Cortisol Saliva Test

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-20 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

The cortisol saliva test is indicated for testing changes in cortisol levels throughout the day for patients who are suspected of having adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands are responsible for your responses to stress. As cortisol is the main adrenal hormone, measuring cortisol output by the adrenal glands is a useful indicator of adrenal function and how well the body is dealing with stress. [1], [2]


  • Salivary cortisol levels have been shown to be an index of blood cortisol levels
  • This test provides an evaluation of how cortisol levels differ throughout the day
  • Cortisol is measured four times- in the morning (8am), noon, evening (4pm), and night (best between 11pm and midnight)

Patient Preparation

  • No fasting required.
  • Factors which can cause increased levels
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

  • Cushing syndrome, for which symptoms include:
  • High Blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High Blood glucose
  • Obesity, parcularly in the trunk
  • Fragile skin
  • Purple streaks or striae on the abdomen
  • Muscle wasting or weakness
  • Osteoporosis

Low levels indicate:

  • Adrenal fatigue or insufficiency

Associated Tests

  • ACTH, Aldosterone, 17-Hydroxyprogesterone, Growth Hormone, Dexmethasone Suppression Test (DST), ACTH Stimulation Test


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.
  2. Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain.