Response to the article in our last newsletter on the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) fell into two major categories: a large number of people who ordered the test, and a much larger number of people that had questions about the test. In this column I'll review the purpose and importance of the ASI test, the most frequently asked questions, and the experience of some of the participants that have taken the test.
The purpose of the ASI test is to measure the functional stress response activity of the adrenal glands. Smart Basics and Lifespan teamed up to offer this test out of our shared concern for the possible problems associated with unmonitored consumption of DHEA and pregnenalone. While it is far less complicated for us to offer a test measuring only DHEA levels, the larger issue of total adrenal function calls for a more complete test and consultation approach.
Measuring DHEA levels is certainly important, but to really define adrenal balance and pinpoint any potential adrenal dysfunction, one must measure the relationship of DHEA to changing levels of cortisol (another key adrenal stress hormone) throughout the day.
The ASI test utilizes saliva specimens collected at four different times throughout the day to plot changing levels of cortisol. DHEA levels are also measured and averaged across multiple specimens. This process is essential for an accurate DHEA measurement since DHEA levels can vary by about 14% across 4 hours of time.
Once samples are collected (a simple in home process) they are sent to a licensed laboratory for processing. Test results are forwarded to the client and a telephone consultation is scheduled (the ASI fee includes a 20 minute consultation). Using the test results and information from questionnaires included with the test, Lifespan then designs an accurate and individualized adrenal balancing program.
These programs may include specific recommendations for changes in diet and/or exercise, as well as certain nutritional supplements to regulate cortisol levels. DHEA and pregnenalone recommendations are also included, along with instructions for monitoring one's response to these hormones. The monitoring of hormonal changes that DHEA and pregnenolone can induce in progesterone, testosterone and the estrogens levels is key to an effective and safe DHEA and/or pregnenolone supplementation program.
The most frequently asked questions regarding the ASI fall into the category of "Should I, with my special circumstances, take the ASI test? Or "Given my particular circumstances, what will I learn? How will it help me?". We can only answer these questions in general terms, because~forgive me for stating what may be very obvious~each person is different. Different lab results, combined with different health situations produce different program recommendations and outcomes. But difference is really the key here. If we were all the same, we would not require individualized programs. The general circumstances that call for an ASI test are:
Client response to the testing has been very good. People seem to want to know what they, as individuals, need to do. Also seeing the test results that chart the functional dynamics of their adrenal gland and learning how some illness or condition is affected by their particular patterns, seems to be a real eye-opener and motivator for change.
Improvements in energy, endurance and better sleep are the most commonly mentioned responses to the program. Also frequently mentioned is the subjective reduction of anxiety concerning the use of the somewhat controversial DHEA and Pregnenalone.
I'm a distance runner living at 8,000 feet. I've practiced good dietary habits for the last 30 years. The only problem is that for the last 18 months I've been feeling unenergetic and rundown. I've been eating a high carb, low fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Since I thought I was doing everything right I assumed that my down-turn must be the result of aging. I started reading books and trying different supplements and dietary ideas, all to no avail.
One day in June I called Smart Basics to place an order and asked one of your staff if he knew anybody that could help a middle age athlete in good health improve. He recommended that I speak to Jerry Stine. That turned out to be beneficial advice for me.
Using the interview process and state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques, Jerry discovered that I was pushing my metabolism to the edge with the high carb/low fat (and low protein) diet that I was following. Within two days of making dietary changes, I began to feel good again. During the last 3 months we have refined my diet and supplement program to the point that I can say I have never felt better in my life.
With Jerry's help I have been conducting a series of experiments to determine what is optimum for my lifestyle and body type. A willingness on my part to try new things and adopt new habits has had a large payoff in available energy and a general sense of well being.
Having been a biology teacher and considering myself "up" on modern science I have been continually surprised to find how much I didn't know and how much good knowledge is around but unavailable to the general public for a decade or more.
Jerry's process is patient and methodical. It does not involve magic bullets or instant changes. However; I am convinced that the benefits of his approach will last me the rest of my life.
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