This past weekend I did back-to-back adrenal fatigue and SIBO testing, and so today I wanted to share with you all the information about the adrenal fatigue test.
The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can’t live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions. (source)
I am working on a more detailed post around “adrenal fatigue,” also known as hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis or HTPA axis), but for today, I wanted to share with you what testing to see if you have it is like.
More than anything else, it is my wish and hope for you that this is the year you stop Googling, start knowing and really get to the bottom of any and all health issues by asking for and taking tests such as this one and working with someone to help fill in the other holes.
How to Get the Adrenal Fatigue Test
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I work with a doctor at The California Institute for Functional Medicine, and he was the one who ordered this and all other, tests for me. Because adrenal fatigue is dismissed by conventional medicine, you might have a hard time getting it from your primary doctor. Don’t let that deter you from getting the test done if you think you might be suffering from it. Find a new doctor to get a second opinion so you can get the adrenal fatigue test.
How to Prepare for the Adrenal Fatigue Test
The adrenal fatigue test takes one day. There is not a huge preparation for taking the test, but there are some key rules on the day you take the test:
- no hormones on the day you take the test (for me this meant no WP Thyroid)
- no caffeine
- no alcohol
- no smoking
For one hour before collection (essentially 4 total hours throughout the day):
- no teeth brushing or flossing
- no mouthwash
- no eating or drinking anything except for water
What is Contained in the Adrenal Fatigue Testing Kit?
The testing kit comes with the following:
- 4 collection vials, color-coded for morning, noon, afternoon and night-time
- 5 patient information labels
- 2 bio hazard specimen bags
- a 10 ml collection vial which is capped with a yellow lid
- return packing and shipping components
Adrenal Fatigue Collection Timing
The test monitors biochemical activity over the course of a single day. The timing of collection is very important, and if you miss a collection slot, you have to start over a different day. Because of this, I strongly recommend that you choose a day where you can be at home the entire day, resting and relaxing and able to closely monitor timing and all other aspects of the test. Both times I have done this test I have adhered to those rules, and I can’t imagine doing it any other way, with chaos.
You do the collection for the 10ml tube 30 minutes prior to or after the smaller vial.
Collection times for the 10ml tube are as follows:
- 6-9 am
- 11 am – 1 pm
- 3-5 pm
- 8-10 pm
Collection times for the smaller vials are as follows:
- 6-8 am
- 12-1 pm
- 4-5 pm
- 10 pm – 12 am
Note: You only do one collection, sometime during that time. You don’t need to block off the full span of time.
This is exactly how I did mine:
- Collection 1: 6:55 am (10ml) + 7:25 am (small vial)
- Collection 2: 11:30 am (10ml) + 12 pm (small vial)
- Collection 3: 4:30 pm (10ml) + 5 pm (small vial)
- Collection 4: 9:30 pm (10ml) + 10 pm (small vial)
How to Do an Adrenal Fatigue Collection?
The way you collect samples is via saliva. You rinse your mouth out with water about 5 minutes prior. Then, you collect the required amount for each. For the large vial, you fill 2 ml each time, and for the small vials, 4 ml. It sounds simple, but like these tests in general, it’s not easy.
The amount required for collection must be pure saliva, no foam, phlegm or throat clearings, so you end up providing a lot of saliva, which is tough to generate on its own.
Some tips they give for producing saliva include:
- holding tongue against the roof of the mouth
- smelling a cut lemon
Honestly? Only yawning really worked for me. It took 5-10 minutes each time to come up with the total amount.
Once you have completed each sample, you put the cap back on firmly and place your patient label on it. Then, the vial must immediately go into the freezer (in a biohazard bag with orange absorbent pad) until it’s ready to ship.
The samples are sensitive so they can only ship via 2-day air, and must stay frozen/cold. For this reason, you’ll be provided with packaging materials to accompany such shipping (gel packs, metallic bubble envelope, etc.)
And finally, because the samples must arrive frozen and then remain frozen, you are only able to ship on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, which is something else you’ll have to take into consideration for planning purposes.
Mine will ship today, on a Monday.
And that’s it. Doing this test only requires a little planning, but it’s not physically painful or exhaustive. Well, unless you do it back-to-back with the SIBO test, then maybe just a little!
Hope that helps. As always, let me know if you have any questions!
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You will heal. I will help.