The ZRT Laboratory Blog

The ZRT Blog is an extensive resource for patients and health care providers searching for health and hormone testing information. Here, you can read about ZRT’s cutting edge research, advances in testing, wellness advice, and health industry highlights.

Diurnal Fluctuations in Norepinephrine & Epinephrine as Part of the Healthy Stress Response

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Thursday, 08 December

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Stress has become a synonymous, integral even, accompaniment of life in our fast-paced world. Generally regarded as "distress," our bodies struggle to re-establish physiological integrity at certain times, such as after working long hours, or when we have insufficient exercise, sleep and nutrition. Driven by persistent exposure to stressors, the body begins to lose its dynamic resilience and fails to return the system to a normal baseline healthy state. Derailed and overwhelmed, our susceptibility to stress-related diseases is greatly increased [1].

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Feel Awful at "That Time of The Month"? It's More than Just Your Hormones.

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Saturday, 16 July

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Historically a taboo subject, menstruation has long been stigmatized as unclean and negative; provoking multiple complex cultural values.

Since starting to talk publically about periods, we know so much more about the biochemical basics and physical aspects of menstruation. We are now also beginning to better understand the underlying interplay of sex-hormones with neurotransmitters that create the harmony of a normal menstrual cycle, or the symptom havoc seen with PMS, or its more severe form PMDD. 

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How Pill Contraceptives Affect Mood & Behavior

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Thursday, 12 May

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Reliable contraception is a monumental achievement of the last century. Very effective at preventing pregnancy, oral contraceptives, generally referred to as "the Pill," are commonly prescribed to women of reproductive age.

Aside from contraceptive purposes, the Pill can also be used to treat gynecological disorders such as irregular or excessive bleeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), severe menstrual cramping, acne, and endometriosis-associated pain, and their use has been associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. 

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How to Use the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) in Addressing Adrenal Function

Posted by Dr. Allison Smith on Friday, 04 March

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Treatment Takeaway

On awakening cortisol should increase about 50% in the first 30 minutes then begin to progressively drop the remainder of the day. Three, rather than one, early morning collections are what is needed to accurately assess the CAR; one immediately on waking, one 30 minutes later, and another at 1 hour.

Diurnal Cortisol Curve Assessment

Thirty minutes after awakening from a good night's sleep, cortisol levels are at the highest they'll be all day. Following the morning peak, cortisol levels then fall to less than half that peak level by noon. They continue to drop to very low levels at night where they stay low during the sleep hours. Some individuals have a sharp rise to reach morning levels, others a more gradual incline. Looking at cortisol levels graphed during the day, any abnormal elevation, or depression of levels, or a loss of the expected curve with its characteristic morning peak and swooping decline towards evening may suggest HPA axis dysfunction – which is what we're most interested in assessing when we're looking at a diurnal cortisol curve (i.e. a 4-point cortisol test).

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