Revivelife Clinic I Naturopath in Ottawa

STRESS & NEUROTRANSMITTER TESTING

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STRESS 1
ADRENAL CHECK
4 POINT SALIVA

The Adrenal Check test measures the levels of Cortisol collected from saliva at various times of the day, as well as the level of DHEA-S and helps evaluate adrenal gland function and hormone balance.
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May be recommended if you are experiencing fatigue, insomnia, immune weakness or mood disorders.

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STRESS 2
HPA CHECK CORTISOL
AWAKENING RESPONSE
(CAR) 3 POINT SALIVA TEST

The CAR test measures the levels of cortisol collected from saliva at 3 times upon waking to assess your endocrine function of the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Normally upon waking cortisol will increase about 50% in the first 30 minutes then begin to progressively drop the remainder of the day. The HPA is vital to hormone health of stress, thyroid, and sex hormones.
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This testing is often useful for cases of PTSD, major depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and other severe stress conditions.

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STRESS 3
ADRENAL & HPA CHECK
ADRENAL FUNCTION
PROFILE + CAR

This test combines a 4-point cortisol test with a 3-point cortisol awakening response (CAR) for evaluation of adrenal gland and hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis health.
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This is a comprehensive test for your reaction to stress and how the endocrine HPA axis is responding. Recommended for chronic stress, fatigue, sleep concerns, mood disorders, and hormone imbalances.

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STRESS 4
BLOOD TEST

Blood testing is a simple cost-efficient test that offers a snap-shot in time of total or free fraction sex, adrenal and thyroid hormones. Serum testing is best used for hormones such as Luteinizing Hormone (LH), Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Insulin-like Growth Factor-1
(IGF-1) and some thyroid hormones. General health markers available as an add-on.
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This test supports balancing hormones that
can impact metabolism, hair loss, acne,
migraines, bone density or prostate health.

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STRESS 5
NEUROBASIC URINE TEST

A test to assess the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, GABA, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glutamate. Because neurotransmitters
are linked to sex and adrenal hormones for optimal care we recommend partnering
this test with our Hormone 1-Blood Test.
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May be recommended if you have energy, mood, or brain health concerns including attention deficit, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or a concussion. Note – a referral will be made to one of our nurse practitioners to order this test.

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STRESS 6
DUTCH COMPLETE TEST

Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones
is the most advanced test for bioavailable (free
and conjugated) sex, adrenal and sleep
hormones. In addition, add-on options of OATS
(organic acid test)–select nutrients with
neurotransmitters or thyroid hormones are
available. It is the preferred method of testing
for those who wish to have a complete
overview of their hormone and hormone
metabolite health in detail. Monthly mapping
option is available.
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Key for therapies for targeting all hormone
imbalances including male andropause or
female menopause, PMS (premenstrual
syndrome), PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian
syndrome), breast health, osteoporosis, adrenal
fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight
gain, cognitive decline, low libido or hair loss.

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STRESS 7
ORGANIC ACID TESTING

A comprehensive general health urine test
measuring organic acids (also linked to inborn
errors in metabolism) that offers a metabolic
snapshot of overall health with 75 markers of
Digestion, Detoxification, Longevity, Nutrients,
and the Neurotransmitters–epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.
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May be recommended if you experience any of
the following concerns: Digestive - bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation; Sensitivities – foods, environmental; Detoxification – liver health, hormone imbalances; Longevity - overall health; Immunity – colds, flus, allergies; Nutrient Deficiencies – fatigue, brain fog, skin concerns; Stress & Brain Function - anxiety, depression; Insomnia and or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – weak memory, concentration, mood changes; Weight Concerns.

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faqs

Recent medical surveys report that as many as eight out of ten people are found to suffer from neurotransmitter imbalances that ultimately result in general disorders like obesity, migraine headaches, depression, ADHD, and anxiety.

A neurotransmitter test can identify and correct neurotransmitter imbalances before they become severe enough to cause symptoms. It can help determine which medication or natural treatment would be beneficial in treating existing conditions.

Stress Hormones include Cortisol and DHEA produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol testing is available through blood or saliva.

  • Cortisol – is the “stress hormone” that is required to be released when under acute stress. However, chronically elevated levels of cortisol throughout the day may indicate excessive glucocorticoid production, and an inability to adapt to continued stress which may lead to imbalances in adrenal function.
  • DHEA – is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. DHEA is produced predominately by the adrenal glands, the gonads, and the brain. DHEA-S is the sulfated form. In blood, it approaches levels 300 times that of free DHEA and shows no significant diurnal variation. DHEA-S has important functions in the synthesis of sex hormones, energy production, and protection against the degenerative effects of aging. It can affect insulin sensitivity and plays a role both in thyroid function and protein synthesis.
  • Cortisol/DHEA-S Ratio – this ratio, which normally ranges from 5:1 to 6:1, is an indicator of the adrenal output of Cortisol and the androgens. If the ratio is higher than normal it may be due to adrenal dysfunction. When the body experiences chronic stress, pregnenolone, the precursor to all other steroidal hormones, begins to overproduce Cortisol at the expense of all the other steroidal hormones (DHEA and its metabolites, including progesterone, testosterone, and estrogens). This creates an elevated Cortisol to DHEA ratio. If the ratio is lower than normal for that age, and the DHEA-S level is within the normal range, it is probably due to the maintenance of DHEA-S output with advancing age. However, if the ratio for that age is lower than expected, it is probably due to high DHEA levels, low Cortisol, or both of these.

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of the nervous system, which are essential for relaying signals within the brain and communicating with all organ systems of the body. Neurotransmitters are like gas pedals and the brakes in your car. Your nervous system needs a balance of excitatory (gas pedal) and inhibitory (the brake) neurotransmitters to function optimally. Common neurotransmitters include serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Others include GABA, PEA, Glutamate, and Histamine. 1-19

  • Serotonin – is a neurotransmitter linked to mood, sleep, cravings, and the body’s perception of the intensity of pain.
  • Dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter, that is largely responsible for regulating the pleasure reward pathway, motivation, memory and coordination of body movements. Caffeine and other stimulants, such as medications for ADD/ADHD, often improve focus by increasing dopamine release, although continual stimulation of this release can deplete dopamine over time. Parkinson’s disease, which is a degenerative disease that results in tremors and motor movement impairments, is caused by the loss of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.
  • Epinephrine (Adrenaline) – much like norepinephrine, this excitatory neurotransmitter helps regulate muscle contraction, heart rate, glycogen breakdown, blood pressure and more, and is heavily involved in a stress response.
  • Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline) – is involved in a wide variety of actions including playing a key role in alertness, focus, regulating heart rate, affecting blood flow, and suppressing inflammation. Involved in arousal, it prepares the body for action by relaying messages in the sympathetic nervous system as part of the autonomic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response.
  • GABA – This naturally occurring amino acid helps to calm the body and balances the excitatory action of other neurotransmitters. GABA contributes to the vision, motor control, and plays a role in the regulation of anxiety.
  • PEA – PEA (Phenethylamine) promotes energy, elevates mood, regulates attention and aggression, and serves as a biomarker for ADHD.
  • Glutamate –is an excitatory neurotransmitter and is considered to be the most abundant neurotransmitter in the nervous system. Glutamate is involved in most aspects of normal brain function including cognition, memory, and learning, although high levels of glutamate can cause excitotoxicity, a process where nerve cells are damaged by excessive stimulation. Glutamate and GABA play opposite balancing roles of each other with glutamate being stimulatory and GABA being relaxing. Glutamate is converted into GABA triggered by an enzyme called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). Conversely, GABA can turn back to glutamate as needed.
  • Histamine – an excitatory neurotransmitter involved in the sleep/wake cycle and inflammatory response. Histamine plays a dual role in the body as both a neurotransmitter and immunomodulator increasing metabolism, promoting wakefulness, attention, circadian rhythms, learning, and memory. It plays a role in allergic reactions and is produced as part of the immune system’s response to pathogens.

One of the biggest problems in today’s society is that too many people are pressing down too heavily on the gas pedal, yet barely touching the brakes. This leads to elevated epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glutamate (the excitatory neurotransmitters) and lows GABA (the primary inhibitory one), and low serotonin. This imbalance makes you feel depressed, irritated, negative, and tired, but at the same time, you cannot sleep or rest well because the excitatory neurotransmitters are too high. That person will continue to struggle with these symptoms until neurotransmitters are brought back into balance. Making matters worse, out-of-balance neurotransmitters can often push hormones out of balance as well.

There are many key relationships of how neurotransmitters work in partnership with adrenal health and hormones. Examples include:

  • Serotonin is a key component for the brain’s messaging in the hypothalamus to release ACTH, which is needed for the release of cortisol and DHEA.
  • Cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine work together to mobilize stored energy, to manage fatigue and stress.

The symptoms and conditions associated with stress or neuroendocrine imbalances may include:

  • Adrenal Dysfunction
  • Fatigue: chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia
  • Brain: reduced memory and cognition, hyperactivity, attention deficit (ADD or ADHD), traumatic brain injury (TBI)/concussion, addictions or dependency, compulsive behaviors, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Mood: anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, stress, insomnia
  • Immune: allergies, intolerances, autoimmune conditions, frequent colds, flus and risks associated
  • Digestion: low or high HCL, reduced enzymes, weaker digestion, IBS, Leaky Bowel Syndrome, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Cardiovascular: atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Metabolic: weight concerns, loss of appetite control, cravings, diabetes
  • Nutrients: deficiencies, malnutrition, malabsorption
  • Hormone Imbalance: fibrocystic breasts, mood changes, PMS, PCOS, perimenopause/menopause, andropause, thinning or brittle hair, excess sweating, body temperature changes, water retention, change in appetite, infertility, low libido
  • Pain: migraines, headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, joint pain, muscular stiffness, and generalized pain, reduced mobility

No, you do not need a referral to have these tests done. Simply book an appointment.

 The principal risks of stress or neurotransmitter imbalances of include:

  • Genetic Link
  • Over Work or Over Training Syndrome
  • Stress (acute, chronic or PTSD)
  • Poor Diet – standard American diet, which is low in fibre and high in sugar and saturated fats
  • Lack of Nutrients – reduced intake, lower quantities in food supply, weaker digestion, lack of absorption
  • Food Hypersensitivities – Intolerances, Sensitivities IgG and or Allergies IgE
  • Digestive Imbalance – Low Stomach Acid, SIBO, Leaky Bowel, Colitis, Chron’s, IBS, Celiac
  • Inflammation or Infection
  • Injury
  • Lack of Exercise

Your Naturopath or Nurse Practitioner will help assess which test is right for you, including an analysis of the most cost-efficient path of testing. We recommend a New Patient Visit with one of our Naturopathic Doctors for the most comprehensive approach to your health or a Pre-Lab Visit for a quick snapshot prior to lab testing as there are many tests available. Lab testing alone is a one-dimensional picture of your health. The expertise of a health professional is required to create a three-dimensional picture for proper selection, and interpretation of lab testing. To complete your care we recommend booking your Post-Lab consult 2 weeks after testing to review your results and receive your tailored health plan.

Your medical doctor focuses on tests covered under OHIP. The tests offered here include tests that are not commonly offered or only partially offered at medical doctor’s offices in Ontario. In addition, an in-depth review of your lifestyle, health, and other aspects of what defines your optimal levels are taken into consideration.

Third-party insurance companies may cover all or a portion of your consultations. Most of other integrative testing is not currently covered by private insurance companies. Please check with your individual provider for details and how to submit claims.

Your Revivelife clinician will review all findings and create a personalized plan for you based on what the root causes are that are linked to any imbalances. The use of tailored menus, targeted nutraceuticals, natural or bio-identical hormone support, acupuncture or other integrative therapies are often advised. 

We recommend a New Patient Visit for the most comprehensive approach to your health or a Pre-Lab Visit for a quick snapshot before lab testing and a Post-Lab consult to review your results and receive your tailored health plan.

To book an appointment Click Here!

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  3. Arias-Carrión O, Stamelou M, Murillo-Rodríguez E, Menéndez-González M, Pöppel E. Dopaminergic reward system: a short integrative reviewInt Arch Med. 2010;3:24. doi:10.1186/1755-7682-3-24
  4. Exercise Promotes Neuroplasticity in Both Healthy and Depressed Brains: An fMRI Pilot Study, Gourgourvelis J, Yielder P, and Murphy B, Neural Plast. 2017;830587
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  7. Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study, Streeter CC, Whitfield TH, et al, J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov; 16(11):1145-1152
  8. Tank AW, Lee wong D. Peripheral and central effects of circulating catecholamines. Compr Physiol. 2015;5(1):1-15. doi:10.1002/cphy.c140007
  9. McEntee WJ, Crook TH, Glutamate: its role in learning, memory, and the aging brain. Psychopharmacology. 111 (4):391-401.
  10. Free amino acids in milks of human subjects, other primates and non-primates, Sarwar G et al. Br J Nutr. 1998 Feb.
  11. GABA Synthesis, Uptake and Release, Olsen RW and DeLorey TM, Brain Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects. 6th Edition , 1999.
  12. Balanced translocation linked to psychiatric disorder, glutamate, and cortical structure/function, Thompson PA, Duff B, Blackwood DHR, et al, NPJ Schizophr. 2016; 2:16024
  13. Glutamate as a neurotransmitter in the brain: review of physiology and pathology, Meldrum BS, J Nutr. 2000 Apr.
  14. The role of glutamate in anxiety and related disorders, Cortese BM et al. CNS Spectr. 2005 Oct.
  15. Postmortem brain abnormalities of the glutamate neurotransmitter system in autism, Purcell AE et al. Neurology. 2001
  16. About Glutamate Toxicity , June 26, 2011, hopes-standford.edu, retrieved 1,27,21
  17. The role of Glutamate and its receptors in migraine, Vikelis M et al, CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2007 Aug. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2007 Aug;6(4):251-7.
  18. Relationship between Glutamate Dysfunction and Symptoms and Cognitive Function in Psychosis, Merritt K, McGuire P, and Egerton A, Front Psychiatry. 2013; 4:151.
  19. Nuutinen S, Panula P. Histamine in neurotransmission and brain diseases. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010;709:95-107. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-8056-4_10
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