In the realm of healthcare, understanding the intricate balance of hormones within the human body is essential for maintaining optimal health. The science behind hormone testing plays a crucial role in providing valuable insights for healthcare providers. From traditional blood samples to innovative at-home collection methods, advancements in testing techniques have revolutionized the way we monitor hormone levels. In this blog, we will explore the techniques employed to measure hormones and how ZRT has pioneered convenient, at-home collection methods for comprehensive testing.
ZRT Laboratory specializes in the scientific aspects of testing. Hormones, originating from various endocrine glands such as ovaries, testes, thyroid, pituitary, pancreas, etc., are released into the bloodstream. They bind to carrier proteins and are gradually released into tissues throughout the body. Monitoring hormone levels is achievable through diverse body fluids, including venipuncture blood (serum or plasma), capillary whole blood (blood spot), saliva, and urine.
Traditionally, blood collected via venipuncture is separated into serum or plasma. Capillary blood, obtained from fingertips or infant heels, can be deposited onto filter paper and dried, forming a dried blood spot (DBS). Although blood conveniently measures steroid and peptide hormone levels, it assesses the total circulating hormone, necessitating a separate calculation for bioavailability to target cells. Diurnal hormone production patterns are not easily measurable in blood.
Saliva provides a simple and non-invasive matrix for measuring steroid hormone levels. The collection involves spitting into a tube, and the steroid amount reflects the bioavailable fraction (1-5% of total circulating in the blood). Detecting lower concentrations in saliva demands methods with 10- to 100-fold greater sensitivity. However, saliva is unsuitable for testing peptide hormones.
Urine is another practical method for measuring total hormone production with a high concentration of steroid metabolites. Dried urine collection, done at specific time points, allows evaluation of diurnal hormone production patterns. Limitations include its focus on metabolites scheduled for disposal and the need for enzyme digestion, making it time-consuming. Monitoring topical hormones in urine is impractical as they are primarily excreted in bile.
ZRT has developed convenient at-home collection methods for all these options, offering maximum flexibility and optimal results for healthcare providers.