Are Your Hormones a Problem?

If you want to know if a relative estrogen excess or other hormonal imbalance is a possible factor in your health, you can find out through a simple saliva test. Called the Aeron LifeCycles saliva assay report, the test can be ordered by both laypersons and physicisns and measures up to 8 different hormones. The results are plotted on graphs for easy interpretation, and changing levels can be plotted over time on the same graph, if supplementation or subsequent testing are done.

Although hormones are present in saliva only in fractional amounts compared to the blood, "clinically relevant and highly accurate levels of hormones can be determined in saliva," says John Kells, president of Aeron LifeCycles in San Leandro, California. "Saliva testing provides a means to establish whether or not your hormone levels are within the expected normal range for your age."

Kells says most of the key hormones at play in a man's or woman's body--estrogen, testosterone, DHEA--decline as we age, leaving us more susceptible to reduced physiological functioning and possibly disease. "The goal of hormone replacement is to prevent illness and enhance the quality of life," says Kells, but he notes that "there is a fair bit about this that is not yet known."

The saliva assay has several advantages over traditional blood testing for hormones. It is painless and non-invasive. And tests can be performed simply at any time or place. As DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels are highest in the morning, it is far more convenient to be able to test them at home (and then immediately ship the saliva sample to Aeron's laboratory) than to drive to a physician's office possibily at a later time when hormone levels have naturally fallen off a little.

As the test is less expensive than blood testing, you can do frequent testing to monitor changes (brought on by interventions such as diet, exercise, herbs, stress reduction, or acupuncture) and to adjust dosages of over-the-counter hormones such as natural progesterone or melatonin. In general, it is best to establish a baseline level of saliva hormones first, then after intervention (which can include hormone supplementation), test a second time to measure the changes.

For more about hormone saliva testing, contact Aeron LifeCycles, 1933 David Street, Suite 310, San Leandro, CA 94577, telno 800-631-7900 or 510-729-0375, fax 510-729-0383, website

Another source is BioHealth Diagnoistics, 1-800-750-2000, website

The saliva hormone test is FDA-approved; cost varies according to how many hormones are tested.

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