So why do I recommend the DUTCH test?
Firstly, what is a DUTCH test?
The DUTCH (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) test is a comprehensive test to evaluate sex and stress hormones. In addition to measuring hormone levels, this test also takes into consideration metabolites (metabolites are breakdown products of these hormones) and specific nutrients (which are necessary for our body to use the hormones). The importance of these groups of hormones is that they play a vital role in many aspects of our life that if left unbalanced, can leave us feeling anxious, moody, and fatigued, to name a few.
What does the DUTCH test measure?
- Oestrogen (Oestradiol, oestriol, and oestrone)
- Nutritional organic acids
- Neurotransmitter metabolites
- Hormone metabolites (the breakdown products of hormones that can tell us how your body is effectively, or ineffectively using the hormone – this may be the cause of one’s hormone imbalance).
The DUTCH test is beneficial for males and females. Various environmental factors, medical treatments, and age-related changes affect hormones in men and women.
Types of DUTCH testing
Depending on which test you take, you will either collect 4-5 strips of urine and/or 4-5 tubes of saliva that get sent into the laboratory. The results will be analysed to gain a comprehensive picture of what is going on in all those cells within the body.
In addition to your sex hormones (oestrogens, progesterone, and testosterone) and adrenal hormones (cortisol), the DUTCH test analyses hormonal metabolites which can be just as important as your hormone levels. Due to key nutrients being vital for optimal function, the test also measures nutritional organic acids, which are markers to show how much B6, B12, and glutathione your body has (or is lacking). Nutritional organic acids are not typically evaluated in standard medical hormone assessments. In order to have a comprehensive knowledge of your hormones, you need to know these other key factors. The additional benefit of these markers is that they show your risk of oxidative stress (or your potential for DNA damage) as well as your risk of oestrogen related issues.
The DUTCH test helps guide safe lifestyle and medical treatments to restore balance. For example, if you show higher or lower numbers in your organic acids that may be affecting your hormone breakdown and treatment may be as simple as saying, you need more B12 in your diet, versus you need hormone therapy. Or, if your cortisol levels are very high, mindfulness and meditation may be more important for someone’s treatment than compared to someone without high cortisol.
How does this test compare to other ways of evaluating your hormones?
Serum blood test
Most people are used to getting a blood test to assess hormones. There are many benefits of this test including convenience and it is inexpensive. However, the drawbacks are that it will only show you what is circulating in your blood at that moment in time. Hormones fluctuate throughout the month and throughout the day, so it may not capture as precisely as the DUTCH test would, especially for cortisol. A blood test cannot accurately determine what is going on with your cortisol levels. The DUTCH test has been studied and is comparable and as accurate as performing a blood test.
Saliva testing does have clinical value for cortisol especially if you do it over the course of a day, this is called a diurnal pattern which is the best way to measure cortisol but doesn’t necessarily give the full picture of what is going on in the body in regards to cortisol. Additionally, saliva testing is not the most accurate measure for sex hormones. The benefit of the DUTCH test is that it is one test that will measure both your cortisol and sex hormones accurately.
Standard 24-hour urine test
This test is another type of urine test for hormones and cortisol. Sex hormones and cortisol can be measured well in urine which is why the DUTCH test uses urine, but for cortisol, without a saliva comparison, it cannot be as accurately measured in that diurnal pattern. This test has a high error rate (40%) and can be messy (it is collected in containers throughout the day). The DUTCH test uses dried urine, not wet urine, and studies have shown that the accuracy is very comparable and just as accurate, but this is an easier method of collection and again, takes out the need for multiple tests.
Will I benefit from the DUTCH test?
The Dutch test is useful to help anyone wanting to get a better picture of overall hormone and metabolite balance. It helps you identify any lifestyle and dietary changes to better balance your hormones. We all get stressed, and we are all predisposed to dietary and environmental stressors that can affect our hormone levels. But beyond this, anyone that is dealing with symptoms of hormonal imbalance or chronic stress or disease – insomnia, obesity, weight gain, fatigue, pelvic pain, endometriosis, PCOS, infertility, mood changes, brain fog, etc can benefit from taking a closer look with the DUTCH test. This is a great test also for those that are experiencing symptoms of hormonal changes but their blood tests are coming back pretty normal.
The DUTCH gives you a more complete picture and overview of the key components your body needs to both produce and utilize your hormones. It is a great compliment to a serum blood hormone profile, and it is good for both men and women as the results can help identify the root cause of issues you may be having.
The DUTCH test can seem costly and running the test requires restrictions during testing. Certain supplements and medications are recommended to be out of the system and for some women, it is necessary to take it at a specific time during your cycle.
If you are suffering from any of the issues mentioned in this blog, please get in touch to discuss whether the DUTCH test is right for you, I will take care of the rest.