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Welcome to Essentially Quinny - A podcast to help you learn more about your body and all the things that affect your health.

I have more than 12 years experience in the Natural Health field working with practitioners and doctors and speaking all over the world.

With more and more people wanting to take responsibility for their health and well being, I am bringing weekly episodes to you so you can make informed choices towards your good health.

If you would like to book an appointment with me, I
 am available for both online and in person consults.

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Nov 24, 2020

Last week we spoke about how a balanced, healthy hormonal system is required for setting and achieving goals. If you missed it head to to check it out.

A saliva test is a sampling of saliva that will give a breakdown of 7 different hormones that we can look at as a benchmark for where you are at.


In females we test Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), morning cortisol, progesterone, testosteron, estrogen1 (E1), estrogen 2 (E2) and estrogen 3 (E3), ratios between E1, E2 and E3 and ratios between estrogen and progesterone.

Because female hormones cycle, we measure the progesterone when it is at its peak. For this reason, in an optimal cycle of 28 days, we measure on days 19, 20 or 21 between 6am and 8am. This is because the morning cortisol level is the most helpful (cortisol fluctuates during the day). 

What we want to see when we measure cortisol, is high cortisol in the morning (to give you energy) and low in the evening (so you can sleep).


In males we don’t need to go into as much detail. We measure all of the levels listed for females except E3 and progesterone and as such we do not require the ratio measurements.

Males can also be tested at any time of the month.


What does stress do to hormones?

If we are talking about stress we are talking about our adrenal glands. 

Our adrenal glands are like a little almond that sits on top of each of your kidneys. The adrenal gland produces different hormones, with some of them helping the body to deal with stress. The higher the stress, the more the adrenal glands will produce adrenaline and cortisol. 

Adrenaline gives you power and cortisol is produced after the adrenalin to ‘dampen’ the adrenaline. In chronic stress there is so much cortisol produced that levels get very high causing problems elsewhere in the body. 


Why is DHEA important?

Once we know what the cortisol levels are we can look at DHEA. DHEA is the precursor for hormone production meaning it helps initiate the production of all hormones. If DHEA levels are dropping while cortisol is increasing, we know that after a period of time the body will not be able to produce more cortisol. 

Low DHEA and low cortisol levels result in chronic fatigue.  At this point of dysfunction in the body, the person will also have problems with producing other hormones and as such will eventually show low testosterone, low estrogen and low progesterone. This is what I call the ‘empty tank syndrome’ because the body just doesn’t have any fuel to keep going.


Should we detox if we have chronic fatigue or ’empty tank’?

When we talk about detoxing we are talking about flushing the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. 

When under stress estrogen levels rise, so in the early stages of chronic stress we will see the estrogen/progesterone ratio out due to the high estrogen levels. To balance this ratio we need a healthy liver and gut for excretion. Therefore toxins do play an important role with hormone regulation, however detoxing is not the first thing we look at. 

To begin with, we see what hormones are high and what is low as this will give us a good picture of your hormones at this time (eg how empty the tank is). 

For example, let's look at someone with high testosterone because of the disruption with the production pathways (DHEA). This can happen in both males and females. In females we can see the symptoms of this as a deepening of the voice, increased facial hair and even a change in behaviour (more aggressive/argumentive/rigid). Polycystic ovaries and cystic acne often go hand in hand with high testosterone. 


What about acne in teenage boys? Is this caused by high testosterone as well? 

A common cause of extreme acne in teenage boys is due to high estrogen. This is often caused by poor diet leading to gut and liver dysfunction and high stress levels. This means the hormones can not be cleared effectively from the body which leads to increased acne (amongst other things). 


So every case is unique?

In a way, yes. That’s why we need to know the hormone levels in order to get an accurate picture of what is happening in the body. Once we know what is happening there are a range of herbals, nutritionals, essential oils, homeopathics and other remedies we can use to bring the body back into balance. 

If progesterone is low we often use essential oils for helping the body back into balance. There are also homeopathic remedies but unfortunately we can’t get these into Australia at this time.

Oftentimes, when women realise they have low progesterone, they are directed to synthetic progesterone in the form of patches, creams, HRT etc.  A lot of these treatments tend to raise progesterone levels by 2 or 3 times and this can then cause other problems. 

We really need to monitor the levels as treatment continues in order to balance and correct the levels (not just raise them). It is really difficult to judge how long this process will take as diet, lifestyle and stress can all affect hormonal balance significantly and in a short span of time. 

As an example, I have some patients who come in with low progesterone around the 60 mark (it should be a minimum of 320). These patients tend to be anxious, have poor memory, low libido, joint aches and pain and poor sleeping to mention just a few of the symptoms.

So we set a prescription. 

Let’s say I give the same prescription for two different women, both presenting with progesterone of 60 but with different stress levels. After two months, the patient with a lot of stress will not see much change in her levels while the women with little stress may see her levels go to the top of the range. 

Not everyone responds to the same doses in the same way and this is why we take lifestyle factors into great consideration.


What is an example of changes I will need to make?

The frequency of the tests and reviews depends very much on your levels and your life. Quite often in the beginning I will request to see you again in 6 weeks and we will retest in 2 months. 


What about blood tests? Are they worthwhile getting?

It is interesting to compare blood tests (from a GP) and saliva testing. I do coagulated blood tests as well as live blood analysis (which are different from the blood test you commonly get at from the GP).

When we compare blood tests (from the GP) with saliva tests, coagulated and live blood analysis, observations (like looking at your skin, hair, eyes and tongue) and questioning we can see a clear picture of what is happening in the body. We do not usually request the blood tests from the GP but when patients come with them they confirm the results from our own testing.

It is important to remember that we have ranges for normal levels of hormones, enzymes etc in the body as an indication of what is healthy and that if someone is borderline high or low that this is the body telling us that something isn’t right and that things are not going in a very good direction. Live blood analysis often gives us a good indication in the early stages of body imbalance and this is the time you want to take action instead of waiting until your body is showing major dysfunction. Prevention through bioregulation is always the best cure. 


How do I get a saliva test?

Your first step is to book an appointment. Head to for more information.