How Does Regular Exercise Affect The Composition Of Saliva?

As common as saliva may seem, have you ever thought of how regular physical activities can affect the composition of your saliva? If not, then this article will interest you.

Exocrine cells secrete a substantial volume of fluid called salivary glands. Electrolytes and many other chemicals are delivered from the interior glands to the buccal cavity via saliva. The fluid's average volume per day is projected to be 750mL or about 20% of the total plasma levels.

Parasympathetic cholinergic neurons and sympathetic adrenergic nerves induce salivary glands. The parasympathetic nervous system stimulates peripheral blood circulation and the composition of saliva secretions, which have minimal organic and inorganic constituents. Sympathetic stimulation causes reduced saliva with high amounts of Potassium ions and proteins.

Hormone response assessment throughout physical exercise helps in providing useful information about training intensity, adaptability, exhaustion, and exercise capacity.

Interestingly, saliva comprises 99 percent water and 1percent organic and inorganic compounds. Though these organic and inorganic constituents of saliva are typically in low concentration levels when contrasted to serum, certain proteins, including α-amylase, are produced in the gland and found in greater quantities.

Vitamin C, maltase, urea, uric acid, albumin, mucus, creatinine, amino acids, lactase, and hormones like testosterone and cortisol can all be found in saliva. Furthermore, CO2 concentrations and immunoglobulins like IgA, IgG, and IgM are indicated.

So, read on as we walk you through how regular exercise can affect the composition of your saliva.

What is Salivary Secretion?

Salivary secretion is the secretion of saliva in the mouth and is important in oral health. The parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems control saliva production. Each one distinctly affects secretion. For example, saliva discharge contains more proteins like -amylase and cystatin when the sympathetic nervous system promotes it.

Saliva secretion is mostly boosted when the parasympathetic system activates it. Physical exercises and workouts enhance the flow rate of saliva and protein production (e.g., amylase, lysozyme, and MUC5B). The composition of saliva compounds, along with metabolites, may be affected by the reduced saliva flow. The protective role of S-IgA is determined by its secretion rate.

It has been discovered that for healthy people with considerable physical fitness, unaroused saliva is released at a rate of 0.30–0.65 mL/min at rest, but triggered saliva is released at a speed of 1.5–6.0 mL/min. Furthermore, during workouts using various workout equipment and gadgets such as Sporzon Dumbbells, saliva outflow rate rises to a discharge rate of 0.78–0.94 and then declines after recuperation.

The surge in salivary proteins after physical fitness could be linked to adrenal action. While exercising, higher plasma catecholamines could also result in a rise in a-amylase. The levels of saliva and serum cortisol rise in lockstep with the explosive intensity of the exercise.

Physical fitness also boosts the production of S-type cystatins and cystatin C. Saliva flow rate, and a-amylase quantities are unaffected by exercise in normoxia and hypoxia. Acute hypoxia, on the other hand, causes a drop in mean saliva potassium ions content at relaxation and after exercise, as well as an increment in saliva flow rate.

Food ingestion while exercising also boosts saliva flow rate and the production of certain proteins such as lysozyme and -amylase, but not s-IgA.

Major Components of Saliva Affected by Regular Physical Exercise

Among the various chemical components of saliva, which can be altered due to regular physical exercises are the following;

Immunoglobulin G (IgG) & Immunoglobulin M (IgM)

Every saliva immunoglobulin donates to the immune system and protects it against upper respiratory infections (URI). Moreover, very few researchers have assessed saliva immunoglobulin G and saliva immunoglobulin M below physical exercise.

The saliva IgG stage seems unaffected in physical exercise, while the Saliva-IgM stage is reduced and reinstated within 24 hrs.

Lysozyme and Lactoferrin present in saliva

Lysozyme and Lactoferrin are major antimicrobial proteins present in saliva. These proteins work hand-in-hand with others to boost immunity. The protein, Lysozyme, is also partly an enzyme. This is why it is responsible for breaking down the polysaccharide wall in a cell. Thus, causing major damage to bacteria, mainly Gram-positive bacteria.

Also, the neutrophils are activated through physical exercise, which in turn results in releasing these proteins into the saliva. Therefore, the concentration level of lysozyme in saliva and its degree of secretion are adverse influences on psychological or mental stress.

Lactoferrin functions as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. This prevents bacteria's growth through secretion of iron from the bacteria and directly ejecting into the bacterial membranes, which destroy it.

According to research, a reduced concentration of Lactoferrin in the saliva was discovered in elite rowers than in the non-exercising group over a training season.

On the flip side, running increases the secretion of lactoferrin and lysozyme concentration in both genders.

Lactate in saliva

In the buildup of skeletal muscle, lactate is a vital energy source. Taking measurements of blood lactate concentration is a way to get information. Information that will show, if any, changes in glycolysis. Lactate in the saliva is formed through passive diffusion from the salivary glands and the blood.

Blood lactate and saliva lactate are highly connected. It has been proposed that salivary lactate increases due to an increase in blood lactate concentration, which leads to an increase in the passage of the blood to the saliva barrier during exercise.

Salivary lactate concentrations during training have been calculated to be lower than those of the blood lactate. Lactate levels also prove to be a way to know when a person is overtraining, as they decrease during intense exercise. Lactate levels do not depend on physical fitness or changes in anxiety.

Oral Peroxides–Nitric Oxide

One of the greatest levels of the composition of the saliva antioxidant system is the nitric oxide enzymes. The significance of the salivary antioxidant system is mainly for the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide produced by bacteria. Then, bacterial glycolytic enzymes are inactivated, thus, killing the oral bacteria.

Exercise in moderation increases the activity of the peroxidase. The lower the exercise intensity, the longer the peroxidase remains at a high level. Stress-induced by workouts also results in the secretion of nitric oxide in saliva. Oral peroxide is on a high in beginner athletes. But not in well-trained athletes and professionals.

In addition, exercise increases saliva uric acid and total antioxidant activity while the saliva lipid hydroperoxides drop. This could mean that an increase in uric acid and antioxidant activity does not allow lipid hydroperoxides to be produced, making oral peroxide a sign of oxidative stress in saliva. Sure, our oral health depends partly on nitric oxide.

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Salivary α-Amylase (SAA)

Some salivary proteins that are not attached to the immune system can hinder the attachment of bacteria to the oral cavity. One of these proteins is α-Amylase, which can cling to several oral bacteria.

Salivary α-Amylase is the most significant enzyme in saliva. It is responsible for the breakdown of starch and glycogen to maltose and has been used as an SNS (sympathetic nervous system) activation bio-tracker.

It is secreted in the salivary glands and controlled by the autonomous nervous system. Cortisol is moved from blood to saliva. Beta-adrenergic agonists (which help to relax muscles in the airway) can stimulate the release of salivary α-Amylase without an increase in the saliva flow.

With an increased rate of exercise, salivary amylase will increase, which is partly a function of the intensity of exercise. Two hours of adequate workout can lead to improvement of the amylase activity.

The response of salivary amylase is usually very quick; within a few minutes, it's much quicker than blood cortisol levels, and after eliminating the pressure factor, it declines quickly.

Saliva Cortisol (S-Cortisol)

Cortisol is the main glucocorticoid created by the adrenal cortex, which controls blood glucose homeostasis. When in a tense condition, it leads to an increase in blood glucose. A very High saliva cortisol concentrations are associated with reduced insulin sensitivity.

Free cortisol has very high cortisol associated with the minor hypoglycemic state, which seems to reduce efficacy of the immune system state and decrease the plasma concentration of glutamine.

Interestingly, cortisol is accountable for 95% of the steroid hormone action in the human body. However, the discharge of cortisol due to physical exercise is not instant.

Saliva cortisol is likely to be reduced during non-physical exercise. Low-intensity exercise also decreases the stages of saliva cortisol. During moderate-intensity exercise, its stage remains almost constant. Physical exercise of high intensity has an impact that influences the secretory process of the adrenal cortex and helps the cortisol to start releasing in grownups and teenagers.

Immediately after physical fitness, the amount of saliva cortisol increases instantly after the workout. Therefore, endurance while doing physical exercise tends to produce very high plasma cortisol than a high-density lipoprotein workout.

A study proposed that saliva cortisol is lesser during physical water exercise than during physical exercises on land. This contrasts with another research work that indicates that the salivary cortisol concentrations similarly significantly decrease with physical water exercise and land workout. Physical fitness seems to increase the weakened due to poor sleeping quality and to develop of cortisol stages.

Physical fitness is related to cortisol discharge during mental stress. Mental stress issues can add to higher values of leptin. A suggestion about the relation between saliva cortisol and nervousness has been made.

Decreasing the level of saliva-free cortisol after the workout session usually appears in depressive patients before 10 min and after 10 min. Saliva cortisol quantity can sense the daily heartbeat of the athletes, and it aids in preventing repetitive intense training.

However, a diet with low carbohydrates destroys the immune action and increases saliva cortisol. Additionally, the consumption of carbohydrates within the period of extended workouts decreases the stress of having good oral health. Moreover, milk chocolate intake, which consists of proteins and carbohydrates, is related to lesser saliva-cortisol reaction and higher saliva movement amount than water.

Steroids - Testosterone

The steroid hormones available in human saliva contain estrogen, cortisol, and several other hormones that help manage stress in the human body. More so, saliva could contain several other types of materials.

Serum materials could be transferred from the lipid cell membrane into the saliva gland, which will be present in an individual's saliva. Nevertheless, the above only occurs in specific lipid cell components such as the salivary gland.

Saliva steroids are known to provide efficient change compared to other steroids. The cortisol in the saliva ensures good oral health. There is also a great relationship between the plasma and the saliva. This two have been used over time to measure the response in the female body to exercise. The plasma concentration can be obtained from the amount of testosterone in the saliva.

It will interest you to know that the presence of cortisol and testosterone could be increased relatively in the saliva with the involvement in productive physical exercise.

During the exercise, the testosterone increases in degree. This hormone increases and reaches its peak at the end of this physical fitness practice. The salivary testosterone is a great measurement tool to check the degree to which a specific athlete can perform and the kind of exercise such an athlete should engage in per time. It also determines if several sports activities should be added or reduced.

Oral health adds to muscular performance and the development of human muscles. Therefore, the meaningful hypothesis can be drawn from an individual's level of oral health. Body stress and over-exercise could be solved out this hypothesis.

Salivary Immunoglobulin A (s-lgA)

This immunoglobulin is predominant in the immune system. This is created by a plasma cell. The immunoglobulin is not only present in the saliva but also in the urine, the secretion of the intestine, and several other mucosal liquids.

This Immunoglobulin present in the human body provides resistance to different infections. In addition, the salivary immunoglobulin protects individuals against several pathogens and serves as an immunity.

Aged people in physical workouts tend to possess a very high level of immunoglobulin compared to those who do not work out. This also provides good oral health as the immunoglobulin tends to increase in individuals that engage in a daily physical fitness routine.

The immune function of individuals who practice daily workouts will be increased at a high level. However, there have been controversies about whether carbohydrate sponsors or affects the performance of the immunoglobulin.

Finally, eating two hours or fasting before a physical fitness routine does not determine the performance of the immunoglobulin.

In the relation between the saliva immunoglobulin and physical fitness, some people have argued that the oral health tends to depreciate after workouts. However, some other sources have declared no reduction in oral health, while others declare a change and increase in immunoglobulin.

The production of immunoglobulin is a good way to measure an individual's overtraining rate. However, immunoglobulin tends to reduce due to a long period of exercise. There is no significant difference between the immunoglobulin and the cortisol due to the workout.

Physical fitness is necessary for everybody as it provides for the good oral health of individuals and allows for healthy living. However, massive workout loads can reduce salivary Immunoglobulin A and overpower immune functions.

This is so since the reduced Concentration of salivary Immunoglobulin A or incurable deficiencies of s-IgA is related to an increased rate of upper respiratory tract infections.

However, additional research is needed to explain the connection between the salivary parts and URTI's appearances. That being said, Instructors can also make use of this vital information to foresee the athletes' immune function, which can assist in reducing the chances of URTI.

Somatomedin C

Following a study of a fresh female volleyball player, available somatomedin-c in saliva layers is reduced in well-prepared athletes than in sedentary groups.

In disagreement with this study, another study showcased that Somatomedin-c was elevated after a workout, while plasma somatomedin-c was not elevated.

The somatomedin-c can be extra delicate. So, a Workout is recommended to raise somatotropin that is controlled by the hypothalamus. This rise appears to be associated with Somatomedin C.

Saliva miRNAs

Saliva miRNAs may indicate crucial biological functions pertained to an injury, like axon repair, neurogenesis, hypoxia, and cell end. miRNAs illustrated from saliva appear to be a specific non-intrusive option to analyze intracranial injury (TI) due to concussion.

Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine)

The hormone that is naturally found in the body of a human that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle is known as Melatonin.

During physical exercise, the level of melatonin secretion can decrease in the afternoon workout, unlike during the morning workout. Due to this fact, a non-intrusive examination of N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine can be conducted.

Urate acid

Various Impact of workouts on the level of urate acid found in saliva needs to be examined since available analysis comes to different conclusions.

However, an aerobic workout like that of a long race has a strong impact on boosting the level of urate acid in the body. And in the other way round, it appears that inconsistent physical workout, like short races, does not quite affect the level of urate acid in saliva.


In this post, you have been walked through the association between physical exercise and the biological effects of saliva. Thus, the change in the texture of the salivary before and after an exercise shows the usefulness of a workout and its possible risks.

However, the saliva analysis method can also be utilized as a modest method to estimate workout-induced modifications, lactate accumulation, changes in immunological indicators, and adaptation in hormones.

Likewise, the frequency and types of exercise, the athlete's general health, and physical condition can control the immunoglobulins, saliva enzymes, and hormones.

That being said, the relationship between physical workout and saliva needs to be examined, particularly for the organic elements of saliva.

Coaches and athletes also need to consider regulating salivary hormones amid competition or exercise for regularity or examining general exercise.


  1. The Effects of Physical Exercise on Saliva Composition: A Comprehensive Review
  2. Changes in lactate, ferritin, and uric acid in saliva after repeated explosive effort sequences

About the Author Erik Brown

"Erik Brown" is the health and fitness author for He works with a team of committed experts to create detailed reviews and informative articles about health and fitness. For instance, he covers various fitness-related topics especially on workout equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes and more. If you want to make a wise decision when buying any training equipment, check out more of his unbiased articles."

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