What are the main factors of online DNA, hormone and stress testing? See a list of questions answered here. | Persometrics

COVID-19

How do you help slow the propagation of COVID-19? How can you provide services whilst advocating a stay-at-home policy?

In the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we shut down our hormone testing until deemed safe. As for DNA analysis, we work with a lab whose employees are in common quarantine and do not need any contact with other people in order to do their work.

Should I expect delays due to the corona-outbreak?

We understand that our customers do not want to wait forever for their results. Confinement is already boring enough! The good news is that our DNA testing services will not be severely affected by the ongoing pandemic. We will ship the kits on the following working day, and return your electronic report within 5 working days of receiving your samples. We cannot guarantee leadtimes for transit: postal services may take an extra 1-2 days (each way), but we still aim to get your results to you ASAP. Note that we have suspended the sale of hormone analysis kits until further notice.

General

Where do you deliver

We currently deliver to Switzerland, Norway, Liechenstein and most of the European Union, reliability of postal service being the main factor here. See map below.

How do you manage to keep delivery costs so low? What's the catch?

We try to keep packaging to a minimum. Smaller packaging not only helps save the environment in line with our "Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Offset" policy, but also means that delivery costs can be kept down. Please do bear this in mind also when you open your parcel, which may not include as much wrapping as you are used to. It is safe for transport but does not include more paper, carton and plastic than is necessary. Incidentally, we try to reuse plastic when we can too!

What do you do to avoid plastic? What have you done for the environment?

Plastic has become a global problem, and we do everything we can to avoid it. In fact, we even try to reuse plastic protection tubes. Plastic straws are also an issue. We are currently testing whether paper straws can replace plastic without lowering the validity of the test results. This is done in cooperation with Daacro, which in turn is affiliated with the University of Trier, Germany.

Persometrics plastic straws used in hormone sampling

How do you measure burnout?

Our algorithm combines data from questionnaires and from saliva samples. These two are combined, because neither can be 100% reliable. In short, then, we measure burnout through analying the interaction of hormonal and psychological factors.

How do you distinguish PTSD, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, Depression and Burnout?

Many behavioural symptoms are the same for PTSD (post-traumatic-stress-disorder), Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, Depression and Burnout, such as a difficulty getting up in the morning or a lack of motivation in general. However, questionnaires and HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) reactions allows for a better distinction. Such distinctions further helps identify optimal therapeutic decisions to overcome difficulties (the behavioual symptoms).

Where do you get your hormone reference ranges from?

Our hormone references are based on analysed samples from Persometrics' partner laboratory, Daacro. We rely on research obtained from hundreds of labs across the world, but for the purpose of actual norms we use those obtained from our partner laboratory, because minor variation will exist between labs. The samples used to create the norms were obtained from hundreds of participants, or patients in the Trier area. We report both male and female norms when applicable.

Can drugs & medication impact on DNA analysis?

Your medication will not impact on the readings or analysis of your genetic material. If you have had a bone marrow transplant we do, however, recommend you do not carry out testing.

What happens if I entered an incorrect email address. Can I still access my results at a later date?

The results are sent to the email address that is provided during the initial questionnaire/consent form. If there is a problem that meant that you could not receive your results on your email address, or for whatever reason you need access to your data again, you can do so using your anonymous code and a passphrase (chosen during the initial questionnaire). Please keep this code well protected and do not share it with others.

Can I buy a testkit for someone else?

Yes, you can purchase a testkit on behalf of anyone else. The report is sent to the email address that is entered by the test-user during the initial questionnaire. The name and address of the buyer bears no significance: it is unrelated to whom the report is sent to. However, the anonymous code (provided inside the parcel) must still be kept confidentially, since it can be used to access data at a later stage.

Why are your prices in Swiss francs?

We are a Swiss company, with most of our operations occurring on Swiss territory. Our prices are competitive and in order to ensure the best value to you we therefore employ Swiss francs as our base-rate. Swiss francs and euros are similar in value, varying by about 5% (1 euro is 1.05 francs as at May 2020).

Will you still deliver to the UK after brexit?

We are awaiting the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU. We aim to continue to deliver to the UK but there will in all likelihood be in increase in our prices.

DNA testing

How much saliva do you need for the genetic analysis?

1ml (a few drops) of saliva is enough for binding and subsequently analysing genetic material. See demonstration below.
Persometrics passive drool DNA method for genetic analysis

What happens to my genetic material after you have returned my results?

As per Swiss law on biobanks and retention of human tissue, your samples are destroyed as soon as the intended analyses have been carried out. Further, you can rest assured that the lab has no knowledge of your identity: the information provided we provide to our partner laboratory gives no possibility to trace your material back to you.

Will my raw data be included with the report?

DNA analyses: for each gene in our genome, we inherit one allele from each of our parents. Our report will tell you whether you are homozygous (alleles are the same) or heterozygous (the alleles diverge) for all genes we analyze. We further include an explanation of what the gene in question represents, and whether you have a ‘risk allele’ or not..

Hormone analyses: the main output of the reports are based on interactions between hormones as well as secretion patterns across the day. In other words, we do not care as much about the absolute levels. However, we still provide you with absolute data for your own information and entertainment.

Can drugs and medication impact on DNA analyses?

Your medication will not impact on the readings or analysis of your genetic material. However, if you have had a bone marrow transplant we recommend you do not carry out our DNA testing.

What happens to my saliva after you have returned my results?

As per Swiss laws on the gathering, analysis and storage of human tissue for research purposes, your samples are destroyed as soon as the intended analyses have been carried out. Further, you can rest assured that the lab has no knowledge of your identity: the information we pass on to our partner laboratory gives no possibility to trace your material back to you.

Can my results be 'bad'?

For the Persometrics DNA reports we perform analyses of genes that are involved in body physical responses to different foodstuffs or exercise. The test may identify so-called ‘risk’ alleles, but this does not indicate that there is an illness. Rather, it may tell you about tendencies and propensities. For example, we may find that certain types of food or exercise are likely to benefit your body more than other foods and exercise types. While our reports do not diagnose health conditions, they can still give you some information to guide you and even discuss with a health-care practitioner if you desire to do so

Hormone testing

When assessing endocrine function, can saliva sampling provide the same reliability/validity as sampling through blood?

Saliva captures the 'free cortisol'. The rest of the compound is biologically inactive. Perhaps for this reason relying on saliva sampling has been shown to be of more relevance in research, with stronger effect sizes in athletic performance. The same holds for Testosterone. In fact, recent research shows that, compared to total testosterone, free testosterone is more strongly associated with systolic blood pressure across a range of studies (Yang et al., 2019).

For the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) what do we mean by "awake"?

To be “awake” means that you are fully conscious, you know who and where you are; you are in a state that is clearly different from when you were sleeping even though you may still feel tired. If you wake up during the middle of the night and plan to go back to sleep, do not begin sampling. Please only begin when you are awake for the final time before you plan to get up for the day.

What if I had a bad night’s sleep before a hormone test day?

It is ok if you struggled falling asleep; it is above all the hours before waking up that concern us. If you had an uneasy wake-up and do not feel you have a clear time point for when you went from “asleep to awake”), it is better to defer the testing to a different day. The questionnaire will ask you to enter information about sleep quality, which will be taken into account when analysing the data. For hormone stress packs, this is not as important as for stress packs, where the cortisol awakening response is of interest.

What if I delay or forget a cortisol sampling?

Cortisol secretion takes a little time to be detectable in saliva and is therefore forgiving if you miss the first sampling in the morning by a few minutes. However, if more than eight minutes pass after you wake up before you give your first sample, please defer to a different day. For sports testing that requires testing of testosterone in function of your workout, if is important that you time sampling in close relation to the workout, since sampling intervals are smaller. If you have performed sampling and then forget the last samples of the test, you will likely have to discard the samples and start over. If this is the case, contact Persometrics and we will ship a new sample kit to you.

Are hormone levels affected by heat after they have been sampled? Do I need to keep the samples cold?

The hormone of interest will keep stable in saliva for up to a week at room temperature. We recommend you put the samples in the fridge (especially during the warm season), until they are shipped (maximum 24 hours later). Full instructions are given inside the pack.

Will a different night/day pattern affect the diurnal cortisol tests?

Our norms are based on an average European adult population with no discrimination of profession, but who in average woke up between 6 and 8 and to fell asleep between 22:00 and midnight. Research has shown that the cortisol awakening response is robust in relation to wake-up time. However, since some people follow different diurnal patterns (due to night shifts or jetlags, for instance) we ask that all samples be taken in relation to wake-up time, including the "afternoon" and "evening" samples.

This means that you can still use the diurnal cortisol kits even if your night/day patterns are a little 'off'.

Full instructions are provided with the test packs.

What if I forgot the saliva sampling procedure this morning and as a consequence started sampling late?

It is important that the first saliva sample provided within the first 8 minutes of waking up. The reason we can allow a few minutes is that it takes time for cortisol to secrete into saliva. Further, we fact that you provide a further 2 (and not just one, as is done by some other labs) gives us some flexibility of the formulae to catch the desired information. However, if you forgot the sampling and it took more than 6-8 minutes we do recommend deferring the testing to a different day.

How do you measure burnout?

Our algorithm combines data from questionnaires and from saliva samples. These two are combined, because neither can be 100% reliable. In short, then, we measure burnout through analying the interaction of hormonal and psychological factors.

How can endocrine hormone testing help physical exercise performance and progress?

A high intensity workout leads to increases in both Testosterone and Cortisol in young to middle-aged men. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, which increases protein synthesis, whereas cortisol is a catabolic hormone that inhibits protein synthesis. For this reason, researchers have hypothesized, tested and shown that the ration between these two hormones affects performance and adaptations of high intensity workout routines, such as a CrossFit (r) sessions and weight lifting sessions. Our tests can help you optimise your intensity, select the time of day for training, and identify other factors that may inhibit muscle adaption, such as diet.

Persometrics Relative testosterone and cortisol levels surrounding a workout

Will my raw data be included with the report?

DNA analyses: for each gene in our genome, we inherit one allele from each of our parents. Our report will tell you whether you are homozygous (alleles are the same) or heterozygous (the alleles diverge) for all genes we analyze. We further include an explanation of what the gene in question represents, and whether you have a ‘risk allele’ or not..

Hormone analyses: the main output of the reports are based on interactions between hormones as well as secretion patterns across the day. In other words, we do not care as much about the absolute levels. However, we still provide you with absolute data for your own information and entertainment.

What happens to my saliva after you have returned my results?

As per Swiss laws on the gathering, analysis and storage of human tissue for research purposes, your samples are destroyed as soon as the intended analyses have been carried out. Further, you can rest assured that the lab has no knowledge of your identity: the information we pass on to our partner laboratory gives no possibility to trace your material back to you.

Can I start the stress test questionnaire over again?

We have removed the possibility to skip backwards to review responses in the questionnaire. This was done both to comply with psychological testing protocol and for security reasons . If for whatever reason you need to void your results and start over, please contact Persometrics so we can reset the questionnaire for you.

What do you mean by intra-individual analysis? Why do you suggest it?

Intra-individual refers to a comparison of two states within the same person. Since everyone is different, and there are often too many factors to control or change, we suggest in our sports kits to do a change before and after an intervention of your own choice. What is best, going low-carb or going high-carb? Vegan or paleo? Perhaps the question is flawed even from the beginning. Do not look for the best diet, but, rather, look for the best diet for you.