DUTCH vs. Saliva Testing
While the free cortisol pattern in saliva has clinical value, there is a significant missing piece to surveying a patient’s HPA-Axis function with saliva testing – measuring cortisol metabolites. To properly characterize a patient’s cortisol status, free and metabolized cortisol should be measured to avoid misleading results when cortisol clearance is abnormally high or low. Likewise with sex hormones, measuring estrogen and androgen metabolites gives a fuller picture for more precise clinical diagnosis of hormonal imbalances and HRT monitoring.
DUTCH vs. Serum Testing
While the most universally accepted testing method (due to the availability of FDA-cleared analyzers that are reliable and inexpensive), serum testing is lacking in some areas. Adrenal hormones cannot be effectively tested in serum because free cortisol cannot be tested throughout the day. There is also a lack of extensive metabolite testing (especially for cortisol and estrogens).
DUTCH vs. 24-Hour Urine Testing
There are two primary drawbacks to 24-hour urine testing of hormones. First, the collection is cumbersome, and as many as 40% of those who collect, do so in error (Tanaka, 2002). Secondly, dysfunction in the diurnal pattern of cortisol cannot be ascertained from a 24-hour collection. Some providers add saliva for daily free cortisol. DUTCH eliminates the need for two tests.
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