Advantages of hormone saliva tests
Measuring bio-available, free hormones
In comparison to the measurement of the bound, biological, inactive steroid hormones in blood, the determination of the steroid hormones using a salivary hormone test has the following essential advantages. When using saliva for the determination of the hormones, the free bio-available proportion of the hormones is measured. This is the part of the hormones that is not attached to proteins and which can be actively used by our cells, for example in the brain, the uterus or skin.
Easy sample collection without supervision
The collection of the saliva sample is neither restricted by a certain place, nor by the consultation hours of your doctor, meaning you can collect the samples everywhere (at home, at work, under way). Hormones are periodically released in bigger amounts over the course of the day and are subject to daytime fluctuations, making it sensible to take mixed samples at different times during the day to obtain an average value.
In comparison to blood tests the saliva samples have a high stability because the accuracy of the results is not manipulated by being stored over several days (about a week) or by room temperature. In the refrigerator (35-46°F) or the freezer (-4°F) the durability of the samples is extended by weeks (refrigerator) or months (freezer). Blood, on the other hand, must be cooled and sent to the laboratory as soon as possible. To avoid a reproduction of the bacteria, the saliva samples should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer until dispatch. A continuous freezing and thawing of the samples has no effect.
Due to a non-invasive sample collection, patients experience neither pain nor stress, in contrast to a blood test, where the puncturing of a vein is necessary.
Consequently, the negative associations, such as the fear of needles or seeing blood, and pain or bruises (hematomas), involved with the puncture of the needle are completely eliminated.
This particularly is an advantage when dealing with children, young or frightened patients. Due to the non-invasive sample collection (no puncturing with needles necessary!) no medical assistance is needed.
Flexbility & Round-the-clock collection
Due to the temporal and spatial independence of the sample collection, the saliva sample can be collected at times that may have posed problems with the collection of blood samples, for example several times a day or at night. The salivary hormone test eases the creation of daily, nightly or monthly profiles. In this case the samples can be collected several times a day (for example for the recording of the daily rhythmic fluctuations of cortisol), in the night (e.g. melatonin and cortisol at 2 am in the case of sleeping disorders) or daily over a month (e.g, estradiol and progesterone over the monthly cycle in the case of a pre-menstrual syndrome).
Application fields of hormones
Salivary hormone examinations are applicable in different fields:
Different psychological studies concerning the topic stress and endocrinology have shown that the cortisol in saliva drastically increases when the subjects are exposed to chronic stress. People who suffer from depression, who are in life-threatening situations or in socially disadvantaged groups belong to this section.
In stress research the connection between the patients perception of stress and the measurement of stress hormones in saliva is often examined.
The diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome:
In addition to 24-hour-urine measurements, the cortisol levels measured in the evenings and mornings serve as a screening instrument to recognize a suspected presence of the Cushing’s syndrome.
How do the hormones change during sports activities? The measuring of hormones before, during and after the competition, or during the regeneration phase is advisable.
Weight, skin, hair, mood etc. all depend on the interplay of the hormones.
Chronobiology (“The inner clock”):
Melatonin and cortisol play an important role in the sleep-wake-rhythm of humans. In the chronobiological research a number of studies use the measurement of melatonin and cortisol in saliva.
Is the diet orientated in such a way that the body is able to produce a sufficient amount of hormones? Or is the diet too one-sided causing the body to produce more of certain hormones and less of others, resulting in an imbalance?
For the measurement of hormonal changes in the behavioral research of animals and the fertility research in the veterinary medicine.