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Why Do Hormone Results Differ from Lab To Lab?

A question we get asked a lot is why are the hormone results from Quest and Labcorp so different when they have the same units?

Here's a response from an organization called Life Extensions that we feel answers this question perfectly:

"At Life Extension, we often encounter customers who are concerned because they received a hormone result from Quest that their doctor ordered, and it doesn’t match the result from Life Extension using LabCorp.

What most people don’t realize is that there is no standardization between commercial blood labs for hormone testing. It is a common assumption that all labs are testing hormones the exact same way and that the numbers should be the same between labs. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Because different labs use different methods, the results are not directly comparable. And since the methods, the reagents, and the equipment are all different, the number you get from one lab may not be comparable to the number from another lab—even though the name of the test is the same.

This is so frustratingly common that when I read a study on hormone testing, the first thing I do is go to the “Materials and Methods” section to see which lab did the test and what methodology was used. Only then can I put the hormone levels reported in the study into the proper perspective. This lack of standardization between labs makes it very frustrating for clinicians and researchers alike.

To make matters worse, there are also multiple ways to test the same hormone within each lab. Testosterone is the classic example. The two primary methods used to assess testosterone in the blood are an immunoassay methodology or liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. This situation leads to a lot of confusion among patients and doctors alike.

The best solution is to stick with the same lab and use the same methodology each time."

At Optimal DX, we are working on a way to be able to handle this situation within the software so the results you see on your Functional Health report match those you see on your patient's lab test results. We'll keep you posted!