Androsterone

Urine
Optimal Result: 636 - 2327 ug/g Creatinine.

Androsterone, a key biomarker in the assessment of hormone profiles, plays a pivotal role in the dried urine essential hormone profile for women, particularly during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. As a metabolite of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and a less active form of the androgen testosterone, androsterone offers critical insights into a woman's androgenic balance. The luteal phase, which follows ovulation and precedes menstruation, is characterized by significant hormonal shifts, primarily the rise in progesterone and the relative stabilization of estrogen levels. During this phase, the evaluation of androsterone levels becomes especially vital. Elevated levels of androsterone in this phase can be indicative of excessive androgen activity, potentially leading to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), characterized by symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles and hirsutism. Conversely, low levels might suggest adrenal insufficiency or an imbalance in steroidogenesis pathways. The analysis of androsterone in a dried urine sample provides a non-invasive, comprehensive method to assess these levels. This method not only ensures a more stable and accurate representation of hormone levels over time but also allows for the detection of daily variations in hormone production, offering a nuanced view of a woman's hormonal landscape during the luteal phase. This in-depth hormonal profiling is essential for devising targeted therapeutic strategies, particularly in managing conditions related to hormonal imbalances.

 

What does it mean if your Androsterone result is too low?

Causes of low Androsterone levels: 

- Declines as DHEA declines

- adrenal insufficiency

- anorexia nervosa

- panhypopituitarism

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Low levels of androsterone in a woman's dried urine hormone profile, particularly during the luteal phase, can be indicative of several health concerns. It often points to an underactivity in the adrenal glands or a disruption in the body's ability to produce adequate amounts of androgens, which are key hormones that support various bodily functions. This reduction can lead to symptoms like fatigue, decreased libido, and a general sense of unwellness due to the hormonal imbalance. It might also reflect issues in steroidogenesis, the body's process of hormone production, suggesting a need for further investigation into the overall hormonal health.

In terms of treatment, the approach largely depends on the underlying cause of the low androsterone levels. If adrenal insufficiency is the root, therapies may include lifestyle modifications such as stress management, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet to support adrenal health. Nutritional supplements, particularly those that support adrenal function, might be recommended. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy could be considered, but this should be approached cautiously and under strict medical supervision. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional who specializes in hormonal health to get a personalized treatment plan. The aim of these treatments is to restore hormonal balance, alleviate symptoms, and improve overall health and well-being.

What does it mean if your Androsterone result is too high?

If Androsterone is elevated and Etiocholanalone is relatively low, the metabolism will tend to favor towards the alpha metabolism pathway. Alpha metabolites are more androgenic and beta metabolites are less androgenic.

When testosterone pushes towards DHT it has to go down the 5-alpha metabolite pathway. This can be the case in a female with, for example, PCOS. In this situation there is typically an insulin issue which pushes towards 5-alpha. When testosterone gets into the cellular space (ex. hair follicle or skin) it will shift towards DHT (via the 5-alpha pathway). DHT happens to be 3-times more potent than testosterone. In these women symptoms of high androgen, such as thinning scalp hair, facial hair growth or acne can often show. 

- Androsterone is a DHEA metabolite via the 5α-reductase pathway.

- 5α-metabolism makes androgens more potent, most notably 5α-DHT is the most potent testosterone metabolite.

High levels are often seen in PCOS or over-supplementation.

Possible symptoms:

- Acne, mild.

- decrease or increase in sexual desire or drive.

- hair loss or thinning of hair.

- increase in pubic hair growth.

- infection, pain, redness, or other irritation at site of injection.

- stomach pain.

- trouble in sleeping.

Other causes of high Androsterone levels:

- DHEA, pregnenalone supplementation

- Androgen producing gonadal tumors

- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

- Adult onset adrenal hyperplasia

- Serious illness/ shock - burns, etc.

If both Androsterone AND Etiocholanolone are high there is most likely too much DHEA producted. If this is the case refer to the "Total DHEA Production" biomarker for more information. 

If the metabolic preference is towards that 5-alpha metabolic pathway (Androsterone = high), we can look at the following supplements that are natural 5-alpha blockers. Please discuss any supplement routine with your doctor first:

- saw palmetto

- stinging nettle

- zinc

- EGCG from green tea

- reishi mushroom 

- pygeum africanum

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