average adult makes about 25 mg of DHEA per day with production dwindling,
as we get older due mainly to poor nutrition and lifestyle. Men at all ages
have more DHEA than women.
Natural DHEA production is at a peak in our twenties. In our seventies
because of years of abuse, we only make about twenty percent of the DHEA we
had when we were young. A decline in DHEA with the passage of time is not
necessarily what nature intended. This is one of the reasons you should not
self-prescribe DHEA or use over-the-counter products that contain it.
throwing a pill into the mix without understanding the bigger picture is
never a wise choice. DHEA is a very powerful precursor, to all of your
major sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. DHEA’s
molecular structure is closely related to testosterone.
Besides DHEA, your adrenals also make the stress hormone adrenaline and
cortisol. Adrenal exhaustion from coping with chronic stress, poor
nutrition, on and off dieting, emotional turmoil, and job-related stress,
over tax your adrenals. The adrenals become exhausted from this phenomenon
that pump out cortisol due to a large amount of stress, and the adrenals
simply can’t manufacture enough DHEA to support a healthy hormonal balance.
The result is, you feel tapped out, overwhelmed and, often, depressed. Then
commonly, that person begins to over eat, (binge eat) or turn to alcohol or
Adequate levels of DHEA are needed to ensure your body can produce the
hormones it needs when it needs them. In that balanced state your mood is
stable and you feel clear-headed, happy, and full of energy and capable of
such things as sticking to regular eating habits. DHEA is the best hormone
we know to produce that happiness. Taking too much is the best way in our
opinion, to develop cancer such as prostrate in men or uterine or breast
cancer in women.
DHEA levels are low, your body does not have enough working material for
proper endocrine function. This throws off your hormone production and you
feel a general sense of knowing something is wrong but not knowing what it
is, along with other symptoms of hormonal imbalance. How severe this is
depends on how many other demands are being made on the body at the same
There is growing evidence that healthy levels of DHEA may help reduce the
chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression,
heart disease, and obesity; but there may be some increased risks associated
with DHEA, for example women with a history of breast cancer to name just
one. This is still more indication that our approach to testing hormones
with our saliva panel to determine the levels prior to taking them are
Adrenal dysfunction may be a factor in many related ailments. Your
lifestyle, diet and stress levels all contribute to the amount of DHEA your
body can produce in a given period.
Think of an exhausted Father or exhausted Mother, He/Her adrenals work
tirelessly to meet the demands placed on them until they are utterly tapped
out. Without adequate support, they go into adrenal fatigue and
eventually adrenal exhaustion. Symptoms of low DHEA levels are:
Decreased muscle mass
Increased fat reserve
Hunger not easily satisfied
Decreased bone density
Loss of libido
simply adding more DHEA to the equation without proper testing is not the
answer — despite what claims you may have heard from your friends. If one of
your friends said he grew muscle when he took the DHEA and worked out and he
didn’t get any disease or suffer side effects, he could have been one of
those who under produce it and taking it did not adversely affect him
immediately, but long term may reveal something more sinister. If you are a
male person whose DHEA is balanced and you take it, you could increase your
risk of cancer of the prostrate or at the least, cause enlargement. DHEA
alone can’t fix adrenal fatigue, balancing your hormones can have a huge
effect. We believe nutritional support, lifestyle changes, good eating
habits, regular exercise, increased water intake, bio feedback analysis to
help you lower your sugar level in the blood, lymphatic drainage treatments
and proper rest can improve all your hormone levels.
understand how adrenal fatigue develops, it is important to understand what
the original function of the adrenal gland was. The adrenals are important
control centers for many of the body's hormones. The outer layer of the
adrenal cortex gland, produces hormones including cortisol,
DHEA, estrogen and testosterone. The center of the gland
produces the adrenaline hormone.
basic task of your healthy adrenal glands are to negotiate all your body's
resources and increase production of adrenaline and other hormones when they
are needed such as the fight or flight syndrome.
there is good health, through a good lifestyle, your adrenals can instantly
increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your stored energy for
immediate use, slow your digestion and other secondary functions and then
sharpen your senses. Healthy stress responses take priority over all other
metabolic functions but that response wasn't designed to last, for an
extended period of time.
WHAT MAKES AN
We live with constant stress today. We're constantly
over-worked and under-nourished. Our exposure to environmental toxins is
Every time we challenge our mind and body this creates a demand on the
adrenal glands. The list of unresolved emotional and physiological issues
that can create dysfunction of the adrenals is endless and include: lack of
sleep, a demanding job, the thought of losing your job, financial realities,
personality conflicts, daily family crisis, on and off dieting, relationship
problems, death or illness of loved ones, irregular eating habits, reliance
on stimulants such as caffeine, digestive problems, over-exercise,
under exercise, not enough water intake, not drinking the proper water, no
dietary supplementation, lack of hormone testing and illness or infection.
The normal function for cortisol is to help us meet
these challenges brought on by the stress-induced adrenalin; by converting
proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation. But
at sustained high levels in response to the adrenalin, cortisol tears your
body down and can store in fat, the stomach, hips and thighs.
addition, high and sustained levels of cortisol destroy healthy muscle and
bone; slow down the healing process in normal cell replacement; impair
digestion, metabolism and mental function; interfere with healthy endocrine
function; and weaken your immune system.
Adrenal dysfunction may be a factor in many related conditions, including
fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and
premature menopause, acne, and hair loss. Unfortunately, adrenal
dysfunction is seldom detected in conventional medicine.
Conventional medicine is truly wonderful at treating
disease-state conditions. Unfortunately its focus on drugs also tends to
suppress early-stage symptoms rather than treat their underlying causes.
This can have the effect of delaying treatment until a disease state has
Within the conventional medical community, any cortisol level within a very
broad range is considered normal, and anything outside that range indicates
disease. When Cortisol is tested at several points during the day, to track
the adrenals' day-night pattern (called the "diurnal rhythm") a
simple saliva tests are used. A
saliva hormone panel checks
estradiol in the follicular phase (usually days three to nine of a menstrual
cycle); progesterone in the luteal phase (days 14 to 28); DHEA; and both
free and total testosterone levels. Cortisol working at optimum levels would
be elevated in the morning to help you get going, lower but steady
throughout the day to sustain energy, and would then fall to its lowest
levels to induce restful sleep in the late evening.
After menopause or a hysterectomy, when your adrenals become the primary
hormone factory, some women’s ratio of DHEA that is converted into
testosterone, outweighs what’s been converted into estrogen and
progesterone. This can cause bouts of increased irritability and unusual
body hair growth, especially when DHEA supplements are taken without testing
or follow-ups to monitor hormone levels.
Biologically active “Free” testosterone is the portion of the hormone that
is in your bloodstream. This is one reason why a blood sample is not an
accurate method of hormone testing. The blood is centrifuged and this
removes the red and white blood cells. After menopause, volatile levels of
free testosterone may be at work, which may be the cause of annoying
male-pattern facial hair for women. Most doctors only test total
testosterone levels. Adding a DHEA supplement to this scenario can
There are some women who convert most of their DHEA into estrogen. In this
case, if you took DHEA supplements this could create a different kind of
estrogen-progesterone imbalance with symptoms similar to PMS, including
breast tenderness and mood swings.
EARLY STAGES OF ADRENAL STRESS
the early stages of adrenal stress, cortisol levels will be too high during
the day and will continue to rise in the evening. This is called "hyper-adrenia".
In the middle stages, cortisol may rise and fall unevenly as the body
struggles to balance itself in spite of other disruptions caused by intake
of caffeine, carbohydrates and other factors. When the
adrenals are exhausted, cortisol will never reach normal levels that is ("hypo-adrenia").
CUSHING’S DISEASE OR ADDISON’S DISEASE:
Conventional medicine will often only detect the extremes of these
conditions, (Cushing’s Disease or Addison’s Disease) when damage to
the adrenals has already occurred. You can feel miserable but still be told
your adrenals are normal. But by responding to early-stage symptoms and
reversing the developing dysfunction with bioidentical hormone replacement
therapy and a lifestyle change, it is possible to prevent adrenal damage.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR ADRENALS ARE NORMAL?
general, if you feel happy and well, have steady energy and healthy
emotions, sleep soundly for between seven to nine hours a night, wake up
feeling rested, recover well from stress, and maintain a healthy weight
without dieting, then your adrenals are probably doing well.
DHEA IS CONVERTED DIFFERENTLY BY EACH WOMAN
Remember that DHEA is just one stop along the metabolic pathway (refer to
the Hormone Pathway chart on my website) and doesn’t work in isolation. How
DHEA gets converted is based on your individual biochemistry. Some women
may use it to make more estrogen, and others may make more testosterone.
Just throwing a pill into the mix without understanding the bigger
picture is never the answer. Having too much DHEA, or converting DHEA
into too much of one hormone and not enough of another, can be
as detrimental to your body as not having enough DHEA.
DELICATE HORMONAL BALANCE
should not look to supplementation without testing as a stand-alone
solution. If you are considering taking DHEA, or any hormone, it would be
wise to check your hormone balance first. DHEA is one part of the whole
array of hormones at work every moment in your body. Before you begin to
alter that balance, it’s a good idea to understand what is going on in your
life, on all levels, physiologically and emotionally as well as testing and
examining your nutritional and exercise habits.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
though in our culture we’ve been trained to expect a one-size-fits-all drug
cure for every health issue, ingesting a powerful hormone can be
unpredictable and in some cases, be risky, you need guidance and that person
guiding you should use a professional compounding pharmacist to provide
bioidentical hormones for you; not some hawker in a nutrition store.
DHEA OVER THE COUNTER
Today you can buy DHEA over-the-counter in various places, in a confusing
variety of doses and combinations. Most advertising and hype are geared
toward men, who have similar types of reactions as women.
labels claim DHEA will help you lose weight, increase libido, ease
depression, give you strength, and increase immunity and stamina. DHEA is a
potent steroid that alters many things and that’s why it’s been in the news
media and why it should be assessed with diligence utilizing proper testing
and if required, proper compounding of hormones.
Without a comprehensive testing program, it’s impossible to know what your DHEA levels are, or how your body will process it. Just because you’re
getting older, doesn’t automatically mean you’re deficient. Our bodies can
produce more, or less of it, depending on our nutritional support,
metabolism, hormonal balance, activity level, and emotional state.
TO NATURALLY IMPROVE “DHEA”
There are many studies that show you can improve your DHEA levels naturally
by maintaining a body mass index of 19 to 25, (depending on whether you are
male or female) and in our opinion by the following these 6 items we will
term “Action Plan for Life, ”,: