General ZRT FAQ’s:
How long will my ZRT results take and how will I receive them once they are ready?
Results for saliva testing typically take about 3-5 business days to process after the lab receives the sample whereas urine and blood typically take approximately 5-7 business days to process. Once your results are ready, we will email them to you at the email address provided at the time you placed your order.
My test results came back abnormal, what should I do now?
If your results come back abnormal it’s best to consult a physician. You may also schedule a 15 or 30 minute phone consultation with me so that we may review your results together and discuss possible treatment options.
Are there any additional fees once I purchase my ZRT test kit?
For those located in the United States there are no additional lab or shipping fees once you purchase your test. All lab fees are included in the cost of the test and your kit includes a 2-day shipping label to return your sample back to the lab.
Do I need to stop my current hormone therapy before taking a hormone test?
No - there are optimal times to perform the test when using hormone therapy ie: 12-24 hours after last dose of topical gels, 1-2 days after applying a patch, 6-10 hours after taking progesterone pills (including birth control pills), etc but you do not need to stop taking any hormone supplements.
General Saliva FAQ’s:
Why should I consider doing saliva hormone testing?
You should consider saliva hormone testing if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Trouble sleeping or poor sleep patterns
- Women going through menopause
- Women with irregular menstruation
- Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
How long are my saliva samples stable for?
Saliva samples are stable up to a week at room temperature with no exposure to direct sunlight or other sources of radiation. We recommend that you mail your sample the day it’s collected however if that’s not possible then you should freeze your sample immediately after collection and keep frozen until you’re ready to ship.
I suffer from dry mouth, do you have any tips to increase saliva flow?
If you have dry mouth you can try things like pressing the tip of your tongue against your teeth, smelling (not eating) strong smelling foods like lemons or yawning.
I accidentally made a mistake when collecting my saliva sample, what do I do?
If you have made an error in collecting your saliva sample, simply rinse the tube out with hot water (no soap!), shake out the remaining water and start the collection over.
General Bloodspot FAQ’s:
What are some tips to make my blood spot collection easier?
To encourage blood flow, try running your hands under warm water and/or rubbing your hands together or swinging your arms before nicking your finger. Also, make sure that your hand is below your waist when you begin collection to allow gravity to assist with blood flow.
General Urine FAQ’s:
How long are dried urine samples stable for?
Dried urine collection strips that are stored in a plastic bag are stable for up to one month without refrigeration.
How long should I leave my urine sample card out to dry after collection?
Urine sample cards should be left out to dry for a minimum of 8 hours before mailing collection.
What are some symptoms of high cortisol levels?
Some symptoms of high cortisol may include fatigue, acne, insomnia, high blood pressure or blood sugar, decreased concentration and weakness of the arms and legs.
What are some symptoms of low cortisol levels?
Some symptoms of low cortisol may include extreme craving for salty foods, heart palpitations, headaches, irregular or non-existent menses and emotional hypersensitivity.
Why is it better to test cortisol levels 4 times instead of just the morning?
Your morning cortisol levels may be perfectly normal in the morning and then rise or drop throughout the day so testing four times in one day gives a better overall reading of your cortisol production.
Who should test their cortisol levels?
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of high or low cortisol and those with chronic stress caused by situations like high stress jobs or family lives should test their cortisol levels. In addition, those with health concerns such as diabetes, depression, anxiety disorders, alcoholism & chronic pain would also benefit from testing their cortisol levels.
Weight Management FAQ’s:
What panels does your weight management profile test for?
Our weight management profile tests for Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA-S, Diurnal Cortisol, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, Vitamin D & HbA1c levels.
How does thyroid dysfunction affect weight gain?
If you have hypothyroidism, often referred to as an underactive thyroid, it can slow down your metabolism making it more difficult to lose weight. Our test measure your level of TSH, also known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, to give you a better idea of how your thyroid is functioning.
How is the weight management test performed?
Our weight management profile is a combination of a dried blood spot sample (performed using a simple finger prick) as well as 4 saliva samples, collected throughout one day.
Why should I test my HbA1c levels?
Hemoglobin A1c is an important test that is used to help diagnose diabetes. For people who are overweight, an elevated HbA1c level could be an indicator of early diabetes or poor blood sugar control.
Can this test be used by both men and women?
Yes, this test can be used by both men and women of any age.
General Hormone FAQ'S:
What is a hormone?
A hormone is a chemical messenger that carries a signal from one cell (or group of cells) to another via the bloodstream. All multicellular organisms produce hormones. Different hormones govern specific developmental and functional processes.
What is the physiology of hormones?
The rate of hormone biosynthesis and secretion is often regulated by a homeostatic negative feedback control mechanism. This mechanism depends on factors which influence the metabolism and excretion of hormones. Tropic hormones stimulate the hormone production of other endocrine glands. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) causes increased thyroid activity, consequently increasing output of thyroid hormones.
What are endocrine hormones?
Endocrine hormone molecules are secreted directly into the bloodstream, while exocrine hormones are secreted directly into a duct, and then into the bloodstream from there. Exocrine hormones which diffuse between cells undergo paracrine signalling.
What is the hierarchical nature of hormonal control?
The secretion of hormones from successive levels of endocrine cells is stimulated by chemical signals from cells with higher hierarchy. The hypothalamus is the master coordinator of hormonal activity in mammals, which responds to signals sent from the central nervous system. Localized hormone secretion also occurs, i.e. the secretion of parathyroid hormones from the parathyroid cells in response to calcium level fluctuations in extracellular fluid.
What is the pharmacology of hormones?
Pharmacologic doses of a hormone deliver a far greater concentration of hormones than what is produced naturally in the body. The effects of pharmacologic hormones may be different from responses to naturally-occurring amounts and may be therapeutically useful, i.e. in cases of induced menopause.
What is hormonal therapy?
Hormonal therapy involves the manipulation of the endocrine system through external administration of specific steroid hormones or drugs which inhibit the production of hormone antagonists. Hormone therapy is controversial because steroid hormones are powerful drivers of gene expression in certain cancer cells, leading to cell death.
What do estrogen and progesterone do in the body?
Estrogen is known as a 'female hormone' which plays a key role in shaping the female body. While estrogen promotes the growth of cells in the breast and uterus, this hormone affects many aspects of a woman's physical and emotional health. Progesterone is another critical female hormone, as it facilitates the reproductive cycle. The balance of estrogen and progesterone levels can determine the overall health of a woman.
What is DHEA?
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the most abundant male steroid hormone, or androgen, secreted by the adrenal glands. Interest in DHEA has developed in recent years, as this androgen may reverse the aging process. Researchers believe DHEA may be a potent anti-aging hormone because DHEA deficiencies in older individuals are linked to a number of medical conditions including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, impaired memory and osteoporosis. DHEA can also be converted into other steroid hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen.
What is epitestosterone?
Epitestosterone is a natural steroid produced independently of testosterone through a different biosynthetic pathway. Epitestosterone is not shown to enhance athletic performance in any way, but it is routinely measured to determine T/E ratio in doping tests.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the androgenic hormone responsible for the growth and development of male sex and reproductive organs, i.e. the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and seminal vesicles. Testosterone governs expression of secondary male sex characteristics such as musculature, bone mass, fat distribution, hair patterns, laryngeal enlargement and vocal cord thickening. Additionally, normal testosterone levels maintain energy level, healthy mood, fertility and sexual desire.
What is testosterone deficiency?
Testosterone deficiency refers to the decline of testosterone production, which is invariably related to lowered sperm cell count.
What are the causes of testosterone depletion?
There are three main causes for low testosterone levels:
1) The number and volume of Leydig cells in the testicles decrease by 1% per year after the age of 50 2) Aging leads to the loss of luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse amplitude, and a decreased response of LH to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
3) An increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels leads to a decrease in free testosterone
What are the physical symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels?
Symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels include:
Decline in sexual activity
Loss of muscle strength
Fatigue and loss of energy
Decreased intellectual ability
How does aging affect testosterone levels?
The effects of aging on testosterone levels may be confounded by other variables concerning overall health. Studies have shown that older men with compromised health conditions have lower testosterone levels than healthy men in the same age range, suggesting ill health may depress testosterone levels more so than age.
How are chronic illness and prescription medication associated with reduced testosterone levels?
Serum testosterone levels are proven to be affected by medications such as opiates or anticonvulsants, which can alter LH pulse amplitude and hepatic enzyme induction. Various lung disorders are found to reduce testosterone levels irrespective of age, with a more marked effect in lung cancer sufferers. Untreated diabetic men 50 years of age and older have up to 15% less testosterone levels than their non-diabetic counterparts. Cardiovascular disease, depression and malignant prostate disease also affect serum testosterone levels.
What are the effects of smoking and alcohol consumption on Testosterone levels?
Whether or not smoking and alcohol consumption affect total testosterone levels is unclear. Some middle-aged smokers report elevated testosterone levels between 9 and 25%, whereas other smokers experience an inverse relationship between cigarette smoking and testosterone levels. As for alcohol’s effect on testosterone depends on quantity and duration of usage. Frequent alcohol consumption may inhibit testosterone production; however, moderate alcohol intake in healthy men may not significantly influence total testosterone levels.
What is the relevance of testosterone:epitestosterone ratio?
Testosterone doping in sports is detected by measuring the testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio in urine. Normal urine T/E varies among individuals, but usually the two hormones are naturally produced in a 1:1 ratio. This ratio does not fluctuate much, unless testosterone is consumed or injected, or if a pathological condition exists. In such cases, the testosterone level can increase but epitestosterone levels tend to remain unaffected.
Vitamin D FAQ’s:
What are some symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency?
Some symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency may include frequent bone fractures, chronic pain including muscle or joint pain, depression and a poor immune system.
Who is at risk of having a Vitamin D deficiency?
People who are obese, have dark pigmented skin, suffer from heart disease or gastrointestinal issues like celiac or crohn's disease or people spend the majority of their time indoors are at higher risk of having a Vitamin D deficiency.
What are some long term effects of having a Vitamin D deficiency?
Left untreated, a Vitamin D deficiency may lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, susceptibility to increased infections and lower bone density leading to increased bone fractures. In addition, some studies have shown that having a Vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of developing cancer.
How is this test performed?
Our vitamin D test is performed with a simple, virtually painless finger stick. This method is as accurate as a venipuncture and much less invasive.
What elements tests do you offer?
We offer three different elements tests. Our urine element kit tests for Iodine, Bromine, Selenium, Arsenic, Mercury & Cadmium. We also offer a blood test which tests for Mercury, Cadmium, Lead, Zinc, Copper, Selenium and Magnesium and finally our Comprehensive Urine & Blood Combo kit tests all of the above panels in one test.
What are some symptoms of heavy metal poisoning?
Some symptoms of heavy metal poisoning include muscle weakness, chronic joint pain, lack of coordination, “pins and needles” feeling, headaches, abdominal cramps and sleep disturbances.
Who should take this test?
Anyone who eats a lot of seafood that contains high levels of mercury, those on a low-sodium diet (putting them at a higher risk of an iodine deficiency) and those with thyroid disorders.
Do I need to change my diet or stop taking supplements before taking the elements tests?
For iodine and/or selenium testing, do NOT change regular diet or supplement regimen, however if you only supplement sporadically or occasionally eat foods high in iodine and selenium (ie: seafood, seaweed, dairy products or brazil nuts), it’s recommended to avoid them the day before and during sample collection.
What does your cardiometabolic profile test for?
Our cardiometabolic profile tests for fasting Insulin, High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein, Hemoglobin A1c, Triglycerides, LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, VLDL Cholesterol & Total Cholesterol.
What is cardiometabolic risk?
Cardiometabolic risk is the group of risk factors that can indicate an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (including myocardial infarction, peripheral arterial disease & stroke) as well as type 2 diabetes.
What are some symptoms of cardiometabolic syndrome/insulin resistance syndrome?
Some symptoms of cardiometabolic & insulin resistance syndrome include elevated blood pressure, obesity (particularly around the mid-section), a pro-imflammatory state as well as insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.
What are some advantages to your test?
Our test is a bloodspot collection performed via a simple, virtually painless finger stick. This test is much less invasive, though just as accurate, as a conventional venipuncture collection and carries minimal infection risk as infectious agents like HIV are inactivated when dried.
Do I need to fast for this test?
To get the most accurate results, it’s very important that you provide a fasting sample. You should not have any food or drink, except water, for 10-12 hours before the test and you should provide a sample as soon as you wake up in the morning.
What is the job of the thyroid gland in the body?
The thyroid is a small gland located in the throat that produces thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism including how it creates and uses energy.
What are some factors that can affect thyroid function?
Thyroid function can be affected by nutritional deficiencies including iodine & selenium and by exposure to toxic elements including bromine, arsenic, selenium, mercury & cadmium.
What thyroid tests do you offer?
We offer two different thyroid profiles - our Essential Thyroid Profile tests for TSH, Free T4, Free T3 & TPO antibodies in dried blood. We also offer our Comprehensive Thyroid Profile which also tests for TSH, Free T4, Total T4, Free T3, TPO antibodies as well as thyroglobulin in dried blood and iodine, bromine, selenium, arsenic, mercury and cadmium in dried urine.
Who should test their thyroid function?
Routine screening is recommended for those experiencing symptoms such as: weight gain or inability to gain weight, feeling cold all the time, low energy, hair loss, irregular bowel movements or depression. Testing thyroid function is also recommended for individuals over the age of 50, anyone with a family history of thyroid disorders and those with autoimmune disorders.
What are some thyroid cancer symptoms?
The most common symptoms for thyroid cancer include:
Lump over the thyroid/neck
Swollen lymph nodes
Trouble breathing and swallowing
What should I know about hormone therapy in treating thyroid cancer?
Trauma to the thyroid gland, i.e. thyroid surgery may lead to insufficient thyroid hormone production. However, thyroid hormone therapy in pill-form helps to combat the effects of poor thyroid function by replacing depleted hormones. Thyroid hormones are important because they help the body work properly.
What is menopause?
Menopause, often referred to as "change of life," is a woman’s natural transition out of childbearing years. Menopause in women is considered the reverse of puberty.
What age does menopause usually begin?
Symptoms of early menopause onset, or perimenopause can begin in a woman’s late 30’s or early 40’s. Natural menopause is typically complete in the late 40’s or early 50’s.
What happens during menopause?
During menopause, the ovaries gradually produce lower levels of estrogen and progesterone. After menopause, female estrogen levels are about one-tenth the quantity as before menopause, while progestin production is negligible.
What are the different menopause symptoms?
In addition to irregular menstrual periods, declining estrogen levels can cause a variety of other symptoms lasting a few weeks to several years:
Insomnia or fatigue
Mood swings and irritability
Depression or anxiety
Vaginal dryness and inflammation (which may cause pain during intercourse)
Joint and back pain
Headaches and dizziness
How should I prepare for menopause?
Menopause is a natural female life stage. For some, it is a challenging period of difficult physical and emotional changes. For others, it is a time of personal growth and renewal. Usually, it is both at the same time. Resources for learning about menopause include:
Books, articles and literature
Friends and relatives who have already gone through menopause
Local menopause or midlife support-groups
Nutritious diet and regular exercise
A healthcare professional who can offer guidance
My friend has been experiencing irregular periods recently. Is it because of menopause?
To diagnose menopause, a woman must experience a 12 month absence of menstrual periods. The menopausal transition starts with varying menstrual cycle length and ends with the final menstrual period. Generally, menopause is the time in a woman's life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The ovaries do not produce sufficient estrogen for menstruation to occur during menopause. Aside from menstrual changes, symptoms associated with menopause onset include hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the phase before menopause when ovarian hormone production begins to decline and fluctuate. Perimenopause usually occurs three or four years before menopause, but some women can experience perimenopause many years before menopause onset.
Can a woman become pregnant during perimenopause?
Yes; however, pregnancy is less likely since ovulation cycles become more irregular as a woman ages. Until a woman experiences one full year in a menopausal state, she is still considered fertile.
What is induced menopause?
Induced, sudden, or surgical menopause occurs when a woman goes through premature menopause. Once her ovaries halt production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormones, immediate symptoms are the result. Induced menopause can be caused by:
Surgery to remove your ovaries
Women going through induced menopause may have more severe menopausal symptoms which can be treated with hormone therapy.
Why are synthetic hormones prescribed for menopause?
Some doctors recommend estrogen and/or progesterone hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy may also help prevent long-term conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Unfortunately, scientific data emerging from The Women's Health Initiative show there are a number of risks in using hormone replacement therapy.
Is hormone replacement therapy safe?
Some researchers conclude hormone replacement therapy is not safe. Prolonged hormone replacement therapy is linked to increased risks of:
Women must investigate these risks before requesting synthetic hormone replacement therapy to cope with menopause.
When would I consider myself postmenopausal?
Clinicians will diagnose postmenopause after one full year without a period. Menopausal distress generally wane as postmenopause occurs, since energy levels and symptoms of emotional dysregulation being to stabilize.
How soon does ovulation occur after an LH surge, and what is the best time for intercourse to reproduce?
Ovulation usually occurs 12 to 48 hours after an LH surge, with the 16 hour mark being most common. Ovulation testing in the afternoon provides clearer notice of the start of the ovulatory cycle. In order to conceive successfully, it is recommended to have intercourse the day of the LH surge and again two days later. Intercourse one day before the LH surge will provide optimal conditions for impregnation, but this can be difficult to time with an irregular cycle.
What is male menopause?
Like women, men also endure hormonal changes as they age. Male hormonal changes are most often attributed to testosterone production. Even healthy men may experience a slow, continuous decrease in testosterone levels. Testosterone production is regulated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in a negative feedback system. Male menopause occurs in about 7% of men below the age of 50, and in 20% of men above the age of 60.
What diet restrictions do you recommend for those taking the neurotransmitter test?
ZRT recommends avoiding bananas, pineapple, avocado, nuts and nut butters as well as alcohol and nicotine the day before and the day of testing.
What does PSA stand for?
PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen which is a protein produced by the prostate gland. Knowing your PSA levels will give you an idea of overall prostate health and elevated levels of PSA can indicate the possibility of early stages of prostate cancer.
Why are some symptoms of elevated PSA levels?
Symptoms of elevated PSA levels may include increased frequency of urination, pain or burning with urination, blood in semen or urine as well as frequent pain in lower back, hips or upper thighs.
Who should test their PSA levels?
Men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin regular PSA screenings around the age of 40. Men with no family history and those with lower risk factors should consider beginning routine testing around the age of 50.
How is your PSA test performed?
Our PSA test is performed with a simple finger stick, bloodspot collection in the privacy of your own home.
Who is at risk of having a high hsCRP?
Individuals who are overweight or obese, people with insulin resistance and diabetics are all at risk of having a higher hsCRP.
What are some ways to lower hsCRP levels?
Making lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating a healthier diet, quitting smoking and performed more aerobic exercise have all been shown to lower hsCRP levels.
What are some factors that can effect my hsCRP readings?
Anytime you’re in an acute inflammatory state whether from an illness, injury, infection or other type of inflammation, your hsCRP levels will be high. It’s important to always wait until you are healthy to perform this test for the most accurate readings. Those with arthritis or other conditions causing chronic inflammation will always have higher levels of hsCRP so results of this test are not meaningful for people with inflammatory conditions.