there’s not a parallel increase in plasma levels. Because of this, blood testing should not be used to monitor topical hormone therapy.

What Hormones Can Be Tested?

Abundant Life Health Care tests for a variety of hormones. Each plays a unique role inside the bodies of both women and men, and must be properly balanced to prevent symptoms and promote long-term wellness.

Estriol (E3)
Estriol is considered the weakest of the three estrogens. It has been found to provide some protection from the stronger estrogens in the body. It can be used to control some of the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and insomnia.

Estradiol (E2)
Estradiol is the strongest form of estrogen. When a deficiency exists it can cause hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory loss, and strong changes in mood.

Progesterone
Progesterone is the bio-identical hormone known to block or protect against the proliferative effects of Estradiol (E2). It is protective for breast and endometrial tissue. When replaced in physiologic doses, it can stabilize mood, increase mineralization of bone, reduce PMS and post-menopausal symptoms, and decrease cancer risk. In males, it is protective to the prostate gland. It’s best supplemented topically or sublingually.

Testosterone
Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and is produced in the testes. In women, it is produced in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It’s essential for sexual function, cardio-protection, stamina, muscle strength, bone density, and stable sugar metabolism.

DHEA
DHEA is an adrenal hormone which may also be converted to testosterone and estrogen. DHEA supplementation, in addition to supporting adrenal health / energy, can optimize testosterone levels in women.

Cortisol
Cortisol is the adrenal gland’s primary glucocorticoid, secreted in a known 24-hour pattern called a diurnal rhythm. It’s essential for carbohydrate metabolism and immune modulation. It is foundational for energy production and optimal thyroid function.

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

The most effective way to diagnose hormone imbalances is through saliva testing. Saliva tests gives us the most accurate snapshot of the active hormone levels currently in your body. We can then correct these imbalances using bio-identical hormones, nutrition, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your symptoms. In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness. 

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Nov 07

How Can Men Tell If They Have Low Testosterone?

Hormonal imbalances don’t just affect women. In fact, most men will experience a decline in testosterone levels at some point during their life. Declining testosterone levels are commonly seen in men starting in their 40s, and levels continue to decline approximately 10% per decade. The process is often gradual, but can have significant consequences. Low testosterone in men is a medical condition known as andropause, which means low androgen hormone (i.e. testosterone) level. By the time men reach their 80s, some level of andropause occurrence reaches 90% of men.

Andropause naturally occurs when testosterone production declines while the levels of testosterone-binding proteins increases. The result is that levels of “free testosterone” available to the body are lowered. Unless your doctor is specifically assessing testosterone levels, it can be easy to overlook or mistaken for other conditions like depression.

This is unfortunate because of the important role testosterone plays inside men’s bodies. In men, testosterone helps maintain both physical and mental health by increasing energy, preventing fatigue, maintaining normal sex drive, and increasing strength of structural tissues. The first step toward resolving hormonal imbalances like andropause is to identify the symptoms you may be experiencing. 

Low Testosterone Symptoms in Men

Symptoms commonly associated with decreased testosterone levels deficiency include:

  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Moodiness, irritability, & depression
  • Reduced critical thinking ability and difficulty concentrating
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Reduced body hair
  • Reduced strength and stamina
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Aches and pains
  • Difficulty recalling memories

What Other Hormonal Imbalances Can Men Experience?

Low testosterone is not the only hormone imbalance that a man can experience during his life. It’s not uncommon for an excess amount of estrogen to be discovered with accompanying andropause. Excessive estrogen in men can be associated with prostate gland diseases, such as benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate gland cancer. Excess estrogen in men is also associated with altered mood and metabolism.

It’s important to resolve testosterone deficiencies and other hormonal imbalances before they can cause long-term consequences. Long-term testosterone deficiency can be associated with insulin resistance and diabetes.

Some of the ways men can counter andropause symptoms and raise their testosterone levels include the following:

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

The most effective way to assess your current hormone levels and identify any imbalances like andropause is to perform a saliva test. These tests are more helpful than blood tests because they allow us to determine your active tissue levels rather than the inactive hormones found in blood tests. Saliva testing also has the advantage of giving us the average of your hormone levels over the course of a day, as opposed to a one-time level of a blood test.

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your symptoms. In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness and help provide you with solutions to improving your overall health.

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Nov 01

Could You Have Estrogen Dominance?

It’s a common belief that estrogen deficiency resulting from ovarian failure is the primary cause of menopause, but did you know that estrogen dominance is more frequently the culprit of troubling symptoms? Estrogen dominance occurs when a woman’s body has too much estrogen relative to progesterone.

In “Estrogen Dominance is Really Progesterone Deficiency,” Dr. Jay Mead points out that, “although estrogen levels do decline with age (approximately 40 - 60% at menopause), more relevant is the fact that progesterone levels plummet by close to 90% at menopause from premenopausal levels.”

Under the impression that estrogen deficiency is causing their symptoms, many women go to see their doctor about estrogen replacement. However, the symptoms of estrogen dominance can begin even in your thirties and continue as you approach perimenopause. Identifying if your symptoms are caused by estrogen dominance is an important step toward receiving the correct treatment.

Estrogen Dominance Symptoms

There are a broad range of symptoms that can arise when too much (rather than too little) estrogen is produced in the body. The symptoms of estrogen dominance can last for 10-15 years as women approach perimenopause. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings (can include depression and irritability)
  • Weight gain around the abdomen and hips
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Hair loss
  • Bloating from water retention
  • Memory loss, or difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased libido
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Cold hands and feet (symptoms of thyroid dysfunction)
  • Difficulty sleeping

What Can Cause Estrogen Dominance?

In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen is the dominant hormone for the first two weeks leading up to ovulation. In the final two weeks, that estrogen is balanced out by progesterone. 

Where problems arise is when women enter perimenopause and experience cycles without ovulation. When this happens, estrogen isn’t balanced out by progesterone and symptoms occur. Other contributing factors of estrogen dominance can also include:

  • Impaired immune function
  • Excess levels of stress
  • Excess body fat
  • A low-quality diet containing excess refined carbohydrates

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

The most effective way to diagnose hormone imbalances like estrogen dominance is through saliva testing. This gives us the most accurate snapshot of the “active” hormone levels currently in your body. We can then correct these imbalances using bio-identical hormones, nutrition, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your symptoms. In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness. 

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Sep 27

Digital Detox, Part 2

I'm planning a digital detox.  Read about my guidelines and join my social experiment!


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