I am excited to have Steph Hinton, naturopath on my team, share a little post on The Dutch Test. We were both thrilled to attend THE fantastically nerdy 1 day seminar put on by Research Nutrition (the distributors for the Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil I talked about on the podcast last month!) with the one and only Dutch Test medical director and all round amazing naturopathic doctor, Dr Carrie Jones in Sydney. We learnt so much and I got so much out of working through my own Dutch test that I had done a few months ago, that I just had to invite Steph to share a few points on why this might be a test you want to discuss with your practitioner. It’s so far from being just a sex hormones / adrenal test.
Post by Stephanie Hinton (Low Tox Life’s in-house naturopath)
Recently Alexx and I attended a seminar held by Dr Carrie Jones, hormone expert and a guest on one of our most popular shows on the podcast – Show #87 Low Tox Life podcast. We spent the day absorbed in learning about the DUTCH test, how it can benefit some of the trickier cases out there that aren’t getting results on their health.
What the heck is the DUTCH Test anyway?
The DUTCH test is a fully comprehensive clinical test that provides insight into a client’s sex and adrenal hormones, metabolites, detox pathways and methylation (the ability to assimilate essential nutrients in the body) on an average day (ie, do NOT do the test on a day that you’re rammed against a massive deadline, nor when you’re relaxed out of your lovely mind on a tropical Island. It really is best you are looking at your usual day to be able to get results that you’re working with to the accuracy of your symptom profile. While elements of this test can be done already on other tests here and there, there is no one test that covers everything in one fell swoop. Until now, yay!
Finally, a test that gives us the FULL picture as to what’s going on in these complex bodies of ours. Clinical testing can often feel completely overwhelming for both the practitioners and the clients! In many cases, you can be sent away with a list as long as your arm with tests you need to do.
So, why do we need this information?
Well, millions of women suffer from hormonal imbalances, I see it presenting in clinical practise time and time again. Sometimes women will present with multiple hormonal conditions intertwined. We are intricately complex, after all!
Hormonal imbalance is something we cover off all the time on Low Tox Life and in many of our eCourses. Nowadays we have reliable scientific evidence that endocrine disruption comes from all areas of our environment, commonly as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals (phthalates; found in plastics, fragrances, beauty products and cleaning products, herbicides and pesticides; found in non-organic produce; dioxins found in our soil and food products, and sadly, so many more. This consistent onslaught of hormonal disruption is mucking with our body systems, and though we are incredibly resilient, often, our hormones can get a bit confused and end up fluctuating in an undesirable way… even a seemingly ‘healthy’ person may find their hormones need some TLC every now and then.
Common symptoms that indicate our hormones need some attention include, menopause, perimenopause, weight gain, fatigue, low libido, premenstrual symptoms (PMS), mood swings, or depression, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, hirsutism (excess facial and body hair), irregular or nonexistent periods, thinning hair, weight loss, sensitivity to temperature, migraines, menstrual cramps, cyclical diarrhoea and constipation, and much more.
These symptoms are not an ‘inconvenience’, they are a gentle (or at times, booming!) message to you that something has gone awry. Ignoring or sweeping these little messages under the carpet can lead to more serious problems if left untreated. This is where an intricate picture of your health can help you quickly get to the root cause of what’s happening for you.
The most common reasons to take The Dutch Test
As a clinical naturopath with a love for all things hormone related, here are the top five reasons I would recommend The DUTCH test to you.
You’re not sleeping properly and you wake up exhausted.
The DUTCH test provides a complete metabolised cortisol reading by taking various samples throughout your day. Cortisol is our ‘sunshine’ hormone, meaning you want it to rise in the morning as the body ramps up for a new day. People with imbalanced cortisol often find that their cortisol levels have either flatlined (which would present as sheer exhaustion or even hyperactivity) or are raised in the evening keeping you wide awake, when they should, in fact, be lowering for a restful night’s sleep as melatonin rises in the body (our ‘moon hormone). Here’s a snapshot example.
We need balanced cortisol output to regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism, sleep, energy and inflammation. The first key steps you can take to balance cortisol are eliminating blue light one hour before bed (so that’s your tv, laptop and phone screens), eliminate coffee until your cortisol regulates (try replacing it with some calming herbal teas, Pukka Teas are our fave in the office) and reduce stress (through meditation, yoga, walking etc). Another great product to support your sleep and aid in regulating your cortisol production is The Beauty Chef Sleep Inner Beauty Powder.
You’re struggling to fall pregnant and you feel like you’ve tried everything.
A clear indication that hormonal dysfunction may be occurring is an inability to conceive despite no physical impediments and no prior known health conditions/ age-related issues. If the bodies sex hormones are not regulating then it is nearly impossible to conceive naturally.
Reasons your hormones may be affected include recently coming off the oral contraceptive pill (this is also known as pill-induced amenorrhea), hormonal conditions such as PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, ineffective detoxification pathways, being over caffeinated/stimulated and undernourished, low body fat and poor methylation, just to name a few.
The DUTCH test will list all of your reproductive hormones and highlight whether they are in range at the the appropriate times of the month. For example, you want your progesterone levels to be high in the luteal phase (second half of your cycle) as this indicates ovulation! Without ovulation you cannot produce an egg for fertilisation. This is invaluable as it can paint a picture as to where something along the monthly cycle may not be happening as it should. It can take out so much guesswork, and so much heartache!
The Preconception Ninja eCourse is also an incredible and complete resource if you’re looking for help with falling pregnant. Check it our here.
You feel like you might have a sluggish liver and digestive system.
Often a sluggish liver presents as an inability to lose weight, excess visceral fat, specifically around that middle section of your tummy, problem periods; cramping, migraines and irregular cycles, and a feeling of nausea when consuming caffeine and alcohol. When a client presents with these symptoms I often think about liver dysfunction or liver overload. Meaning the two phases of liver clearance, phase one and two, are not working efficiently because they are backed up much like cars trying to get out of the city… all pathways are blocked and everyone is being slowed down.
The DUTCH test is able to show the signs of a sluggish liver eg excessively high levels of estrogen (indicating that the liver is unable to excrete the hormones), as well as how the estrogen is being metabolised in the body.
You think you may be hitting perimenopause/menopause and you need to know what’s going on!
Menopause is an absolute roller coaster (literally). This is a graph highlighting how hormones fluctuate over a woman’s life.
Image sourced enzymatictherapy.com.
Yes, it’s normal but it can be incredibly difficult for a woman, especially in the early phases as she transitions into menopause. The DUTCH test can help women determine exactly what is happening in their bodies and for many (practitioners included) this information is invaluable during this time. It can allow your practitioner to give you the correct supplementation, dosages, herbs and lifestyle recommendations to help guide you through this tricky phase rather than just taking stabs in the dark.
You’re just a curious human and want to know what’s really happening in that body of yours!
For some nerd-out types eg Alexx Stuart, founder of Low Tox Life, they thrive off learning more and more about the intricacies of their body systems, hehe. Don’t kill me for saying that Alexx!!! If you’re one of those people then this test is such a fantastic insight into your hormonal health. Much like an annual checkup, the DUTCH test can give you a real snapshot of how your hormones perform on an average day and where you may need to pull back, detoxify, support your methylation pathways or even just take a break!
After utilizing the DUTCH test, you will be able to work with your medical provider to continue to track and evaluate hormone levels and detoxification pathways, ensuring they are at their optimum balance. A small caveat, this is not a test that I would recommend you take without a sound scientific understanding of the endocrine system or with a practitioner who understands how to read DUTCH test results. The information is highly detailed and very complex, but oh so valuable if it’s within your budget to get done and you can find the right practitioner.
Have you tried the DUTCH test yet? Who did you do it through? How has it changed the way you approach your health?
Until next time,