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Adrenal Stress (ASI) Lab Test

The Adrenal Stress Test (ASI) is for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),  low immunity, sleep disturbance, unexplained weight gain.

What are the Adrenal Glands?

adrenal stress test

The Adrenal Glands are positioned just behind the last three ribs.

The adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys and have one of the highest rates of blood flow per gram of tissue.  

Both of the glands are composed of 2 separate functioning entities.

The outside, known as the cortex, accounts for 80% -90% of the adrenal gland and secretes adrenal steroids (DHEA-S, cortisol, and aldosterone). The inside, or medulla, comprises 10%-20% of the gland and secretes adrenaline and noradrenaline. DHEA, Cortisol, and adrenaline are the three most important adrenal stress hormones.

Why use an Adrenal Stress Test?

The ASI test determines if a patient is suffering from adrenal exhaustion and if so, which stage they are in. This, along with other relevant indicators, help Dr. Cushing formulate a comprehensive treatment plan to return normal adrenal function levels to the patient.

The Importance of Adrenal Rhythm:

Adrenal glands do not secrete steroid hormones on a continuous level throughout the day. Rather, when functioning normally, hormones are released in cycles. The highest level in the morning and the lowest at night.  When there is an abnormal adrenal rhythm this influences many of the functions in the body.

What bodily functions are influenced by the Adrenal Glands?

  • Energy:

Abnormally functioning adrenals alter the ability of cells to produce enough energy for everyday activities. Patients having difficulty waking in the morning, or suffering from low energy through the day, typically have abnormal adrenal function and erratic blood sugar regulation.

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels depends on food and lifestyle choices. Together with adrenal function and insulin activity. The ASI test measures the stress hormones and insulin levels in the body, and gives an accurate picture of potential causes of  fatigue, cravings and sometimes obesity.

  • Bone Health:

Additionally, adrenal function influences bone health. Elevated cortisol levels at night and morning,  affects our bones. Making us more prone to osteoporosis. Stress also weakens our ability to rebuild our bone strength. In postmenopausal women, this effect of stress becomes more likely due to imbalances in female hormones.

  • Muscle/Joint Function:

Abnormal adrenal function often compromises tissue healing. Causing slow tissue repair, and increased tissue breakdown, leading to muscle and joint atrophy with chronic pain.

  • Skin Regeneration:

Skin regeneration occurs at night. If cortisol levels are higher during the night, skin regeneration is impaired.  Optimal skin health requires normal cortisol levels.

  • Quality of Sleep:

Entering into REM sleep and experiencing regenerative sleep is greatly affected by high cortisol levels during the night and morning. Chronic sleep deprivation reduces mental clarity and contributes to depression.

  • Immune Health:

White blood cells circulating through the spleen and bone marrow is a  function of the immune system. This follows the cortisol cycle, and if this cycle is disrupted, particularly at night, the immune system becomes depressed. Long-term stress suppresses the immune function in many organs of the body causing a reduction in antibodies which affects our resistance to infection.

  • Thyroid Function:

Cortisol at the cellular level feeds in to thyroid hormone production. The symptoms of hypothyroid:

  • low body temperature
  • fatigue

are associated with adrenal maladaptation.

  • Glycemic regulation:

Chronic hypoglycemia impairs normal adrenal function because of repetitive overstimulation of cortisol production. Continued high cortisol exposure adversely affects insulin activity.  Oftentimes this leads to insulin resistance which may lead to diabetes. The ASI™ panel investigates the insulin-cortisol connection in real-life conditions, allowing us to target and develop a plan for recovery.

  • Depression/ADD:

Disruptions with cortisol levels throughout a normal day are connected with patients diagnosed with attention deficit disorders (ADD).

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME):

Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome show impaired corticotropin release. A direct result of low cortisol which may eventually cause adrenal atrophy. Low abnormal functioning adrenals are included in the reporting on the results of the Adrenal Stress Test ASI™ panel.


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