Hormones are complex. They’re produced throughout your body by nearly a dozen glands and organs, and are collectively known as the endocrine system.
When in balance they interact in an elegantly intricate formula — a mix that determines growth, development, mental function and physical function at every age. When they’re out of balance, growing evidence shows that it can cause anything from fatigue to infertility, headaches to depression, weight gain to loss of libido.
Lake Country Aesthetics wants you to feel your best. We offer hormone testing to figure out what exactly is out of balance, and then offer supplements to help correct hormonal issues.
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Men at mid-life are just as susceptible to an age-related drop in hormone production as their female counterparts. Andropause, the so-called male menopause, signifies the retreat of the key male hormone testosterone.
As a man ages, his body naturally makes less testosterone. In fact, by the time a man is in his mid-forties, testosterone levels can be down by 40%. Lifestyle factors such as excessive stress, weight gain and lack of exercise can lower levels even further – impacting stamina, drive and virility.
Men tend to notice a subtle downward shift in strength and energy first, followed by lack of enthusiasm for life’s challenges like work and competition. A man may also lose interest in sex. The hidden imbalances contributing to these factors generally include:
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both women and men in the United States, and yet many of the risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease can be avoided or reduced. Obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are significant contributors to increased cardiovascular disease risk.
With the current pandemic of COVID-19, cardiometabolic health is emerging as a major risk factor for poor outcomes to COVID-19 infection. Testing and modifying cardiometabolic risk factors with appropriate treatment can help protect the cardiovascular system from attack.
What is Cardiometabolic Risk?
Cardiometabolic risk includes disorders related to obesity and insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease. Risk factors usually appear in a cluster; when one risk factor is present, you should check for others too. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic people with higher blood pressure and cholesterol are more likely to be obese. Most of these patients are at risk of developing heart disease due to obesity and related metabolic problems.
Cardiometabolic risk factors:
*Tested in ZRTs CardioMetabolic Profile in dried blood spot
Individuals with one or more of the above risk factors, even if they are not diabetic, have a greater chance of developing other problems. Testing to confirm cardiometabolic risk factors can help assess the extent of overall health risks due to serious and/or under-diagnosed conditions. Proper management of cardiometabolic risk factors can support the overall wellness picture and provide effective tools for improved lifestyle and longevity.
A large number of women today are having difficulty trying to become pregnant. In fact, CDC research shows that 6.7 million women in the US are unable to have a child.
While nearly half of infertility cases in women can be attributed to physical causes such as not producing an egg or problems with the uterine lining, many cases are left unexplained. In the absence of a physical cause, female infertility may be explained by something as simple as a hormonal imbalance.
Common hormone-related causes of female infertility often involve the following scenarios:
Heavy metal exposure is on the rise. Common sources include cigarettes, seafood, rice, well water, and dental fillings.
These toxic elements can significantly increase our risk of developing conditions like dementia, infertility, diabetes and cancer. They are also known to cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain, as well as the cardiovascular, nervous and endocrine systems.
Essential elements are abundant, too, and only healthy when they are within optimal ranges. Nutrients like copper, iodine, magnesium, selenium and zinc are critical for enzymes that synthesize neurotransmitters and activate hormones. Bromine and lithium, while not currently classified as “essential” elements, have been shown to play a positive role in health but are also potentially toxic at excessive levels.
Why Test Heavy Metals & Essential Elements?
Getting too much, and sometimes too little, of various elements has consequences for our overall health.
Who should consider heavy metals and essential elements testing? Anyone who:
Most hormones are produced by a group of glands known collectively as the endocrine system. Even though these glands are located in various parts of the body, they are considered one system because of their similar functions and relationship to each other.
Hormones are secreted into the bloodstream by these glands. From there, they travel to all parts of the body playing the role of chemical messengers turning specific target tissues on or off. Because they can’t be stored in the cells, hormones do their work as they pass through and then they’re gone. As a result, hormones must be made and released at the precise time they’re needed. To keep things functioning at their best, the body must constantly fine-tune hormone release to keep levels within proper limits.
Because of the complexity of these interactions, a hormonal imbalance rarely stems from only one type of hormone. More often, the problem involves a series of hormones that are out of balance. In addition, a disruption in the balance of hormones produced by one gland or set of glands can cause other glands or systems to dysfunction. Before you know it, you’re feeling miserable on multiple fronts.
How to Achieve Hormone Balance
To restore the vital balance of hormones, we first need a detailed, accurate measurement of hormone levels. Not just numbers, but an assessment that offers real meaning.
With almost 20 years of experience and results from over 10 million tests, ZRT Laboratory is a recognized leader in informative, safe and meaningful hormone testing. Our reports include customized comments specific to your lab results. We also are the only lab to offer reference ranges based on patient age, reproductive states and levels of supplementation.
35% of the world suffers from iodine deficiency. Knowing your level is the first step to better health.
Iodine is a difficult element to get naturally in the diet, which is why much of the world has addressed iodine deficiency by fortifying foods and providing iodized salt – but iodine deficiency clearly persists in populations, including over 75 million people in the US.
Why Does Iodine Matter?
This nutritional element is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Therefore, its deficiency may contribute to hypothyroidism, goiter, pregnancy complications, and decreased IQ and cretinism in children. Even moderate deficiency has been linked with breast cancer risk and infertility.
Essential elements are abundant and only healthy when they are within optimal ranges. Iodine is paramount among these, but other important elements include copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc – which are critical for enzymes that synthesize neurotransmitters and activate hormones.
Menopause is not a single point in time when hormone production is switched off, but a gradual decline that brings an end to female fertility. During menopause, a woman’s levels of estrogen and progesterone diminish – leading to a lack of menstrual periods.
A woman is considered to be in menopause when she’s had no menstrual cycles for 12 months.
The right balance of hormones is vital to a woman’s health. But in menopause, when levels are dropping, a deficiency of one hormone can trigger a relative excess of another and result in common imbalances such as:
Estrogen Dominance or Low Progesterone
Results in mood swings, migraines, fat gain in hips and thighs
Low Estrogen or Fluctuations of Estrogen
Triggers hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, foggy thinking, memory lapse & vaginal dryness
Low Testosterone or DHEA
Leads to decreases in bone or muscle mass, metabolism, energy, strength, stamina, exercise tolerance & libido
Results in insomnia, anxiety, sugar cravings, feeling tired but wired & increased belly fat
Causes chronic fatigue, low energy, food and sugar cravings, poor exercise tolerance or recovery & low immune reserves
Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can impact neurotransmitter levels. For instance, a drop in estrogen can result in a drop in serotonin.
Changes in estrogen levels can lead to thyroid symptoms like slowed metabolism and always feeling cold. In fact, many women experiencing menopause will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
Low Vitamin D
Sufficient levels of Vitamin D, estrogen and testosterone are important for maintaining bone health in the menopause years.
A month-long assessment of a woman's key reproductive hormones.
Evidence shows that hormonal imbalances can be the root cause of many chronic health issues, and imbalances that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle are no exception.
Conditions that can be influenced by a woman’s menstrual hormones include premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and infertility. Out-of-balance levels can contribute to symptoms such as migraines, mood swings, and heavy bleeding or painful periods.
When hormone testing conducted on a single day during the luteal phase doesn’t provide enough diagnostic information, a month-long hormone assessment can be helpful. This detailed, multi-point map provides a complete picture of a woman’s levels over the course of one menstrual cycle resulting in the ability to create more precise treatment plans.
Menstrual cycle mapping can by key to assessing conditions such as:
Luteal Phase Defect:
Women suffering luteal phase defect tend to have lower LH and estrogen peaks, indicating "weak" ovulation, for example if the follicle producing the egg did not mature properly. The usual peak in progesterone levels during the luteal phase is much lower than normal and starts to decline approximately 7 days prior to the start of the next period, which comes several days earlier than expected. Luteal phase defect is one of the most common causes of infertility.
When ovulation does not occur, LH levels are consistently elevated. Estrogen levels are consistent and lower as compared to an ovulatory cycle and progesterone levels are consistently low. Testing helps providers find out if a woman has an adequate LH surge to induce ovulation and takes away the guesswork as to when they are entering their luteal phase.
Cyclic hormone-related symptoms can include the constellation of symptoms known as Premenstrual Syndrome – PMS – that may include severe headaches. Testing highlights estrogen or progesterone deficiency or excess at key points in the cycle and helps get to the root of these hormone-related symptoms.
Learn if you’re in the 86% of Americans who have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers used by the nervous system to relay information from one nerve to another.
Optimal neurotransmitter balance is required to maintain proper health. Imbalances can cause the brain and the body to be over- or under-stimulated, producing neurological or psychological symptoms.
An Unmatched Collection of Tests:
ZRT has determined that while parent neurotransmitters are helpful in assessing precursor availability, interpreting results based on those levels alone can result in undertreatment, treatment of the wrong part of the system, or overtreatment with direct precursors. It’s only by looking at the parent neurotransmitters with downstream metabolites that you can tell whether there is a systemic pattern.
Given the importance of these levels to correct interpretation of neurotransmitter results and subsequent treatment plans, ZRT Laboratory includes a range of 14 neurotransmitters and metabolites in its testing. This essential collection of tests is available only from ZRT – and not from any other lab.
How a Dysregulated Nervous System Impacts Health:
Genetics, environment, chemicals and nutritional deficiencies are a few factors that can impact neurotransmitter production. Once out of balance, the nervous system begins to compensate – which, in time, can lead to neurological or psychological symptoms.
Some of the more common psychological conditions today are known to be accompanied by neurotransmitter imbalances. However, it’s also possible for individuals to present with similar symptoms yet have unique foundational imbalances. Testing helps clarify these root issues.
Common neurotransmitter-related causes of health issues often involve the following scenarios:
A Dynamic Duo: Testing Hormones with Neurotransmitters:
In the neurological system, hormones are synergistic with neurotransmitters – modulating their production, signaling and metabolism. Because of this complex interplay, testing hormones and neurotransmitters together is an ideal way to generate a more precise clinical assessment.
This combined testing gives practitioners a diagnostic edge over the traditional psychological inventory and offers the advantage of zeroing in on which therapies are best suited for individual patients – cutting down on the time-consuming process of trial-and-error for identifying treatment options.
Testing Elements with Neurotransmitters:
Heavy metals are damaging to brain health. They disrupt neurotransmitter function and create oxidative stress that is detrimental to nerve cells, contributing to mood disorders, poor memory and dementia. Identifying exposure to heavy metals may be key to assessing and treating mood disorders and preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
In contrast, nutritional elements are generally protective for brain health. Lithium acts directly on the brain by slowing the progression of dementia and stabilizing mood, while elements like iodine and selenium act indirectly by supporting healthy thyroid and brain function.
60 million suffer symptoms of insomnia. Find out whether hormones contribute to your sleep loss.
In a perfect world, the master stress hormone cortisol should be in sync with the master sleep hormone melatonin. Each hormone counter-balances the other in a precise rhythm – when cortisol is high melatonin should be low, and when melatonin is high cortisol should be low.
For many, this rhythm is out of balance. With an estimated 60 million Americans suffering from some degree of sleep loss, it’s surprising that many are still unaware of the connection between hormones and sleep.
The Downside of Chronic Sleep Loss:
According to the Department of Health & Human Services, over a third of U.S. adults report daytime sleepiness so severe it interferes with work, decision making and social functioning.
In fact, depression, obesity and diabetes are just three of the long term consequences of sleep deprivation – defined as six or fewer hours per night.
Common hormone-related causes of sleep loss often involve the following scenarios:
The adrenal glands, otherwise known as the “stress glands,” enable our bodies to cope with stress and survive. Shaped like two tiny pyramids, they sit atop the kidneys and from this central location mobilize the response to changes in our environment.
Whether stress comes from outside in the form of a natural disaster, or from within like the anxiety we experience before public speaking, it’s the adrenals’ job to help us adapt to the situation.
They accomplish this by secreting key hormones:
Adrenal glands that are in balance produce adequate amounts of hormones to power us through the day. These hormones impact just about every process in the body, from energy production and immune activity to cellular maintenance and repair. They are key regulators of glucose, insulin and inflammation, and play a major role in bone and muscle building, mood and mental focus, stamina, sex drive and sleep cycles.
Adrenal glands that are out of balance can lead to:
30 million adults suffer from thyroid imbalance. Don’t let dysfunction go undiagnosed.
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland that sits behind and below the Adam’s apple. A wide range of factors from hormone imbalances to mineral deficiencies and environmental pollutants can interfere with thyroid production, leading to health problems.
Dysfunction is Notoriously Under-Diagnosed:
The American Thyroid Association estimates that as many as 60% of people with thyroid disease are not aware of it. Statistics show that women are seven times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems, facing as much as a one in five chance of developing a problem particularly during the peri-menopause years when hormones start to fluctuate.
Thyroid disease or dysfunction can explain a wide variety of symptoms. Do these sound familiar?
Levels of key thyroid hormones can indicate whether there is a thyroid imbalance. These include:
Hormones that don’t break down properly in the body can increase the risk for certain cancers – like breast cancer.
Urinary hormone metabolites testing provides a unique diagnostic view that no other hormone testing offers.
Because it assesses both parent hormones and their corresponding metabolites, it reveals how the body is breaking down key hormones like estrogens, progestogens, androgens, cortisol and melatonin.
This testing gives insight into whether we are fully detoxifying our hormones, which is important because some hormones can be carcinogenic if they don’t break down properly – leaving us more at risk for a variety of diseases, like cancer.
Why the Focus on Estrogen Metabolism?
A growing conversation in the medical community centers on estrogen metabolism and the risk for hormone-driven cancers. With every published study, there is increasing evidence that the amount of estrogen we make and how our bodies process (metabolize) this estrogen has significant implications for cancer risk. In women, this is breast cancer. In men, it’s prostate cancer.
Measuring hormone levels, as well as the resulting by-products (metabolites) is a simple, non-invasive way to better understand our risks.
When is it a good idea to consider urinary hormone metabolite testing? In cases where someone has:
With 44 unique markers, ZRT’s urine hormone profiles are more comprehensive than any other lab’s.
ZRT assesses a total of 13 estrogens, including 2-Methoxy and 2-Hydroxy, 4-Hydroxy and 4-Methoxy and 16a-Hydroxy estrogens. We test more 4-Hydroxy metabolites than any other lab.
ZRT assesses a total of 8 androgens, which is more than most labs offer.BPA:
ZRT is one of few labs to include an assessment of BPA in its urine hormone testing.
ZRT provides diurnal patterns for both cortisol and cortisone, which help get to the root of stress-related issues. It’s also ideal for those unable to collect a saliva sample for diurnal cortisol.
Diurnal Melatonin: ZRT is the only lab to include a diurnal pattern for melatonin, which helps evaluate sleep-related issues.
Weight gain & obesity affect 69% of us. Testing can reveal whether hormones are the root cause of your weight gain.
Many know that maintaining an ideal weight is difficult despite the best efforts with diet and exercise. What most don’t know is that an undetected hormone imbalance can be the missing link – sabotaging our hard work to stay slim.
The Weight Management kit is ideal for women or men struggling with weight issues, menopause or andropause, women with polycystic ovaries, and anyone wanting to get to the root of general health concerns.
What’s the Connection Between Hormones and Weight?
Hormones are key players in regulating weight, metabolism, blood sugar, insulin, and when and where the body stores fat. As we age, shifting hormones trigger numerous symptoms of imbalance – including unexplained weight gain.
Common hormone-related causes of weight gain often involve the following scenarios: