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How Accurate Are Saliva Testosterone Tests (Does It Work?)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Last updated: January 5, 2023

At-home saliva testosterone tests are a common method of finding out if you have low testosterone levels.

However, I wanted to determine if they are as accurate as blood (serum) testosterone tests.

So I spent several finding relevant research papers and finally consulted my close friend from the medical field for a professional opinion.

Keep reading to learn everything about these tests and what to do if you want to increase your testosterone levels.

Quick Summary

  • Saliva testosterone tests work by measuring the amount of testosterone in saliva, which can be used to estimate the amount of testosterone in the body.
  • Saliva testosterone tests are slightly less accurate than blood testosterone tests.
  • Symptoms of low testosterone are lower muscle mass, increased body fat, and reduced strength.

How Do Saliva Testosterone Tests Work?

A doctor taking saliva samples for testosterone test

Saliva testosterone tests work by detecting the amount of testosterone present in your saliva, also known as salivary testosterone.

From this measurement, you can estimate the amount of testosterone in the rest of the body.

Testosterone is present in two main ways within your blood.

Free testosterone is unbound and readily available to cells.

The second way it is present in the blood is when it is attached to another compound.

For example, testosterone can bind to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHGB).

Unbound testosterone can diffuse from your blood vessels into your saliva, while testosterone attached to cells that carry it where it is needed is too large to diffuse [1].

That said, saliva testing will tell you the amount of testosterone that has diffused into your saliva but cannot give you information on testosterone that is bound or used in your body.

Is Saliva Testosterone Testing Accurate?

A doctor holding a saliva test for testosterone

Saliva testosterone testing is accurate enough to tell you if you should make an appointment with a doctor, but they are not accurate enough to diagnose any disorder.

Blood testing will provide you with far more information than saliva testing and is overall more accurate.

Benefits of Saliva Testosterone Tests

Saliva testing is easy to perform at home. You can order them online and get results back within a week.

At-home saliva tests are also accessible for many people who don’t have access to health insurance or blood tests.

A doctor may be able to estimate salivary and serum concentrations of testosterone from a saliva sample, but the estimated serum total testosterone will be an estimate, not a measurement.

Saliva Tests vs. Blood Tests

A doctor looking at a blood test in a lab

Blood testing can tell you the amount of testosterone in your body with a high degree of accuracy.

It will also account for bound testosterone, which saliva testing cannot detect.

Additionally, blood testing is accurate and thorough enough to give you a diagnosis if something is wrong so that you may begin to understand treatment options.

Saliva tests are a good option if you want a basic understanding of your hormone levels.

For example, if you are trying a testosterone booster and want to understand how effective it has been or if you want to know if you have an extreme hormone imbalance.

Salivary hormone analysis will give you the necessary information to determine your next steps.

For diagnostic purposes, a doctor will likely take a blood sample.

What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?

The symptoms of low testosterone are reduced libido, lower muscle mass, reduced strength, increased body fat, low mood, and fatigue [2].

Low testosterone is also associated with an increased risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis [3]

While men and women share the majority of the symptoms associated with low testosterone, women are also at risk of hirsutism, a condition that causes excessive body hair.

What to Do About Potential Low Testosterone Levels

A doctor with a clipboard reading about low testosterone levels

You should talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible if you believe you may have low testosterone levels, either because you are exhibiting symptoms or because of saliva test results.

There is no cure for chronic testosterone deficiency, but treatment is available.

You may need hormone replacement therapy, or more specifically, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) [4, 5].

In many cases, you can regulate your hormone levels at home with diet changes, increased exercise, or natural testosterone boosters.

“There may be certain lifestyle changes to help increase testosterone levels, such as adding resistance exercise and losing weight.”
– Joseph Brito III, M.D. urologist at Yale Medicine

FAQs

What Is The Most Accurate Test For Testosterone

The most accurate test for testosterone is a blood test, which will include serum concentrations in the results.

How Long Is a Saliva Sample Good for Testosterone?

A saliva sample for testosterone is good for 24 hours at room temperature or 28 days if frozen at -4 Fahrenheit (-20 Celcius).

If a saliva sample is not frozen within 24 hours or is kept at a higher temperature, the results may be skewed or inaccurate.

What Hormones Can Be Checked With a Saliva Test?

Hormones that you can check with a saliva test include estrogens, progesterone, androgens, cortisol, and melatonin.

Are Saliva Testostore Tests Reliable?

Saliva testing is accurate enough for most home purposes, but blood testing is required for doctors to make a complete diagnosis.

If your results from a testosterone test are abnormal, you may suffer from a hormonal imbalance.

Low T can result in symptoms like fatigue, poor performance, inability to build muscle, and reduced sex drive.

In this case, I recommend combining a healthy diet and exercise plan with a high-quality testosterone booster:

After testing dozens of supplements, we have singled out the best ones available.

These boosters contain only natural ingredients that significantly impact our clients’ performance.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5029560/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793809/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2948422/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493191/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897047/
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