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May 18, 2016

Cortisol can be confusing. And frankly, most popular tests for cortisol don't tell you what really need to know... ...things like how fast cortisol gets cleared by your body, what's truly causing high cortisol or low cortisol, how cortisol (and other crucial hormones) are getting created and broken down, and much more... And this is important, because low cortisol leaves you with zero energy, low libido, brain fog, and feeling overtrained and adrenally fatigued, while high cortisol decreases protein synthesis and amino acid uptake, increases proteolysis (protein breakdown) and bone degradation, suppresses parts of the immune system, and increases serum glucose. So you feel pretty crappy when cortisol is low, and while you may feel good when cortisol is high, if cortisol is chronically high, there are some downsides to that too.

Enter the DUTCH test - which is a new way to measure cortisol and much more. So what is the DUTCH test? The DUTCH test is a urine steroid hormone profile that measures hormones and hormone metabolites (called conjugates) in a dried urine sample, and is performed from the comfort of your home. It is the most cutting-edge way to truly see what’s going on when it comes to your hormones, because it doesn’t just measure hormones, but also something called “metabolites”, which are a measurement of hormone production and hormone breakdown. Measuring both hormones and their metabolites can give you or your health care practitioner a much better overall picture of hormone production. For example, a DUTCH urine steroid hormone profile on someone with low salivary cortisol could show normal cortisol production, but high levels of metabolites. In other words, this would indicate that you are producing enough cortisol, but it’s just getting broken down into its metabolites very quickly. There are also some metabolites that are important markers for cancer risk that can only be measured in urine. With serum (blood) and saliva hormone spot-testing, it’s possible to track variations in hormone release throughout the day – and this is a great way to measure how your hormones change during a 24-hour period (your circadian rhythm). In contrast, a standard 24-hour urine collection many physicians use reflects your total hormone output in a 24-hour period. But by using the DUTCH urine steroid test, you get the best of all worlds: blood, saliva and urinary results with just a urine collection.

The DUTCH test measures the following: -Free cortisol -Free cortisone -Creatinine -Tetrahyrdocortisone -a-tetrahydrocortisol -b-tetrahydrocortisol -DHEAs -Progesterone metabolites (a-pregnanediol, b-pregnanediol) -Androgen metabolites (DHEAS, etiocholanolone, androsterone, testosterone, 5a-DHT, 5a-androstanediol, 5b-androstanediol, epi-testosterone) -Estrogen metabolites (estrone, estradiol, estriol, 2-OH-estrone, 4-OH-estrone, 16-OH-estrone, 2-Methoxy-estrone, 2-OH-estradiol) -6-OH-melatonin-sulfate

My guest on today's podcast, Chris Kelly, is an expert when to the DUTCH test. Two years ago Christopher Kelly quit his job at a hedge fund to start Nourish Balance Thrive, a small functional medicine practice for athletes. Chris is a computer scientist and pro mountain biker and he works with two medical doctors, one of whom is also a pro mountain biker, and the other is Dr. Tommy Wood, a biochemist and Ph.D. fellow. He employs a registered nurse, and works with his wife Julia, who is a food scientist.

During our discussion, you'll discover: -What the DUTCH test is and why it is far different than an Adrenal Stress Index... -My own shocking results on the DUTCH test...  -The difference between free and total cortisol, and why you may think that your cortisol is normal when it is actually quite low... -Why some women should not use estrogen natural hormone replacement therapy... -How to know if you should be using a multivitamin... -How chronically high cortisol can cause high blood glucose, brain damage, and muscle wasting (even if you feel great short-term!)... -Things that can elevate cortisol if you are already doing everything "right" in terms of stress control, sleep, proper training recovery, etc... -Whether it's true that high ketosis can cause high cortisol... -What type of hidden infections in your gut or blood can cause high cortisol... -Supplements and herbs you may be taking can increase cortisol dramatically... -Whether there is a link between cannabis, CBD, THC and cortisol... -The most potent supplements or foods or essential oils for decreasing cortisol... -And much more!

Resources from this episode: -Book: Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers -A sleep article that includes the one-two Sleep Cocktail/CBD combo Ben swears by for sleep, along with the essential oils we discuss -Phosphatidylserine for lowering cortisol -The London Biohacker Summit - click here to register and use 10% code “ben”. -The RUNGA "digital detox" Costa Rica retreat Ben is going to in December (mention this show for $75 gift upon registration). -Click here to visit NourishBalanceThrive and use code BEN10 for a 10% discount on the testing and consulting Chris and I discuss in this episode. -The Little Know Test That Tells You Everything You Need To Know About Your Metabolism podcast with Chris Kelly -"7 Signs Your Cortisol & Adrenals Are Broken" podcast with Chris Kelly -The Underground Test That Shows You How To Legally Upgrade Your EPO, Increase Your Oxygen Levels, Boost Your Red Blood Cells & Build Double-Digit Percentages In Power And Endurance podcast with Chris Kelly -Article: "The Ketogenic Diet's Effect On Cortisol" -Caffeine may increase cortisol levels.  -CBD increases cortisol release in healthy volunteers -Safety and pharmacokinetics of oral cannabidiol when administered concomitantly with intravenous fentanyl in humans.  -Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects -Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men -Ben Greenfield's DUTCH test results

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Do you have questions, comments, or feedback for Chris or I about the DUTCH test, cortisol or anything else we discuss in this episode? Leave your thoughts at and one of us will reply, and click here to visit NourishBalanceThrive and use code BEN10 for a 10% discount on the testing and consulting Chris and I discuss in this episode.