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Is an over-the-counter hormone test accurate?

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Is an over-the-counter hormone test accurate?

In this day and age, medical advice is readily available from a multitude of sources: the internet, our friends and family, drugstores, health stores, and of course, licensed healthcare professionals. We’re all looking for ways to look and feel our best while maintaining our health and immunity.

On a recent shopping trip to Target, we noticed a series of at-home lab tests by the brand EverlyWell. There were tests for Testosterone for men, hormone health for women, food sensitivity, and allergens to name a few. Our Medical Director at Fountain of You MD in Virginia Beach, Dr. Jeffrey Arbuckle, was immediately intrigued by the idea of being able to check hormone levels without a blood test. As a licensed and practicing board-certified physician for over 25 years, he is extremely well-versed in treating and testing hormonal imbalance in men and women. Aside from physical and mental symptoms, like low energy, difficulty with erections, and trouble sleeping, low Testosterone is most accurately diagnosed by a blood test. Dr. Arbuckle has ordered thousands of lab tests, all of which were completed and analyzed in CLIA-certified laboratories. The external packaging of the EverlyWell kit failed to mention a blood sample, which piqued Doc’s interest even more.

Everywell kit

The kit came with thorough instructions on submitting the sample and retrieving the results. They claimed accurate results based on a small saliva sample. Our brave physician decided to become the patient and proceeded to take the test. To make things more interesting, Dr. Arbuckle had blood drawn by our nursing staff. We then sent both samples for testing: his blood sample to LabCorp and the EverlyWell kit to their lab.

How Everywell Kit works

 

The results from the blood test came back within 12 hours and showed his Testosterone levels within the normal range for a man his age at 824ng/dL. The results from the EverlyWell kit were received 8 days later and showed a “high” result of 352pg/mL. The difference in the levels, tested on the same day, at the same time, is astounding!

The world of medicine is constantly evolving. We’re learning more and more about the human body and how to keep ourselves feeling our best. While an over-the-counter test that measures hormone, levels sounds convenient and enticing, it’s best to be treated by a licensed medical professional. Here, at Fountain of You MD in Virginia Beach, Dr. Arbuckle is an expert at managing hormones in men and women across Hampton Roads. He is passionate about helping people look and feel their best at every stage of life. If you’re suffering from weight gain, low sex drive, unexplained hair loss, increased body fat, or loss of strength, you may have unbalanced hormones. The aging process and the inevitable hormonal changes can affect your overall sense of well-being. Now is the time to schedule your consultation! Call us now!

Low Testosterone Levels and Chronic Diseases in Men

Testosterone deficiency, also known as male hypogonadism, occurs when the body’s sex glands produce little to no hormones. This condition affects men of all ages. Hormonal imbalance has a direct effect on overall health. Many men are unaware that the symptoms they live with are related to hormone levels. You may be suffering from weight gain, irritability, problems in the bedroom, or loss of muscle mass. These common symptoms are associated with unbalanced hormones, although many people just chalk them up as age-related. Researchers are learning that declining levels of testosterone contribute to a decline in general health, as well as increases risk for chronic disease.

Recent studies have proven that low levels of testosterone in men could lead to increased risk of developing a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, arthritis, clinical depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pulmonary disease. Scientists have found a direct correlation between low levels of testosterone and the resistance of insulin, which is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Low testosterone levels can be a marker of early mortality and can lead to the activation of genes linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. The mortality rates of heart disease in men with low testosterone are nearly double compared to those with normal levels.

Restoring testosterone levels can help improve your overall health, with positive changes to your mood, sexual desire and function, metabolic function, exercise capacity, cognitive impairment, and increased energy levels. Results are showing testosterone replacement therapy has a substantial effect on obesity and body composition, especially muscle mass.

Here at Fountain of You MD in Virginia Beach, VA, we treat hormonal imbalance with a comprehensive combination of bioidentical hormones and lifestyle changes. Our program is specially formulated to help you lose weight, feel more energized, and regain your sense of vitality. We specialize in safe and effective therapies to help improve your performance and get you back to enjoying your life again.

Testosterone Loss, an Epidemic

I often tell my patients our grandfathers had twice the level of testosterone than we do. But because of modern lifestyles and environmental factors, many men experience loss of testosterone even at early ages. The average age of patients in my hormone replacement and anti-aging innovation clinic, Fountain of You, MD, in Virginia Beach is only 38 years old.

How Lifestyle Affects Testosterone

Obesity is definitely a huge factor in lowering levels of testosterone. It is estimated that approximately 70% of Americans are overweight, and, statistically, 70% of men over 50 years old have low testosterone.

Fat cells within the body convert testosterone into estrogen. Elevated estrogen levels make it extremely difficult to lose weight. That’s why many men find it harder to lose weight the larger they get and the older they get.

In my opinion, the biggest culprit in both the low T epidemic and the obesity epidemic is processed foods. We recommend our patients try a Paleo diet, or caveman diet.. This diet consists of non-processed foods like meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The Paleo rule is to shop around the outside of the grocery store, where fresher whole foods are sold, and stay out of the center aisles where processed foods are located.

Our food supply, which has been altered by pesticides and herbicides, plastics used in packaging and additives in foods, may also affect testosterone levels. The infiltration of soy, which can be estrogenic, as a low-cost protein booster in the American diet has contributed to rising estrogen levels. These factors make it even harder to control the hormones in our bodies.

Inactivity and stress also certainly contribute to the problems with testosterone and obesity. Americans experience high levels of stress, which affects physical and mental health. Many people sit behind a desk and get no exercise or very little vigorous activity in their days.

Low testosterone has been related to the opioid crisis, marijuana usage, alcohol abuse, and excess caffeine. All of these substances of abuse are known to lower testosterone and increase the conversion to estrogen.

While getting more exercise and eating a healthier diet may help testosterone levels, it may not be enough to overcome the effects of low T. Hormone replacement therapy can boost your testosterone levels, improving your mood and energy levels. When provided by experts, hormone therapy is safe and effective.

I am very proud of the fact that at Fountain of You, MD, 96% of our patients saw an improvement in their testosterone levels. We can help you feel younger again with hormone replacement therapy, weight management and more. Contact us today at 757-644-4615 to get back your energy.

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