5 Reasons We Prefer Saliva Testing VS Standard Blood Testing (Specifically for Measuring: Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA, Testosterone & Cortisol)
One of the most common questions we get from our clients is: "How is saliva testing different from the standard blood test I received from my doctor?"
Typically, the main type of hormone tests provided by traditional doctors (because they are covered by insurance) are standard blood tests, which unfortunately do not measure free, 'bioavailable' I.e. active hormone levels, and therefore do not shed nearly as much light on the key imbalances behind the symptoms we are actively experiencing!
We FREQUENTLY hear from clients that everything came back "normal" after having blood work done, even though they feel anything BUT normal (which is pretty crazy making, right!?). Alternatively, our saliva tests provide comprehensive reports that are easy to understand, detecting specific imbalance along with levels that are technically in the 'normal range,' but would soon become too high or too low if left unaddressed. You see, "normal" is not always optimal, and it is important to go deeper when analyzing potential root causes behind symptoms of imbalance.
NOTE: certain hormones (i.e. thyroid and vitamin D) cannot be adequately measured in saliva. In these cases, bloodspot testing is suggested (which can also be provided in an at-home kit).
Keep reading to learn WHY we prefer saliva testing OVER standard blood tests!
As far as using saliva instead of traditional blood tests – science proves it far more telling than the latter. Here are the primary reasons:
#1. Saliva testing allows convenient home collection that is pain free and non-invasive, thus does not create a stress response (i.e. skin pricked with a needle for a blood draw!) that can skew test results.
#2. Saliva tests measure “bioavailable" hormone levels that are active in the target tissues of the body (where hormones do their work!) and thus, results correlate much more closely with reported symptoms. Standard blood tests measure inactive hormones still bound to carrier proteins in the blood stream.
#3. Standard blood tests do not show us the PG/E2 ratio, a very useful measure for determining estrogen dominance, an imbalance characterized by an excess of estrogen to progesterone linked to heavy painful periods, weight gain, bloating, PMS/mood swings, hypothyroid and higher risks for breast cancer.
#4. Saliva allows stress-free collection of cortisol samples at 4 specific time points over the course of one day for more accurate charting of normal adrenal function and the the diurnal pattern. Cortisol or “stress” patterns (a major indicator of adrenal function), cannot be accurately measured in a standard blood draw using needles that trigger a stress response and skew test results.
#5. Saliva samples are collected during a specific time in your cycle (for those with regular cycles), generally days 19-21 following ovulation, when hormones are surging in the luteal phase. However, those with no cycles or irregular cycles can accurately test any day of the month they are not bleeding. Men may also test any day of the month.
Note: There are other ways to measure hormones - such as in urine, which is far more accurate than standard blood testing as well. However, we still prefer saliva testing, and do not currently work with urine (Dutch) testing. We also want to acknowledge that some doctors measure 'bioavailable' hormone levels in blood, but this is not typically the case in a standard blood draw.
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Interested in testing your hormone levels and getting started on an all-natural rebalancing plan? Check out our at-home hormone testing + consulting packages HERE.