Article at a Glance
- The endocrine system, which controls our hormones, starts seeing a decline in function starting around age 30.
- Self-quantification kits for hormones allow early detection of the root cause of aging-related symptoms
- To maintain health and track progress, self-quantify your hormones about three times a year
As a proactive individual, you may already count the steps you take per day or monitor your sleep cycle, but now you can go one step further and monitor certain hormonal biomarkers in order to grasp a deeper understanding of your body’s functioning – from the privacy of your own home. Self-quantifying hormones is essential for anyone looking to learn why they may be slipping in different areas of their life.
Why would you want to monitor your hormone levels and how can you do it? Let’s find out.
Why Use Self-Quantification Methods?
The aim of self-quantification is to know your body better so you can make directed improvements in certain areas of health.
As we age, it’s not unusual to experience vague symptoms like chronic fatigue, sleep issues, gut imbalance, or mood alterations. One can always go to their doctor to get these symptoms checked, but often if no easily-identifiable disease is found, the symptoms may be chalked up to aging without further investigation.
With self-quantification kits, you can be proactive and do some digging yourself, find out the root cause of your symptoms, and seek out a solution. Or maybe you just want to keep everything in check by tracking your health in a comprehensive manner.
In any case, it’s crucial to know which biomarkers to get measured and how to interpret your results.
Many age-related symptoms are rooted in the endocrine system. Therefore, understanding what happens to this system with age can aid in identifying which biomarkers to quantify and track as potential causes of your symptoms.
The Endocrine System and Aging
The endocrine system is a group of organs and glands in the body that are involved in regulating several essential functions, such as sleep, digestion, the immune response, and mood regulation, all via the production of hormones.
All endocrine glands are subject to change with age. The exact point at which these changes occur depends on each and every individual, but there is a trend showing changes in the endocrine system start around age 30 – some sources even claim fluctuations to start as early as 25.
These alterations in men’s endocrine systems include, but are not limited to, a decline in testosterone in men, estrogen in women, and growth hormone and melatonin in both sexes [R]. Other hormone levels may remain stable, like insulin, but their receptors become less sensitive with age, which means they are less functional.
The Importance of Self-Quantifying Hormones
As one can imagine, changes in hormone balance can lead to undesirable effects, such as a drop in energy, muscle loss, fat increase, insomnia, altered eating habits, mood swings, and alterations in sex drive [R].
Failure to identify the root cause of your symptoms can have detrimental repercussions in the future. Not only can a change in hormone balance cause undesirable symptoms, but it’s also associated with age-related diseases such as diabetes, cognitive impairment, immunodeficiency, tumor growth, and ischemic heart disease.
To see if your symptoms are hormone-related, you can start investigating whether you have hormonal deficiencies or excesses and subsequently find ways to correct that imbalance.
There are many self-quantification hormone kits out there, so to get you started, we’ve studied some useful ones that give you what you need to self-evaluate. Note that while blood tests can be more accurate, salivary hormones represent a quality measurement of tissue levels as well. So for initial screening purposes, saliva samples are convenient and reliable.
ZRT Test Kit: Female/Male Saliva Profile I
ZRT Laboratory is a company that produces a variety of different at-home self-quantification kits. The Female/Male Saliva Profile I is excellent if you’re just getting started with self-quantification [R]. It’s a basic assessment of five hormones: estradiol, testosterone, DHEA-S, cortisol, and progesterone.
In case you’re wondering whether men need to test their progesterone levels, the answer is yes. Progesterone in men is involved in sperm development, sex drive, regulation of testosterone levels, and maintenance of bone and joint health. Similarly, testosterone in women can affect fertility, weight maintenance, and skin and hair health [R].
Because the endocrine system is so intertwined, and hormones in the body work in such perfect harmony, more often than not, an endocrine-related problem involves various hormones. Getting a basic assessment of a series of hormones, as offered by this kit, can give a deeper understanding of your potential imbalance, all for under $200.
Upon ordering the sample, you’ll receive a kit with a cotton swab for saliva collection (very practical and user-friendly, especially if you don’t like blood) and directions for sample mailing. You can also find a “how to collect your sample” video to make the experience as easy as possible [R].
After mailing your sample, it’s analyzed in a lab and your results are available as an online report within a week. In this report, they provide customized comments, while offering reference ranges based on the patient’s age, reproductive state, and level of supplementation.
Body Health IQ: Home Testosterone Saliva Kit
Body Health IQ is one of the few companies that make kits especially for men, although they can be used by women too. One of their kits is the Home Testosterone Saliva Kit [R]. This kit is specifically designed for the initial screening of testosterone levels by measuring the amount of bioavailable testosterone in your system.
Slight deviations from the normal range of testosterone levels, whether above or below, can cause undesired symptoms. On their website, you can easily gauge whether you should be checking your testosterone levels by taking a short and easy questionnaire [R].
Like ZRT, their step by step procedure is very simple. You order your kit, collect your sample with a saliva cotton swab, and receive your results online. At only $69 (with free shipping), this is an excellent, cost-efficient option to start your quest of self-knowledge.
WellnessFX Performance Package – Blood Test
If you’re looking for a more rounded, informative report regarding your hormone levels as well as other biomarkers, a blood test is an excellent option.
WellnessFX is a company that makes it extremely easy to access deep insights into your health by offering various blood test packages, such as the Performance package [R]. This package is recommended for people who don’t necessarily have symptoms but who are either concerned with maintaining health, experimenting with new diets, or want to see the bio-effects of their workouts.
Included in this package is the measurement of:
- Performance hormones: testosterone, DHEA, estradiol, and sex hormone binding globulin
- Metabolic hormones: cortisol, insulin, and insulin-like growth factor 1
With WellnessFX, simply sign up, print a lab order, and find a lab location near you. At $497 for the performance package, their results can offer you knowledge that is generally 3x more comprehensive than a blood test from an average yearly physical.
Additionally, you’ll be able to visualize your results on a user-friendly dashboard with detailed descriptions of each biomarker to make interpretations of your overall health simple. On the dashboard, you can also view your blood results over time and get an idea of your progress.
For an additional fee, you can book a one-on-one telehealth consultation with a licensed practitioner for personalized recommendations based on your biomarker levels.
How often should I check my hormone levels?
Blood regenerates, on average, every 120 days [R]. Therefore, if you’ve made any changes that you want to track the effectiveness of, it’s a good idea to measure your hormones about 3 times a year.
Correcting a hormone imbalance can improve both your quality of life as well as longevity.
After you get started on a self-quantification kit, have a look at our directory of functional and integrative physicians and clinics for health and longevity to find follow-up assistance and personalized intervention methods.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. Information is provided for educational purposes. You should consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website.