Adrenal Stress Index
The Adrenal Stress Index is a test of adrenal function. It can determine the functioning of the body`s stress gland. One of the most important reasons to obtain an ASI test is when you have been told all of your thyroid tests are normal, and you have all the symptoms of thyroid disease. There is a 98% overlap between the symptoms of low thyroid and low adrenal. The ASI can sort out the two and get you back to health.
The adrenals are two small glands, each weighing 3 to 5 grams, that are located above the kidneys. The adrenals have one of the highest rates of blood flow per gram of tissue, and the highest content of Vitamin C per gram of any tissue in the body.
Each adrenal gland is composed of two separate functional entities. The outer zone, or cortex, accounts for up to 90% of the gland, and secretes adrenal steroids (Cortisol, DHEA(S) and Aldosterone). The inner zone, or medulla, comprises about 10% of the gland, and secretes the catecholamines adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. Cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline are the three main adrenal stress hormones.
The Adrenal Rhythm & Its Importance
The human adrenal gland does not secrete its steroid hormones at a constant level throughout the day. The hormones are actually released in a cycle with the highest value in the morning and the lowest value at night. This 24-hour cycle is called the circadian rhythm. An abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence many functions of the body, some of which are listed below.
1. Energy production:
Abnormal adrenal function can alter the ability of cells to produce energy for activities of daily living. People who have a hard time rising in the morning, or who suffer with a low energy level during the day, often have abnormal adrenal rhythms and poor blood sugar regulation.
The maintenance of a stable blood sugar level depends on food choice, lifestyle, adrenal function and insulin activity. This panel measures stress hormones and insulin, to help sort out causes of fatigue, cravings and obesity.
5. Sleep quality
The ability to enter REM sleep cycles, i.e. regenerative sleep, is interrupted by high cortisol values at night and in the morning. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce the mental vitality and vigor of a person and induce depression.
2. Muscle & joint function
Abnormal adrenal rhythms are known to compromise tissue healing. Reduced tissue repair and increased tissue breakdown can lead to muscle and joint breakdown with chronic pain.
4. Immune health
3. Bone health
The adrenal rhythm determines how well we build bone. If the night cortisol level is elevated and the morning level is too high, our bones do not rebuild well, and we are more prone to osteoporosis. Stress is the enemy of the bones. In postmenopausal women, the effect of stress worsens due to female hormone imbalances.
Various immune cells (white blood cells) cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow for special conditioning, and possible nourishment and instructions. This immune system trafficking follows the cortisol cycle. So, if the cycle is disrupted, especially at night, then the immune system is adversely affected.
Short and long-term stress is known to suppress the immune response on the surfaces of our body as in lungs, throat, urinary and intestinal tract. With the reduction in the surface antibody (called secretory IgA), the resistance to infection is reduced and allergic reactions are believed to increase.
6. Skin regeneration
Human skin regenerates mostly during the night. With higher night cortisol values, less skin regeneration takes place. So, a normal cortisol rhythm is essential for optimal skin health.
7. Thyroid function
The level of Cortisol in the cell controls thyroid hormone production. Quite often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body temperature are due to an adrenal maladaptation.
8. Gluten intolerance & stress
Almost 20% of the U.S. population suffers from an intolerance to gluten. The gut becomes inflamed within 30 minutes after consuming the grains and this can lead to an adrenal stress response, increased cortisol and reduced DHEA.
The Adrenal Stress Index
The ASI test consists of four saliva samples collected at four separate times throughout the day. The findings in this panel are used to recommend customized treatment and preventive measures including diet and lifestyle changes, hormones, botanicals and vitamins.
Advantages of the ASI
1. The test is non-invasive and can be performed wherever you are.
2. Saliva is collected under real life conditions. There are no stressful blood draws and no gallon sized urine containers to carry around for 24 hours.
3. ASI samples are taken within one day and the more definitive free fraction is measured. This information cannot be obtained in blood tests.
4. The ASI expands treatment options by 400-500% over serum and urine test results.
Abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence:
Immune System Health
Muscle and Joint Function
The ASI is recommended for individuals that suffer from:
Chronic stress and related health problems
Lack of vitality and energy
Muscle and joint pain
Low sex drive
Low body temperature