Lab result ranges

Dear Wray,

I stumbled upon your site when I was looking for a link between my symptoms and hormone imbalance. Thank you so much for all of this invaluable information about progesterone. I recently turned 30, but feel as though I'm twice my age. I've had persistent hair loss (for a year and a half now), low energy, terrible memory, cold hands/feet, low libido, bouts of dizziness, etc. I have a feeling all of this stemmed from the Yaz BC pill I took for almost 3 years. All of my symptoms started about a year after I was off the pill.

I've been on Armour thyroid medication for about a year (on higher and lower dosages), but it doesn't seem to be helping (I'm borderline hypothyroid). After reading your information about how thyroid problems can actually stem from low progesterone, I'm ready to start the progesterone treatment pronto! I did, however, want to actually have my levels tested first. I went to an endocrinologist yesterday, and specifically asked for my progesterone to be tested. She said she doesn't usually test for progesterone unless a woman wants to know if she's ovulating to try to become pregnant. I lied and said I was trying to get pregnant. After that, she talked about putting me on synthetic thyroid medication! She didn't even know that a side effect of the synthetic kind is hair loss! Oh boy, I have no faith left in doctors.

Anyway, she told me to wait to get my hormones tested until the 21st day of my cycle when progesterone apparently peaks. She ordered the lab to test me for estradiol, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), progesterone, and prolactin. My question for you is this: do you happen to know what the proper range is for these hormones? I just don't want to be told that I fall within "normal range" when their definition of normal doesn't jive with optimal health.

Thank you,
Brittany

Comments for Lab result ranges

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Jan 27, 2012
Lab result ranges
by: Wray

Hi Brittany All drug based Contraceptives have the potential to cause harm. You might like to see these pages too, see here and here. Unfortunately contraceptives stop ovarian function, which of course stops progesterone secretion. Progesterone does speed metabolism slightly, whereas oestrogen doesn't, it slows it down. By speeding metabolism it causes temperature to rise, oestrogen causes it to drop, hence your cold hands and feet, see here. You could also be low in tyrosine, cold hands and feet are a sign, so is low libido. Although a non-essential amino acid, tyrosine is one of the most important. It's the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. It's also the precursor to the two thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), plus melanin, the pigment found in hair and skin. It's part of the enkephalin peptide involved in regulating and reducing pain, and increasing pleasure. Lack of protein and stress lower tyrosine levels, with a subsequent reduction in dopamine and noradrenaline. A drop in dopamine increases levels of prolactin, the hormone of lactogenesis, but also an inflammatory hormone. Dopamine is essential for a normal sexual response, increased prolactin causes a drop in libido. Tyrosine is essential for any stressful situation, cold, fatigue, emotional trauma, prolonged work, sleep deprivation, it improves memory, cognition and physical performance, and is used for weight loss treatments. Acute, uncontrollable stress depletes dopamine and noradrenaline, leading to depression and a rise in corticosterone, tyrosine reverses this. The rate limiting step in dopamine synthesis is the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. Insufficient levels of vitamin D inhibit tyrosine hydroxylase, resulting in a disturbance in the dopamine pathway. This is essential for motivation and vitality, levels rise when rewarded, resulting in feelings of pleasure. Progesterone also raises libido, we have many men using it for this. I find it amazing they don't test for progesterone, and that you had the courage to lie! Without this the whole hormone profile is worthless. And she's so wrong about having your test done on day 21, unless you have a 28 day cycle, do you? Cycles vary between 21 to 35 days, making 28 the average only. All women irrespective of the length of their cycle ovulate 12-14 days before bleeding. So peak mid-luteal phase can occur on day 14 for a 21 day cycle, or on day 28 if a 35 day cycle. Continued below.

Jan 27, 2012
Lab result ranges Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Brittany And why test for FSH only, LH should be done too. The ratio of these two is normally about 1:1, but if LH is higher it's a possible indication of PCOS. Not that I think you have this. Testosterone should be checked too, in particular free testosterone, which is rarely done. This is the metabolically active hormone, if bound to SHBG it's not. Unusual she wants prolactin tested, this is good news. I have done a web page on all the ranges for many hormones etc, but it's not up yet! So please come back to me when you have the results. I must tell you saliva tests are best, but doctors normally stick to the old blood tests. It's the ratios which are critical, not so much the amount, and this is rarely looked at, unless the test is done by ZRT Labs, they always look at it. You might have seen I recommend a far higher amount of progesterone than the norm, 100-200mg/day or more if symptoms are bad. So if you do try it, please use sufficient. But please read our page on Oestrogen Dominance first as this can occur. And please have a vitamin D test done, this is low in most of us and it's such a critical nutrient. For more info on vitamin D levels, testing etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth, Birmingham Hospital and Vitamin D Links websites. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Take care Wray

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