Salivary testing for cortisol, adrenals - timing

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 26, 2012 at 6:41 AM

I'm getting some hormone baselines done to finally get some data for some (relatively) minor but long standing issues I've had...

Thing is I havn't managed to find expalnation of the advantages of getting salivary testing done in the four slots as opposed to once in the monring. Beyond my intution/rational function which says that the more data the better, any ideas/answers would be very welcome... (Links to explatory content that I obviously havn't found is also always welcomed...)

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3 Answers



on October 26, 2012
at 08:07 AM

Some hormones follow a circadian rhythm (sometimes referred to as diurnal cycle as well).
Two of these are cortisol and melatonin.

These cycles can get screwed up, & hence the need to test 4 times for cortisol & 1 or 2 times for melatonin.

In summary, yes its worth getting cortisol done 4 times throughout the day (ie. 0600, 1200, 1800, 2200). & i was gonna say you only really need to do a midnight melatonin, but after reading two study abstracts on pubmed, here & here, its probably worth doing a midnight & morning melatonin.

Has "the lab" indicated any other tests that need to be taken more than once during the day?


on October 27, 2012
at 06:40 PM

Salivary cortisol changes throughout the day. Multiple levels ensure that you capture diurnal variations as opposed to single levels. It costs more but it's probably worth it.

The whole concept revolves around the idea that we are under excessive levels of chronic stress given the nature of work in modern society vs. the caveman balance of work and play. Chronic cortisol deficiencies lead to fatigue and other symptoms but you might not capture your personal deficiencies unless you test diurnal variations.

BTW, I got mine tested through www.accesalabs.com/zrt if you are looking for a place to do it. Simple process and good customer service.



on October 26, 2012
at 02:58 PM

Yup to Daz! Read the stuff on http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/adrenal-info/

Dysfunctional adrenals equates first to combined highs and lows of cortisol that are not "normal, then to low cortisol (and sometimes low aldosterone)."

This site provides graphs: www.chronicfactigue.org

and in particular you can look at the stage 2 and stage 6 graphs. With stage 2 and 3 say, you will be higher relative to baseline at all times, but at stage 4 you will appear lower than baseline in the morning (thus waking feeling tired), cortisol will be then normal, normal through day and then high at night (so you can't fall asleep). it's the pattern you want to examine, not the one glance. stage 6 you will be low except at night, and so on.


Also be careful about supplements prior to the tests - zinc, licorice, and other herbs on stopthethyroidmadness are listed as being able to distort the results/give false positives or negatives. Good luck!

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