Laboratory Diagnostics

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Adrenal Stress Test Advanced


Dunwoody Labs™ offers a comprehensive test that evaluates the circadian rhythm of the body via four cortisol measurements, one DHEA and two antibodies: secretory IgA and anti-gliadin IgA, to determine how well the adrenal glands are functioning and the cause of any fatigue or inflammation that may be associated with adrenal dysfunction.

Why test? The adrenal glands are located near the kidneys and produce hormones responsible for a variety of functions in the body. Among those produced are the steroid hormones cortisol and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), which contribute to metabolism and the immune response. The production of these hormones can be altered by internal and external stressors, and this can result in a wide variety of disorders. The Adrenal Stress Test is a non-invasive saliva test that provides a clinical "snapshot” of hormone function and immune function.

See 'Additional Information' for more.

Measured biomarkers: Cortisol x4, DHEA, sIgA

Sample Type


Turnaround time

15 working days

Additional Information / Instructions

Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone” due to its role in the stress response. Cortisol helps regulate blood pressure, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, anti-inflammatory response, blood sugar level (through gluconeogenesis), and the immune response. Normal cortisol production peaks in the early morning and gradually decreases throughout the day. However, stress and damage to the adrenal or pituitary glands have been shown to alter this production. Dunwoody Labs uses an accurate and non-invasive method for testing cortisol levels using saliva. Cortisol has been found unbound in saliva samples, indicating a strong correlation to cortisol concentrations in blood plasma. Four samples are collected from each patient in a 24-hour time frame: one early morning sample (within 30 minutes of waking), one noon sample (11 a.m.-1 p.m.), one afternoon sample (4 p.m.- 6 p.m.), and a final evening sample (10 p.m.-12 a.m.). 

Common disorders of adrenal fatigue include: Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, Cushing’s disease, Sheehan’s syndrome, Nelson’s syndrome.

Low Cortisol levels can result in a range of symptoms which may include: Hypertension or hypotension, Chronic fatigue and muscle weakness, Nausea and vomiting, Abnormal blood sugar, Blotchy skin, Weight gain, Irritability, anxiety or depression.

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is another steroid hormone produced predominately in the adrenal glands. It is the most abundant circulating steroid and best known as a metabolic intermediate for the production of androgens and oestrogens. DHEA is also involved in anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and other immune system functions. For this reason, DHEA production is measured alongside cortisol production. Unfavorable ratios of DHEA to cortisol have been linked to depression, anxiety, and other psycho-emotional disorders. They can even have an effect on HIV infection due to the immunocompromised state of the body. Like cortisol production, DHEA production is linked with the stress response and peaks in the early morning, gradually decreasing throughout the day. Tests for DHEA concentration are done on the saliva samples taken in the morning after the patient wakes up. Results typically take 10-14 days to be analyzed and uploaded.

Low DHEA production has been correlated with several disorders including: Depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Colitis, Parkinson’s disease, Lupus, Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular disease

High DHEA levels can result in several symptoms which may include: High blood pressure, Weight gain, Hair loss, Fatigue, Insomnia, Abdominal pain, Irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations, Increased risk of developing certain kinds of Cancer

Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) acts as the body’s first line of defense against enteric pathogens and toxins at the mucosal surfaces. It is a major player in mucosal immunity and is secreted in tear ducts, salivary glands, mammary glands, and gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.
High sIgA has been seen in celiac disease, acute stress, heavy smoking, alcoholism, periodontal disease, and oropharyngeal carcinoma. Low levels have been detected in allergy and airway infections, asthma, recurrent infections, chronic stress, dental caries, repeated antibiotic treatments, bronchial hyper-reactivity, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Abnormal sIgA may be associated with: Coeliac disease, IgA nephropathy, Recurring GI and respiratory tract infections.



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