The Dutch Hormone Test: A Science Based Dietitians Perspective

Last Updated: January 22, 2024

Disclaimer: As a registered dietitian, I want to clarify that I’m not an expert in hormones. However, I’ve noticed a growing trend among my dietitian colleagues who are administering a particular hormone test, known as the Dutch Hormone Test. This has lead me to delve deeper into the topic to better understand its relevance in the field of dietetics.

What is the Dutch Hormone Test?

The Dutch hormone test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) measures hormone levels, including cortisol and sex hormones, among others, through dried urine samples.

Its goal? To identify deficiencies, imbalances, diagnose issues, and create personalized treatment plans.

It’s often recommended for individuals dealing with fatigue, hair loss, mood swings, and other symptoms.

The first thing that comes to mind is these symptoms can be attributed to various causes, like stress, poor sleep, unbalanced diets, or simply the demands of daily life. So, why the rush for this test? Perhaps because it provides answers when primary care doctors might not. But it raises a fundamental question: is it genuinely a hormonal problem?

Here’s the reality check – this test comes at a cost, typically around $500, and it’s not covered by health insurance. Factor in consultations and treatment plans (that may or may not be necessary), and you’re looking at a significant out-of-pocket expense, easily exceeding $2000. It’s a substantial investment, and our first red flag.

Who’s Administering the Dutch Hormone Test?

What’s interesting is the variety of healthcare professionals who have embraced the role of “DUTCH Providers” – from naturopaths to chiropractors and, surprisingly, dietitians. But it’s important to note that some of these practitioners have a history of recommending therapies without legitimate scientific backing. Second red flag.

When you visit the “meet our experts” page, naturopaths take center stage. Endorsements from endocrinologists, the true hormone specialists who dedicate roughly 13 years to mastering the intricacies of hormones, are conspicuously absent. Third red flag.

Dietitians and Hormone Health

Many dietitians are delving into intricate details of hormones like cortisol and estrogen on their blogs and websites. As a dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, I can assure you that this level of hormone physiology isn’t typically part of our curriculum or training.

While I can acknowledge that food has a direct and indirect impact on hormones, it’s usually beyond the scope of dietitians to delve into the complex intricacies of hormonal regulation. After all, we aren’t endocrinologists, but it appears that some dietitians are trying to assume that role.

One dietitian’s website boldly states: “The Dutch Test provides detailed insight into reproductive and adrenal hormones and their metabolites to discover the root cause of hormonal imbalance that a standard hormone panel doesn’t reveal. This detail allows your dietitian to tailor a nutrition and lifestyle program that works for you as an individual.”

My question again and again is: why consult a dietitian instead of a hormone specialist? Dietitians do not receive training on interpreting hormone tests, let alone managing diets for specific imbalances. These dietitians are instead trained by the company that sells the test. Another red flag.

The dutch test is endorsed by registered dietitians who also promote practices like seed cycling and food sensitivity tests, both of which lack substantial scientific support.

A disclaimer on the DUTCH website states, “Please note that you are required to be legally able to order lab tests in your state or country to become a DUTCH Provider.”

According to the California code of dietitians, dietitians can order medical laboratory tests related to medical nutrition therapy with physician approval. So, how are dietitians in various states participating in this? I don’t quite have the answer yet.

Research Bias

The research cited in support of the test is primarily conducted by the company selling it, raising concerns about potential bias and conflicts of interest. Notably, the company’s founder is listed as a co-author on the publications.

The bottom line is, if this test were as effective as claimed, clinical trials would demonstrate its merits, and it would be incorporated into standard medical care testing.

Skepticism of Conventional and Endocrinology Doctors

One noteworthy aspect of the DUTCH hormone test is that, despite its claims and growing popularity among some healthcare practitioners, it remains largely on the outskirts of conventional medical practice. This isn’t due to a lack of training or expertise among conventional doctors and endocrinologists. In fact, endocrinologists undergo rigorous and extensive training, dedicating over a decade of their lives to studying the intricacies of hormones and their effects on the body.

So, why do many conventional and endocrinology doctors hesitate to embrace the DUTCH test as a clinically useful tool? Their skepticism probably arises from doubts about its clinical utility and reliability in guiding patient care.

Evidence-Based Medicine

Conventional medicine and the practice of evidence-based medicine are built on a foundation of rigorous scientific research and clinical trials. Medical treatments and diagnostic tests that are widely adopted have typically undergone extensive testing to establish their safety, effectiveness, and clinical value.

When it comes to hormone testing, including the DUTCH hormone test, many conventional and endocrinology doctors maintain reservations primarily because the available evidence doesn’t convincingly demonstrate its benefit. Scientific validation through large-scale, peer-reviewed studies is a necessary requirement for introducing any diagnostic tool or treatment into mainstream medical practice.

Complexities of Hormone Regulation

Hormones are incredibly complex, and their regulation within the human body involves a delicate balance of multiple factors. Endocrinologists are trained to understand the intricacies of these systems and to diagnose and treat a wide range of hormonal disorders.

The DUTCH hormone test, while it may provide data on hormone levels, doesn’t necessarily offer the most effective treatment strategies. In many cases, it may be considered a snapshot of hormonal status without a clear roadmap for clinical intervention.

Should you take the DUTCH test?

Despite its claims and endorsements by various healthcare providers, this test poses numerous red flags. Dietitians should always strive to base their practices on the best available scientific evidence. While hormones and nutrition are undoubtedly intertwined, navigating the complex world of hormone testing should be approached in collaboration with endocrinology experts who practice evidence-based medicine.

As healthcare consumers, I urge you to approach such tests with a critical eye and consult with qualified medical professionals who prioritize evidence-based care for your health, not charging you out-of-pocket premiums for unvalidated tests and treatments.