DiagnosTechs Lab Testing for the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI)

Hi, I'm Dr. Marie Starling.

At The Healing Center, we help people like you reach their full potential.

I specialize in adjunctive care for internal disorders, autoimmune conditions, IBS, thyroid symptoms, diabetes, and other complex health issues.

 

By:  Dr. Caitlin Landerholm, DC

Why we run the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI)

Adrenal related disorders have become an epidemic as we currently live in a high stress society. The adrenal glands adapt to stress (emotional, chemical, physical) by producing steroid hormones cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, and DHEA; and catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine. Dysfunction of the adrenal glands is not due to a problem with the gland, but rather the pathways in the brain that signal the glands to perform their function.  Patients often have symptoms of Adrenal Stress and they take supplements for their adrenals, but they don’t improve. This is because their symptoms are NOT an adrenal gland issue.

We run the ASI to rule in OR rule out Adrenal Stress Syndrome. We often know patients have this based on their symptoms, but we need to know what kind in order to treat it appropriately.

Signs and symptoms of Cortisol Imbalance

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches with physical or mental stress and/or afternoon headaches
  • Slow starter in the morning
  • Crave sweets, salt, caffeine, nicotine
  • Get shaky or light headed if meals are missed or delayed
  • Irritable before meals
  • Eating relieves or worsens fatigue
  • Difficulty falling asleep (adrenal hyperfunction) or staying asleep (adrenal hypofunction)
  • Weak immune system
  • Allergies

About the test

The Adrenal Stress Index panel is a collection of 4 saliva samples during the day. A sample is collected in the morning, noon, afternoon, and evening on the same day. The test measures 4 levels of cortisol, 1 level of DHEA, total secretory IgA, and gliadin antibody SIgA.

Cortisol is secreted in a specific pattern during a 24 hour period. Any alterations in this pattern indicate adrenal stress syndrome. The normal pattern is high levels of cortisol in the morning, which gradually decrease and obtains our lowest levels at midnight. Cortisol has in inverse relationship with melatonin so at night when cortisol levels decrease, melatonin increases to induce sleep.  When we are asleep, our bodies are in a fasting state so cortisol levels rise to maintain our blood sugar to feed brain and blood cells. Usually patients that have adrenal hyperfunction will have spikes in the late evening when cortisol should be low, and those that have adrenal exhaustion will have low cortisol in the morning when it should be high.

pic-1-melatonin.cortisol

http://coachmikeblogs.com/cant-sleep-blame-technology/

What to know before the test

  • It is important for patients to not have adrenal stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine or other substances that may interfere with accurate levels of cortisol such as licorice root or adrenal glandulars. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine must be avoided on the day of the test. Herbs that impact adrenal function should be avoided for at least 4 days before the test.
  • The test should be performed during a patient’s average day. For example, the test should not be performed on a day of a stressful event such as running a marathon, or day at the amusement park, or attending a funeral or other emotional event.
  • If the patients is or has been on corticosteroid drugs within 3 months, accurate levels may not be determined.

The Adrenal Response to Stress

The adrenal glands adapt to stress in three stages:

  • Stage 1: Alarm reaction
    • This is the body’s initial response to stress. The adrenal glands to into a hyperfunctional state to increase cortisol to adapt to the demands of stress.
  • Stage 2: Resistance stage
    • This occurs of stress is prolonged. The adrenals will adapt to this stage by going through a process called the “pregnenolone steal.” Pregnenolone is the precursor for cortisol and all the sex hormones. During stress, the body will use pregnenolone to make cortisol to deal with stress instead of DHEA for sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
  • Stage 3: Exhaustion stage
    • This represents a point where the adrenals can no longer adapt to stress and are exhausted.

What we’re looking for

graph-ASI

http://www.medicinegarden.com/2011/02/20/high-cortisol-part-3/

We determine if there is a dysfunction in the:

  1. Quantity of cortisol production controlled by the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis,
  2. Circadian Rhythm of cortisol and melatonin controlled by the Hippocampus,
  3. Amplitude of the stress response controlled by the Mesencephalic Reticular (Limbic) System.

Symptoms of dysfunction in the Quantity of Cortisol production:

  • Low cortisol: shaky, irritable and jittery if going too long between meals, need to eat every few hours, eating food relieves fatigue and gives energy (Hypoglycemia)
  • High cortisol: weight gain, fatigue after meals, craves sugar, need to eat sweets or have caffeine after lunch (Insulin Resistance)

Symptoms of dysfunction in the Circadian Rhythm of Cortisol and Melatonin:

  • Low cortisol in AM: can’t get out of bed, snoozes alarm multiple times, need coffee or a cigarette in the morning, has to work out in AM in order to function
  • High cortisol in AM: wakes tired, needs excess amounts of sleep, can’t recover from workouts, can’t achieve deep/REM sleep
  • If cortisol doesn’t come down: craves sugar, needs nap after lunch, needs sweets/caffeine after lunch
  • If cortisol drops too quickly: afternoon crash in energy, needs caffeine or sugar
  • Low cortisol in PM: can’t stay asleep
  • High cortisol in PM: can’t fall asleep/insomnia, doesn’t feel rested in the morning

Symptoms of dysfunction in the Amplitude of the stress response:

  • Memory deficits: needs reminders, forgets where keys, phone, and car are located, difficulty learning information, difficulty retaining information
  • Chronic fatigue, can’t sleep at night, chronic blood sugar issues
  • Sensitivity to sound, crowds, and light
  • Balance issues, OCD, can’t calm down the mind

Impacts of Adrenal Stress Syndrome

Cortisol plays a critical role in our physiology and metabolism. Although the adrenal glands aren’t the problem, it’s important that they work. Here’s a list of conditions/processes an imbalance of cortisol directly impacts:

  • Blood Sugar imbalances
  • Thyroid Defects
  • Anterior Pituitary hypofunction
  • Liver Detoxification dysfunction
  • Intestinal dysbiosis and Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Suppressed Immune System
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Cardiovascular disease

 

More information about DiagnosTech Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) panel can be found at:

http://www.diagnostechs.com/Pages/AdrenalStressIndex.aspx


Sources

Grisanti, Ron, DC & Weatherby, Dicken, ND. “Insider’s Guide Adrenal Stress Index Interpretation.” Functional Medicine University. Web. 20 June 2016. <http://www.functionalmedicine.net/pdf/lesson57_insider_guide.pdf>

Kharrazian, Datis, DC, MS, FAACP, DACBN, DIBAK, CNS, CCN, CSCS, CCSP. “Functional EndocrinologyAssessment and Nutritional Management.” Apex Energetics. 2004.

Related Posts

Optimal Nervous System and Chiropractic

The Nervous System is in charge of sending messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to all parts of the body. The Nervous System integrates everything going on in the body. Your nervous system functioning optimally is a big deal!

Green Smoothie Recipe!

Green smoothies are an excellent way to get an array of healthy ingredients in one meal! Whether you’re short on time, or just love smoothies they are a delicious addition to your day requiring very little prep time, or clean up! Here is a recipe we enjoy at The Healing Center:

ZYTO HAND SCAN – FDA APPROVED!

At the Healing Center Denver, we utilize the Zyto hand scan as part of our comprehensive investigation into your individual health issues, which could include autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s, lupus, adrenal fatigue and more.
Just recently, Zyto technology was approved by the FDA as safe and accurate, and is the only energy scanner of its type that is fully approved as a Class II Medical Device and neurological device by the FDA!!

7 Steps to a Healthy Thyroid!

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate as well as heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, and mood and bone maintenance.

Staying Safe in the Summer Sun – Sun Exposure, Sunscreen, and Hydration

During the hot summer months, it’s important to stay hydrated and mindful of exposure to the sun. We will discuss staying hydrated, getting sun exposure for Vitamin D synthesis, and healthy sunscreen options.

Summer Recipe from Fresh Perspective!

Hello friends! My name is Sonja Miltner. I am a vegan personal chef, and my business is called Fresh Perspective. My parents converted to vegetarianism in their early twenties and raised me that way as well. In my adult life I found a passion for creating nutritious and delicious vegan meals for my family, my friends, and myself. I offer personalized, in-home meal prep for busy families, professionals, and athletes.

In Doubt about Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that this characterized by sudden reoccurring attacks of severe pain, redness, tenderness, heat/warmth, and swelling in the joints of the body. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint is the most commonly affected area of the body, but it can also affect other major joints of the body (ex: hand, wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, etc…). Gout is commonly caused by an increased intake in foods that are rich in purines and/or a dysfunction of the kidney’s ability to properly excrete uric acid from the body.

Meet Our New Doctor!!

Dr. Katharine Gandy is a passionate student of all things holistic and strives to help others find their optimum life potential. Using disciplines of chiropractic, functional medicine, energy work, massage, and cranial sacral, this integrative natural care physician has been treating patients with a wide range of conditions for over 13 years. Dr. Gandy focuses her continuing education in Neuro-Emotional Technique, nutrition, allergy elimination, pediatrics, and functional neurology to help her patients address the physical, chemical and emotional imbalances created from the multiple stressors we face each day.

Reiki Classes!

In June, The Healing Center is offering a 3-part course to offer clients the opportunity to learn the basics of Reiki healing energy and understand how to use energy for your own healing, and daily wellness. The classes are taught by Suzanne Rainey, a healer and spiritual guide who works with energy and also guides clients through their Akashic Records for healing and insight.

Suzanne is a Karuna Reiki Master, registered with the International Center for Reiki Training, and teaches beginners through masters/teachers, as well as Karuna, the Reiki of Compassion.

Announcement: Foundations of Health: Toxins and Pathogens in your Environment

Have you ever eaten sushi? 

Have you ever used Windex or other common cleaning products?

Have you ever traveled, or kissed someone?

If the answer is yes, you’ve been exposed to pathogens and other toxic chemicals.  Unfortunately, they are a widespread part of our modern lives.

Join us at The Healing Center for Dr. Marie Starling’s FREE Foundations of Health Series, “Toxins and Pathogens in your Environment,” to understand daily exposures that destroy your health, learn what they are, and how to avoid them.