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Cortisol is synthesized by the adrenal glands and released into the bloodstream in response to stress signals from the brain. In the bloodstream cortisol is mostly bound up by Cortisol Binding Globulin (CBG) and albumin, leaving only about 1-3% bioavailable to enter tissues and invoke a biological response. The bioavailability of cortisol can vary considerably due to different levels of CBG; liver synthesis of CBG is controlled by various hormones, such as estrogens, thyroid, and cortisol itself. Salivary cortisol reflects the amount of cortisol that escapes binding proteins, and enters the tissues throughout the body, including the salivary glands and saliva.
As such, saliva is representative of the bioavailability of cortisol to target tissues throughout the body. Saliva collection at four time points throughout the day (morning, noon, evening, and night) provides a simple and convenient means for assessing not only the bioavailability of cortisol but also its circadian pattern of synthesis BALANCE:
The Key to Health
Most hormones are produced by a group of glands known collectively as the endocrine system. Even though these glands are located in various parts of the body, they are considered one system because of their similar functions and relationship to each other.
Hormones are secreted into the bloodstream by these glands. From there, they travel to all parts of the body playing the role of chemical messengers turning specific target tissues on or off. Because they can’t be stored in the cells, hormones do their work as they pass through and then they’re gone. As a result, hormones must be made and released at the precise time they’re needed. To keep things functioning at their best, the body must constantly fine-tune hormone release to keep levels within proper limits.
Because of the complexity of these interactions, a hormonal imbalance rarely stems from only one type of hormone. More often, the problem involves a series of hormones that are out of balance. In addition, a disruption in the balance of hormones produced by one gland or set of glands can cause other glands or systems to dysfunction. Before you know it, you’re feeling miserable on multiple fronts.
Saliva testing is used for measuring hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone, and its non-invasive collection asks patients to spit into a plastic tube. This sampling method allows patients to collect saliva at home at specific times, which is important for accurately measuring hormone levels.
Why do we test hormones in saliva? Steroid hormones in the bloodstream are 95-99% bound to carrier proteins, and in this form are unavailable to target tissues. Saliva testing measures the amount of hormone available to target tissues – the bioavailable amount. For this reason, saliva testing better relates to specific symptoms of excess or deficiency, and is a good option for monitoring hormone therapy.
ZRT is one of the first labs to measure hormones in saliva, and helped establish the method that made saliva hormone testing commercially viable for health care providers and patients around the globe.
These labs are for nutrition analysis only. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. They are not intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician on any matters regarding your health and before nutritional changes.