The Adrenal Stress Index - Testing Cortisol Levels with the ASI
For fatigue sufferers, it can be difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis. One solid test for measuring the performance of adrenal glands involves the use of the Adrenal Stress Index.
One of the most frustrating aspects of adrenal fatigue is the difficulty most physicians have when it comes to detecting the syndrome. Unlike many ailments, there is no set of criteria that a doctor can point to and instantly recognize the problem. Moreover, many standard medical tests often produce false negatives or results that are within acceptable parameters, leaving the physician to conclude that the exhaustion reported by the patient is of no serious concern.
Fortunately, there is one testing methodology that has demonstrated some degree of effectiveness in identifying the elevated cortisol levels that are so common in people suffering from stress-related fatigue. This test is a preferred option for many patients, precisely because of its potential for accurate results and its non-invasive nature.
What is the Adrenal Stress Index
That test is known as the Adrenal Stress Index, and is a saliva-based testing method that can provide more information than simple blood or urine testing. It was developed by Diagnos-Techs, Inc. a little more than twenty-five years ago, and remains one of the most accurate ways to identify adrenal-based fatigue issues. To obtain the test, it is often necessary to consult with a natural healthcare practitioner. Chances are that your medical doctor will be unfamiliar with the test or consider it unnecessary.
When It Might Be Necessary
As a general rule, the test may be necessary any time a patient experiences any of the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. These include things like mood shifts, immune system weakness, muscle pain, migraines, disruptions in the sleep cycle, low libido, various food intolerances, an imbalance in the blood sugar, or brain fog. While one or two of those symptoms might be nothing to worry about, when most are present the test is usually warranted.
What It Measures
The Adrenal Stress Index is used to measure the levels of cortisol, insulin, DHEA, and progesterone in the body. At the same time, it also measures gluten sensibility, as well as the levels of secretory IgA antibodies that impact the immune system.
Advantages of the ASI
- The Adrenal Stress Index is non-invasive. There are no needles, and the process can be accomplished from anywhere
- The saliva is easy to collect, unlike the blood samples and the problems associated with storing and transporting your own urine around all day
- The ASI provides information that other tests miss. That’s due to the fact that the samples are all collected within the same circadian cycle, which enables better understanding of how hormonal levels are rising and falling throughout that period
Taking the Adrenal Stress Index Test
Unlike other testing for adrenal problems, the ASI is fairly simple to manage. The patient simply produces four saliva specimens at set times over the course of one twenty-four hour period. For the results to be accurate, he or she should refrain from using any hormones, creams, or other similar medications for at least two full days prior to the testing. This is because steroids and many hormone-based medications can skew the results. Naturally, you should speak with your doctor before you voluntarily skip any medications to ensure that it is safe to do so.
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How It Works
The four saliva samples you provide are used in a number of different tests to measure different factors in the body. One of these is, obviously, the level of cortisol present during different times throughout the day. These levels can indicate how active and strong your stress response is at any given time. Insulin is also measured to determine what impact cortisol is having on your blood sugar levels.
DHEA measurements are designed to measure how your body is adapting to its stress levels. At the same time, progesterone is evaluated to determine the level of your adrenal reserves, since that hormone is often sacrificed to make more necessary stress hormones under times of intense and prolonged duress. Secretory IgA and the gluten antibodies help to evaluate the state of your immune system, and your tolerance for grain products.
The Test’s Reliability
It is now generally accepted that this testing system can provide critical details about the state of your physiological, hormonal, and emotional state by evaluation these crucial factors. Perhaps the only exception to that acceptance involves the testing for gluten intolerance, since it can sometimes give false negatives. As an overall test of adrenal health, however, the Adrenal Stress Index is among the most-respected.
It should also be noted that patients who are currently on a ketogenic diet often fail to receive any real benefits from this testing since it relies so heavily on measuring glucose levels. With a ketogenic diet, that need for high cortisol in the morning subsides, since the body adapts to burning more fats for fuel.
For most fatigue sufferers, however, this test is an invaluable tool for identifying problems with the adrenal glands. That identification is an important part of any effort to obtain better health, since it provides the signal you need to begin making stress-related changes in your life.
You might also be interested in:
- The Importance of The Adrenal Stress Index Test In Restoring Thyroid Health. http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/the-importance-of-the-adrenal-stress-index-test-in-restoring-thyroid-health/
- Adrenal Stress Index. http://www.bouldernaturalhealth.com/adrenal-stress-index/
- Adrenal Stress Index: Patient Overview. http://www.diagnostechs.com/Pages/ASIPatientOverview.aspx
- Adrenal Stress Index (ASI)with Saliva Testing Or Functional Endocrinology (Interactive Balances amongst Hormones). http://www.optimalhealthnetwork.com/Adrenal-Stress-Index-ASI-with-Saliva-Testing-s/582.htm
- Adrenal Stress Test. http://www.smartnutrition.co.uk/health-tests/adrenal-stress-test/