Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (6)


A simple adrenal function saliva test which measures cortisol levels 6 times throughout the day.

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Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (6)

About this test

Cortisol is a steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal glands. It is vital for survival given its role in various functions such as immunity, regulating blood pressure and releasing insulin for blood sugar maintenance. Cortisol has been termed 'the stress hormone' because it is secreted in higher quantities during the body's 'fight or flight' response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

This test establishes the levels of cortisol in the saliva at 6 different points in the day. Samples are taken after waking, 12 noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and before going to sleep. Cortisol levels should be highest just after waking in the morning and lowest at bedtime.

This test can help identify Cushing's syndrome, which is caused by too much cortisol, or Addison's disease, which is caused by damage to the adrenal glands and is associated with too little cortisol. It is also used by some practitioners in the diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, a condition where elevated levels of stress are thought to impair adrenal function.

Please note that the lower detection limit for this test is 1.5 nmol/L.

Who is this test for?

This test is for anyone wanting a check their cortisol levels to assess adrenal function. 

How it works

Collect Sample

We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your saliva sample.

Post Sample

Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.

View Results

View results securely in your own personal dashboard.

Important Information

Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. Our doctors will interpret your results based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. You will be advised to see your doctor for any necessary follow-up action.

Tests Included


Cortisol levels should be highest in the morning, peaking 20-30 minutes after waking, and then declining gradually through the day until midnight. 

Low levels of cortisol on waking may indicate adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease.

High cortisol may be caused by raised stress levels and anxiety. Elevated cortisol can also be caused by Cushing's syndrome. 

By midday your cortisol should have declined significantly from its level on waking.

If it remains elevated you could be suffering from ongoing high stress levels (or more rarely Cushing's syndrome) while a level which is abnormally low could indicate adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease - a condition where the adrenal glands fail to produce enough cortisol.

Some practitioners also believe that low levels of cortisol could indicate "adrenal fatigue", although such a condition is not widely recognised.

By 2pm your cortisol levels should have continued their gradual decline. 

Low levels of cortisol in the afternoon can result in excessive sleepiness and may be caused by adrenal insufficiency, a condition where the adrenal glands fail to produce enough cortisol. 

High levels of cortisol can be caused by acute or chronic stress, or more rarely by a condition called Cushing's syndrome. 

By 4pm your cortisol production should have continued to slow down in preparation for the evening ahead. 

Continually elevated levels of cortisol can be due to chronic stress (or more rarely a condition called Cushing's syndrome).

Lower than normal levels of cortisol can be due to adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease.

Some practitioners attribute chronically low levels of cortisol to a conditon referred to as "adrenal fatigue". 

By 6pm your cortisol production should have continued to decline to a fraction of its level on waking, in preparation for sleep ahead. 

Consistently elevated levels of cortisol could indicate that you are suffering from chronic stress (or more rarely Cushing's syndrome) while persistently low levels could indicate adrenal insufficiency.

Cortisol levels decline gradually throughout the day and should be at their lowest at bed time to ensure a good night's sleep.

Raised cortisol at night can contribute to insomnia and restless sleep. 

Saliva sample collection kit

We will send you your Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (6) saliva sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your saliva sample in the comfort of your own home.

Postage & packaging

Your Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (6) includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your saliva sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your saliva sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.

Private laboratory analysis

Your saliva sample will be analysed at one of our chosen laboratories. You can be assured of fast, accurate results from one of our accredited independent providers of clinical diagnostic tests.

Interpretation of results

Our medical team will comment on out-of-range saliva results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (6) results can be downloaded for your doctor.

Secure online account

Once you have placed your order you can visit where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (6) results.

Health and Lifestyle tracker

Stay motivated by filling in your online health and lifestyle questionnaire and seeing how improvements in your lifestyle can influence your results. Your medical and family history gives us vital information when interpreting your results.

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