Hormone Tests That Help You To Prevent And Treat Osteoporosis
Hormone tests can identify deficiencies that are contributing to bone loss and can also guide a rebalancing program used to restore bone health.
Excessive bone loss is a symptom of an imbalance either in the body or in lifestyle (diet, exercise or stress)... or perhaps both. Rather than relying on prescription medication and resigning oneself to the side effects, addressing the source of the problem often provides a better long-term solution.
Here are a few of the most common hormone tests used when seeking the cause of bone loss and when customizing a natural osteoporosis treatment program.
INTACT PARATHYROID HORMONE TEST (iPTH)
A healthy parathyroid is essential to bone health for several reasons:
- An overactive parathyroid draws calcium from the bone and can cause excessive bone loss. The reasons for this overactivity must be addressed to prevent osteoporosis.
- A normal parathyroid reading in the face of vitamin D deficiency can indicate magnesium inadequacy. Adequate magnesium is essential for the building of quality bone crystals.
The thyroid hormone function test (TSH) is used to screen for overactive and under-active thyroid conditions, both of which can contribute to bone loss. Dosages of thyroid medication that are too high can also contribute to osteoporosis.
FREE CORTISOL (blood or saliva test)
Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because it increases in response to anxiety and stress. Abnormally high levels can damage bone health.
DHEA (blood or saliva test)
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) helps to neutralize the effects of cortisol and protect bone density. DHEA drops dramatically as we age as may be seen the following guidelines for "normal" DHEA levels as measured by UMOL per litre:
- 40-49: <6.5
- 50-59: <5.4
- 60-69: <3.5
- 70-79: <2.4
A growing number of experts prescribe bioidentical hormones to help restore DHEA levels to the 40-49 age range-both to protect bone health and for an improved sense of well-being.
SEX HORMONE TESTS
PROGESTERONE AND ESTROGEN
According to endocrinologist Dr. Jerilynn Prior, approximately 25% of young women in the US and Canada fail to develop optimum peak bone mass due to ovulatory disturbances that result in low progesterone levels.
For women from their teens to menopause, proper levels of sex hormones are very important to bone health. Low levels of either estrogen or progesterone can limit development of optimum peak bone mass. Irregular or frequently missed periods should be studied by a knowledgeable physician. Testing of estrogen and progesterone can be helpful in pre-menopausal women with a bone health concern.
Women in Menopause
For many women, progesterone deficiency can become a problem as they approach menopause. While hormones decrease naturally as we age, estrogen usually falls 40 to 60 percent from baseline while progesterone can decline to nearly zero. Dr. John Lee is the doctor best known for coining the expression "estrogen dominance" and suggesting that restoring a healthier ratio of estrogen and progesterone (through the use of bioidentical progesterone cream) can help to prevent unnecessary bone loss while also alleviating much of the discomfort of menopause.
In the United States, Meno-Ease provides a natural progesterone cream without paraban. This cream is particularly popular because it has a refreshing lemon scent and is both cooling and moisturizing with its aloe vera based gel.
TESTOSTERONE (for men and women)
Low testosterone is a common cause of osteoporosis in men and estrogen can also play a role in male bone health.
SALIVA OR BLOOD TEST?
Many hormone specialists (such as Dr. John Lee and physicians at ZRT Laboratories) argue that saliva tests are superior to blood tests for assessing levels of bioavailable steroid hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone).
The measurement of non-bioavailable hormones in urine or serum may be misleading as it provides no indication of the levels of the clinically significant “free“ (bioavailable) hormones in the blood stream.