Disclaimer: TestoChecker® has been supplying cortisol test kits since 2016 and we have learned how to manage test requests in a way that minimizes the effort required on our client’s part.
This Post explains the How’s & Why’s of saliva cortisol testing for anyone curious, and we hope it’s of benefit no matter where you decide to shop!
What are the most established Saliva Cortisol Tests?
There are a small number of saliva cortisol test variants, and it is important to select one which offers value. A single snap-shot-test, i.e. a single saliva collection, will not reveal the trajectory (output pattern) of the hormone, but rather the amount of the hormone present at that time. To get real value, we need to observe the behaviour of cortisol which requires multiple saliva collections over a period of time.
We have the choice to measure and observe the morning behaviour or cortisol, which as you will see below is important, or the full (cortisol) ‘daily pattern’. These two tests are performed by laboratory’s world wide and due to the ease and convenience of being able to self test at all hours of the day, saliva is considered ideal for checking cortisol hormone health.
Let’s now look at the two most established multi-point collection, saliva cortisol test configurations:
3 Multi-point Salivary Cortisol Tests
Comprehensive Cortisol Test Kit The larger 24 hour Comprehensive Cortisol Test records the Cortisol Daily Pattern in full. In addition to checking morning cortisol values, this test will also reveal the hormone evening / night behaviour. This is important, as the cortisol output should be almost non existent by nightfall.
Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) Test Kit The Cortisol Awakening Response test [CAR] includes 3 saliva collections in the morning and records the expected rise and fall in cortisol values. This is also important as we require that burst of cortisol to give us the boost we need for the day ahead. However, the cortisol produced should also disperse by midday and test result charts will highlight if this is in fact occurring. The morning cortisol behaviour is recorded and charted using the TestoChecker CAR test kit.
Adrenal Function Extended Profile Test Kit This well established pour point saliva test also measures the cortisol daily pattern but includes DHEAs which is tested from the first collection only. Low DHEAs often indicates cortisol irregularity and is a vital clue when assessing adrenal function. The results from the Adrenal Function Extended Profile test will reveal just how much stress your body is under.
How Long would it take?
At-home cortisol test turn-around-time is six to 8 working days. Should irregular cortisol levels be discovered, re-testing to confirm the result will take place, adding two more days to wait time. Whilst TestoChecker Support are at all times monitoring the progress of our clients pathology tests, the reality is, the laboratory staff only care about accuracy.
How to use TestoChecker
The 3 Step process:
- Purchase test. Sent via Express Post same day Mon-Fri, <5PM AEST. Tracking number available on request.
- Perform simple saliva sample collection as per instruction provided.
- Post your sample and referral form back to the lab’ using the Express Post satchel. (Tracking included)
Receive your hormone test results by secure .PDF to your designated email address.
Is Saliva OK for testing Cortisol?
Far more than merely “OK”, it is the preferred method for cortisol analysis[l]. Many of the hormones that regulate our physiology, including reproductive function or the ability to control stress, are cycling. Because of this, testing cortisol comprehensively includes multiple samples collected at all hours, and using serum for the purpose would present an array of challenges. That isn’t to say saliva as a test specimen (medium) is ideal for all hormones.
In fact both serum and saliva have their limitations as biological specimen types, with each having its own benefits. So it’s important to get some good advice if you’re considering saliva cortisol testing but don’t know where to start.
In general, laboratories are tight lipped when quizzed about their equipment sighting proprietary reasons. Fair enough, but what are the modern machines used for this purpose? The answer is that it’s a series of machines, and the process itself has a very long name. It’s called the ‘liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometric’ (LC-ESI-MS/MS) method, let’s break that down somewhat.
- LC – liquid chromatography
- MS/MS – atmospheric pressure ionization
- ESI – electrospray ionization
Right, we just hit the edge of knowledge town. It’s been a pleasure and if you would like to learn more about the equipment used in laboratories you can look it up of course.
All the best, try not to get stressed.
Guy Saywell | GM
TestoChecker Hormone Test Kits®
Address: 802 Pacific Highway, Suite 1A, Level 2, Gordon, NSW, 2072, Australia.
Sources cited: [l] Salivary cortisol measurement– a reliable method for the diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome [PMID: 15891959]
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