Several hormones play an important role in men’s overall hormonal health and balance. Saliva testing is a non-invasive method for measuring estrodial (E2), total testosterone, progesterone, Dehydroepiandrosteron (DHEA) and cortisol. The Men’s Hormones panel will evaluate Triiodothyronine (fT3), Free thyroxine (fT4), TSH and TPO using capillary blood.
Estradiol (E2) is the most potent form of estrogen. Estradiol is released primarily by the testes in men. Estrodial plays an important role in male sexual function. For instance, low testosterone and elevated estrogen increase the incidence of erectile dysfunction independently of one another.
Testosterone is the major androgenic hormone. It is responsible for the development of the male external genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics. In adult men, there also is a gradual modest, but progressive, decline in testosterone production starting between the fourth and sixth decades of life. Testosterone is manufactured by the testes and supports a healthy libido and sexual function, but it is also imperative for maintaining a healthy body composition and lean body mass. Having healthy levels of testosterone has also been linked to maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels, sperm count, optimal brain health and motivation/drive. Adequate testosterone is also essential for healthy bone metabolism.
Progesterone is produced by the testes and the adrenals in males. Males need progesterone to produce testosterone. Progesterone is synthesized in the adrenal glands is converted to other corticosteroids and androgens and, thus, is not a major contributor to circulating serum levels unless there is a progesterone-producing tumor present.
Dehydroepiandrosteron (DHEA) is the principal human C-19 steroid. DHEA has very low androgenic potency but serves as the major direct or indirect precursor for most sex steroids. DHEA is secreted by the adrenal gland and production is at least partly controlled by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Cortisol (a glucocorticoid) is released by the adrenal glands, usually in response to stress. Elevated cortisol levels function to slow down metabolism to conserve energy for vital "fight or flight" functions such as blood pressure or heart rate. Elevated cortisol also slows down immune function and works against insulin to keep circulating levels of glucose in the blood stream longer for perceived "fight or flight" actions.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped organ that sits at the base of the neck which releases hormones that control metabolism, or how the body uses energy. The thyroid gland is an essential part of the endocrine system which works in concert with the brain and nervous system to control vital organ systems. Thyroid hormones regulate essential body functions such as breathing, heart rate, muscle contractions, nervous system actions and body weight. When thyroid hormones are out of balance symptoms may include hair loss, weight gain or weight loss, dry skin, cold hands/feet/nose, fatigue, and even anxiety symptoms.
Free thyroxine is measured together with free Triiodothyronine and thyroid-stimulating hormone when thyroid function disorders are suspected. Free thyroxine (fT4) comprises a small fraction of total thyroxine. The fT4 is available to the tissues and is, therefore, the metabolically active fraction. Elevations in fT4 can indicate hyperthyroidism, while decreases cause hypothyroidism. Free T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone that regulate metabolic activity. The determination of TPO antibody levels is the most sensitive test for detecting autoimmune thyroid disease (e.g., Hashimoto thyroiditis, idiopathic myxedema, and Graves disease) and detectable concentrations of anti-TPO antibodies are observed in most patients with these disorders. The highest TPO antibody levels are observed in patients suffering from Hashimoto thyroiditis. In this disease, the prevalence of TPO antibodies is about 90% of cases, confirming the autoimmune origin of the disease. These autoantibodies also frequently occur (60%– 80%) in the course of Graves disease.