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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
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.