Hormone Metabolite Testing: What It Is and When to Get It
Hormone metabolite testing can provide important insights into cancer risks
In addition to knowing the amount of hormones your body is producing, you also need to know how those hormones are being used, processed, and eliminated. This is where hormone metabolite testing comes in. Hormone metabolite testing can help show whether the production of a given hormone is high or low, as well as whether these hormones are being eliminated safely from the body or building up to the point where they may cause health risks.
Hormone metabolite testing is advisable when and individual has:
- Symptoms of hormonal imbalance
- Symptoms of menopause
- Symptoms of estrogen dominance during hormone therapy
- Symptoms of adrenal fatigue with normal saliva cortisol levels
- Family history of hormone-driven cancer (such as breast cancer or prostate cancer)
What Are Hormone Metabolites?
In their active form, hormones act as chemical messengers to control, facilitate, or trigger various processes in the body. As active hormones complete their work and new hormones are produced, active hormones need to be cleared from the body via the urine. Because steroid hormones don’t dissolve well in water, they can’t pass straight into the urine. Instead, they must be broken down in the liver and kidneys to form water-soluble metabolites that can be excreted. Certain metabolites can be harmful if they are produced in excess, which is one important reason to test.
The amount of estrogen your body produces and how this estrogen is metabolized has an impact on your risk for hormone-driven cancers. In particular, the group known as 4-hydroxy estrogen metabolites has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
The metabolites of androgen hormones like testosterone can also cause health concerns. For example, if too much testosterone is metabolized into the potent form of 5-alpha-DHT, it can lead to acne and hair loss or over-growth of hair in men and women. It can also increase the risk of prostate cancer in men with high estrogen.
The stress hormone cortisol is metabolized into tetrahydrocortisol (THF) in the liver. Because increased cortisol metabolism increases cortisol production, it can be useful to test for THF and other metabolites when stress-related issues are a concern.
How We Test
Hormone metabolite testing can be accomplished through simple urine testing. With the dried urine method, you only need to collect urine four times per day using a filter strip. Once dry, the strips can be mailed to the lab. Collecting at different times of the day ensures a comprehensive profile of hormone metabolite activity.
Promoting Healthy Hormone Metabolism
One of the most important steps for promoting healthy hormone metabolism is to ensure the process is starting with the correct levels of vital hormones. To accomplish this, you may need to begin hormone replacement therapy. Whether or not you are undergoing hormone replacement, you can promote healthy hormone metabolism by incorporating certain foods into your diet. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli help shift estrogen metabolism away from the 4-hydroxy forms, while foods like onions, garlic, and beets can help prevent methylation of harmful metabolites, thereby reducing the risk of the DNA damage that would cause cancer.
If you are ready to get your hormones and/or hormone metabolites tested, contact Renew Youth today.