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Why Use Saliva for Testing Hormones?

Saliva hormone testing has gained in popularity, and there’s a few reasons for this. In this post, we outline what we consider to be the main contributors to the increased interest.

Flexible Collections &  Pulsatile Hormones

The term ‘Pulsatile Hormones’ is just another way of saying ‘hormones that should rise or fall during the 24 hour day night cycle’. To check the health of these hormones requires looking at behaviour. This involves measuring the volume of secretion and also the timing of that hormone secretion.

Due to the long intervals between sample collections, some up to 6-8 hrs apart, and also the often large number of specimens required, the use of blood as the specimen type is nowadays not generally advised. Prior to the uptake of saliva testing, a check in to a short stay clinic or similar observational setting would be necessary for the purpose of measuring Pulsatile Hormones

testochecker saliva hormone testing kit (product image)

See all available saliva hormone test kits.

Measuring the ‘unbound’ hormone component w/ saliva

The endocrine organs (for example the adrenal gland) produce and secrete hormones into the blood stream that travel around the body to their site of action (for example the ovaries). In the blood however, the hormones are mostly bound to binding proteins which prevent the hormone from activating its receptor at the target tissue. So when a hormone is attached to its binding protein it is biologically inactive.

A saliva testosterone test result is a more accurate measurement of free, aka: active, testosterone. To achieve a ‘free’ testosterone result using serum requires more work, much more.  

The Vermeulen Equation for Calculated Free Testosterone – a = k at + k t + (k at x k t) x (SHBG + Albumin – T) b = 1 + k t x SHBG + k at x Albumin – (k at + k t) x T k at = 3.6 x 10 4 L/mol; k t = 10 x 10 8 L/mol T = testosterone in nmol/L; SHBG – in nmol/L; Albumin – in mg/dL;


If you think that looks a little tricky, consider how this is actually a simplified version., is hormone saliva testing for hormones accurate?

Very! Aside from the practical aspects of using saliva for testing hormones outlined above, the tests are widely accepted in the medical profession to provide an accurate and reliable measure of hormone levels at the times of collection. As made clear here in this post, a saliva hormone test measures free hormone and its multi-point versatility makes it a valuable tool for evaluating hormone status.

See Peer Studies.

Providing Current Benchmarks

The increasing popularity of saliva hormone testing has led to the establishment of well-defined hormone reference ranges in healthy individuals, meaning that hormone test results can be compared against the most relevant and typical result range. It should also be pointed out that saliva testosterone levels in Australian men is known to be in decline. Saliva test result data including ever evolving male/female age averages is not outdated, and in fact, is being constantly updated. 

Factors such as sex, age, history and menopausal status all affect normal hormone ranges, and can be adjusted for to provide an accurate assessment of hormone profile relative to expected norms. Good laboratories are always compiling data and our lab is no different. TestoChecker are very proud to provide additional proprietary test result attributes which include historical test data collected from Australian adults.  

Saliva travels well in the Post

Saliva travels very well, with a [general-environment] limit of 12 days. Even so, a laboratory doesn’t rely on that limit.

The first test the saliva undergoes upon arrival is what they call a viscosity test. This is to determine whether the saliva sample is fit for the purpose, i.e. will endure the testing process.

is saliva good for hormone testing

Some hormones can be accurately measured using saliva.

Reasons why a saliva sample may fail that test are;

  • contains blood
  • is too small
  • is heat affected
  • is not actual saliva, but mucus from the chest cavity

Assisted Delivery: The prepaid express post return satchel used for returning the test kit is identified as a ‘post-subclass’ specifically used for biological tissue. Measures are taken by Australia Post to facilitate smooth passage of these items to their ultimate destination.

(*User of Our Service are in fact covered by TestoChecker T&C  for this event. TestoChecker would ship a replacement faster than you can Whistle Dixie.)

test results display example

Advanced Laboratory Analysis

Saliva as a test specimen type is known to endure rigorous testing that is both sensitive and highly specific to the individual hormone being assessed. Advanced tandem-MS testing can detect very low levels of a given hormone and employs antibody binding methods that lead to only the specific hormone of interest being measured (avoiding false positives). The laboratory applies strict quality control checks ensuring that their test results are high quality and accurate.

Saliva’s no Slouch when it comes to Test Time

How long testing takes depends on the laboratory, the equipment they use, and also the volume of hormones being tested. Laboratories who run low total volume of tests may run a single batch for a particular hormone once per week, where as larger, busier laboratories may do them daily.

In the case of TestoChecker® and its trusted accredited laboratory, testing turnaround time is very quick. Test wait time using TestoChecker® is between 5 – 11 working days. Click this link to view a breakdown of individual hormone test wait times.

Looking for an answer you can’t find? Try our FAQ, or post the question via our Contact Page.

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Safety: Please note that Saliva hormone testing is not intended as a diagnostic tool for illness or disease. It may however be useful when investigating illness, but only as one investigative tool in a larger “toolbox”. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort or suspect you may have medical issue’s, see your GP or attend the nearest hospital for checkup.

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