After more than two years of analysing and reporting on hormone samples in our very own state of the art laboratory, we’ve really been far too humble about all that goes into it.
We don’t often like to make a huge song and dance about it, because let’s be real, who *really* enjoys science chat and chemistry jargon? But science is at the root of everything we do at Eve, and it’s about time we shine a light on that.
In this blog we’ll break down the science behind Eve testing, including the hormone markers we test, how we do it, and why this is important.
Strap yourself in and come along for the ride, you might just learn a thing or two.
Why hormone testing?
When we experience signs in our body that we know are ‘hormonal’—more on that here—it can be so difficult to know what is driving them and how to support your body through them.
While a google search might lead you down a rabbit hole of conflicting information, testing means finding out exactly what is going on, which then makes the ‘what to do about it’ question a lot easier to answer.
We won’t beat around the bush, hormones can be really confusing, and testing is really the only way to get a straight answer about what yours are up to.
how it works
The test itself is actually as easy as peeing on a special piece of filter paper and letting it dry—kind of like a pregnancy test, minus the butterflies and suspense.
Your Eve Test kit contains everything you need to then send it into our lab, where our PhD scientists take care of the technicalities of running your sample through our state of the art LC-MS/MS machine, then analysing and reporting your results.
These results are then shared with your Eve Wellness Consultant, who has a background in functional nutrition and naturopathy and will interpret your results for you in easy to understand language and provide you with personalised diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations to support you with your unique hormone picture.
Within 4 weeks you will receive an exciting email letting you know your Eve Report is ready to download, chock full of personalised information ready to take you on a journey towards balanced hormones.
What can the eve test tell you?
1. The Eve Test can tell you your levels of key sex hormones in relation to reference ranges established from literature reviews and internal testing.
Why is this important?
Our sex hormones aren’t just for baby-making, they’re fundamental to all the systems that make up your body. Hormones are natural chemicals that act as messengers, telling your cells what to do and how to function.
When our key sex hormones are at levels that are lower or higher than optimal, or are out of balance with each other, it can lead to all sorts of symptoms in the body that mean you don’t feel your best, or function at your best.
2. The Eve Test can tell you how your key sex-hormones are being metabolised by the body.
Why is this important?
Levels of key sex hormones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to piecing together your hormonal picture. Analysing and reporting on the metabolites of your hormones shows the full picture of your hormonal cascade.
Metabolites are also important in explaining signs of hormone imbalance or hormonal symptoms. For example, a potent oestrogen metabolite 16-OH-E1 can lead to signs of high oestrogen in the body (such as mood swings, breast tenderness and heavy periods) even when oestrogen itself is at low levels. The same goes for powerful ‘androgenic’ metabolites such as DHT & 5-Androstanediol.
3. The Eve Test can provide important information in piecing together hormonal conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.
Why is this important?
There are 4 types of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), each with roots in different imbalances in the body. Testing your complete hormonal profile can help to identify where your imbalance lies, so that you can focus on what’s driving the symptoms, not the symptoms themselves.
The same goes for Endometriosis and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Essentially finding out what your hormones are doing is an invaluable piece of the puzzle in establishing a plan of attack that supports your unique body and hormone picture (more on this below).
4. The Eve Test can tell you not just what your hormones are doing, but what you can do about it.
Why is this important?
Because what good is knowing that your hormones are out of balance if you still have no idea what to do about it? Eve Tests are designed to be a way you can take charge of your own hormone health, without needing an expert to decipher your results and make recommendations for you.
Eve reports are all written in a way that’s easy to understand, with graphs, diagrams and a full page of notes from your consultant that covers what you have been experiencing, what they can see in your results and what your next steps are from here.
There is also an entire separate report that contains your personal diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations, helping you to take your health into your own hands.
the hormones we test
Wait so oestrogen isn’t just one hormone? Testosterone isn’t the only ‘male’ hormone? And what the heck is Etiocholanolone?
Here’s a quick overview and a little more context around the hormone markers analysed in The Eve Test, in as simple terms as we could muster.
Oestrogen is the primary female sex hormone that’s produced mainly in the ovaries and supports energy, motivation, sleep, libido, skin health, bone health and gives women their feminine curves.
- Estrone (E1): A weak form of oestrogen made primarily by fat cells through a process called aromatisation. Estrone becomes your main form of oestrogen after menopause.
- Estradiol (E2): The strongest form of oestrogen made primarily in the ovaries. Estradiol fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle and is the primary oestrogen for women in their reproductive years.
- Estriol (E3): The weakest form of oestrogen that rises during pregnancy. Estriol is made predominantly in the ovaries but can also be produced in the placenta.
Phase 1 Oestrogen Metabolites:
Oestrogen is first metabolised by the liver through three different pathways, each of which translates to three different forms of oestrogen metabolites.
- 2-OH-E1: This metabolite is like the well behaved child of the bunch that is often referred to as the more ‘friendly’ metabolite. Any mess it makes is cleaned up easily by the body.
- 4-OH-E1: An inflammatory oestrogen metabolite that can lead to DNA damage and is even linked to oestrogen-related cancers by certain studies.
- 16-OH-E1: The metabolite that if left unattended, likes to make oestrogen-sensitive tissue such as the uterine lining and breast tissue. 16-OH-E1 is a more potent metabolite which can lead to signs of high oestrogen in the body at higher levels.
- 2-OH-E2: A metabolite that helps to show the protective metabolism of the friendly 2-OH-E1 pathway.
And we can’t forget:
- 2-MeO-E1: This metabolite acts as a methylation marker and can provide information about the supply of important cofactors on board to ensure ‘used’ hormones are fully detoxified and excreted.
Progesterone is our feel good, calming sex hormone that balances oestrogen out and supports pregnancy. This hormone is primarily produced after, and by, the process of ovulation and we make less of it during times of stress.
There are two forms of progesterone in the body, both of which are made through ovulation.
- B-pregnanediol: The more dominant form of progesterone made in larger quantities through ovulation.
- A-pregnanediol: The secondary form of progesterone that converts through to a neurotransmitter called GABA and brings about many of the anti-anxiety, relaxing benefits of progesterone.
Androgens are a group of ‘male’ hormones that females need too, just in much smaller amounts. Androgens are essential for muscle growth, supporting energy, motivation and libido
- Testosterone: A strong androgen and the primary ‘male’ sex hormone, which is important for females too, just in much smaller amounts.
- DHEA: A hormone produced by the adrenal glands which helps to produce other key sex hormones including testosterone and oestrogen. Imbalanced DHEA can indicate inflammation and blood sugar dysregulation.
- Epi-TST: A form of endogenous testosterone, often used as a marker of doping in sport. Can help to explain signs of higher testosterone in some cases.
- 5a-Androstanediol: A potent androgen metabolite which can lead to signs of higher testosterone when in excess, such as acne, irregular periods and unwanted hair growth.
- 5b-Androstanediol: A weaker androgen metabolite that is less “androgenic” in nature than it’s 5a sibling.
- DHT: Another more ‘potent’ androgen which is associated with severe cases of hormonal cystic acne (in men and women) and unwanted hair growth.
- Androsterone: An inactive metabolite of testosterone that appears to rise with DHEA and inflammation, which can be helpful in piecing together conditions such as PCOS.
- Etiocholanolone: Another major inactive metabolite of testosterone that appears to rise with DHEA and inflammation.
basically, we're all about science you can trust
Urine testing is the gold standard of hormone testing, as it allows us to see both the hormone levels and metabolic pathways, providing a full picture of the hormonal cascade.
The reference ranges used in Eve Testing are established from literature reviews and internal testing. We conduct literature reviews and then collect published reports from laboratories around the world that do similar testing, this is important as it aligns Eve Testing with the latest world-class science in hormone testing.
For both The Eve Test and The Stress Test, we use Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (or LC–MS/MS for short). This has been well-recognised as an accurate methodology to measure sex and stress hormones.
We are currently nearing the end of the process to become accredited by IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand - a lab accreditation board) and are therefore following the highest standards of methodology, accuracy, quality assurance and reliability. In the future, we also hope to publish papers around our laboratory testing methods to contribute back to the scientific community.
Our laboratory team is highly qualified and experienced, and we have an external Scientific Advisory Board who advise and guide us on our science, services, methods and ethics. We are very grateful that they are able to be across what we do and share their expertise.
If you’ve made it this far without losing interest you deserve a good pat on the back. Basically, with Eve you’re in really good hands. If you have any questions about the science behind Eve, get in touch with us as we’d love to help.
and what would this blog be without a few disclaimers:
Eve very much operates in the wellness space, rather than the medical space, similar to a naturopath, nutritionist or other ‘alternative’ health practitioner. For this reason, we do not claim to treat, diagnose or advise on medical issues, and we always encourage our customers to work with their GP’s and discuss any major health concerns with them.
We also don’t recommend testing your hormones while you are taking oral contraceptives. This form of hormonal birth control essentially shuts down your natural hormone production, meaning that the information we get through testing is very limited and not all that useful.
Testing while on a hormonal IUD such as the Mirena can be okay, but we’d rather you chat to us first and we can advise on an individual basis.