Test For Food Sensitivities:
Most people with adrenal fatigue and poor DHEA levels have leaky gut and food sensitivities. These sensitivities can be hard to pinpoint as they result in delayed symptoms that are not life threatening.
The most common food sensitivities include gluten, corn, dairy, soy, peanuts and sugar. Some other potential food sensitivities to consider include all grains, eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshade vegetables .
It can be helpful to do a 28 day elimination diet where you remove all of these and then slowly add these back in one at a time. You can also do both biofeedback and blood testing to determine what foods are causing stress in your system and an elimination diet to test how you are responding to eliminating certain foods for periods of time. You can also
Tips To Boost Dhea Levels
It is commonly believed that our body withers and deteriorates with age. As we get older most of us struggle to maintain muscle mass, skin elasticity, & bone mass. We develop conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, varicose veins, etc. New research has shown that our DHEA levels are the critical player in how successfully we age and by boosting DHEA naturally we can turn back the clock on the aging process.
DHEA is one of the critical hormones that scientists are calling the `fountain of youth.` This hormone is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to 18 steroid hormones including the commonly known sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Healthy DHEA production is critical for lean muscle development, fat burning, bone growth, skin health, and immunity .
The Trouble With Over
Nowadays you can buy DHEA over-the-counter as a matter of course in a confusing variety of doses and combinations. Most of these DHEA products are geared toward men, but Im seeing more and more aimed at women.
The labels claim DHEA will help us lose weight, rev up our libido, lift depression and give us back the strength, immunity, and stamina we had when we were 20 the age at which our bodies naturally produced the most DHEA. While on the surface this is appealing , its obviously not what nature intended. We also dont know enough about DHEA to be conducting such a large, unregulated public experiment. DHEA is a potent steroid thats why it made headlines and why it should be approached with due diligence.
Without a comprehensive medical test its impossible to know what your DHEA levels are. Just because youre getting older doesnt automatically mean youre deficient. Remember, this is a natural substance our bodies can produce more or less of it depending on our nutrient support, metabolism, hormonal balance, activity level and emotional state.
In fact, there are many studies that show you can improve your DHEA levels naturally by maintaining a body mass index of 19-25, getting adequate rest and exposure to sunlight, exercising regularly , and fostering more downtime in your life but more on that in a moment.
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Stress Hormones Before Sex Hormones:
The adrenal glands help to regulate the bodys ability to adapt to stress and they also produce hormones that regulate reproduction. The caveat is that adapting to stress overrides reproduction. Adapting to stress is critical for immediate survival and that is first priority. Once our physiology understands that we are not under an environmental threat, than it will focus its energy on reproductive hormones.
The major stress hormones are cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones help increase energy, increase blood sugar levels and speed up circulation and respiration to help the body survive through fight or flight.
The major sex hormones produced by the adrenals are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These are all critical for growth, metabolism, strength, endurance, mental drive, menstrual function and reproductive ability.
The master compound that is used by the body to produce cortisol and progesterone is called pregnenolone. Pregnenolone can either create cortisol, progesterone or DHEA. DHEA is used by the body to produce testosterone and estrogen. When the body is under chronic stress there is a high demand to produce cortisol which reduces the amount of progesterone and DHEA that is produced .
Medications May Alter Dheas Levels
Several medications can alter your DHEAS level. Insulin, oral contraception, corticosteroids, certain central nervous system drugs , many statins, dopaminergic drugs , fish oil, and vitamin E may reduce DHEAS levels.
Drugs that may increase DHEAS levels include metformin, danazol, calcium channel blockers, and nicotine.
These changes, however, are typically not significant enough to impact clinical treatment of PCOS or create confusion in diagnosing PCOS or secondary conditions.
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Should You Take Dhea Supplements
Although theres some evidence that DHEA may benefit specific populations, most of the research at this point is mixed.
The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding DHEA due to its potential for serious side effects and a lack of evidence to support its use.
If youre an athlete who undergoes drug testing, you should avoid DHEA supplements since its a banned substance by WADA and the NCAA.
If youre considering taking DHEA, its a good idea to talk to a doctor first. Taking a DHEA supplement may raise your levels of testosterone or estrogen that can have unwanted side effects.
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About A Dhea Sulfate Test
DHEA sulfate levels normally decline with age in both men and women. Over-the-counter DHEA sulfate supplements are available and are sometimes promoted as an anti-aging therapy. But there is no reliable evidence to support these anti-aging claims. In fact, these supplements may cause serious side effects. If you have questions about DHEA supplements, talk to your health care provider.
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Trial And Error Method
Additionally, if the patient isn’t willing to take aid from a healthcare provider, the trial and error method is the best way of identifying which form of progesterone will suit you the best. The commonly available types of the hormone have all seen FDA approval, and are entirely safe for use. Each of the progesterone forms also come with dosage information that guides individuals on how to use the hormone properly.
Side Effects Of Progesterone
Before discussing progesterone’s side effects, it needs to be clear that progesterone is clear for use by the FDA orally, as a cream, or as a shot. The only unapproved use remains as a progesterone capsule that’s inserted vaginally. However, all those that have been approved by the FDA are perfectly safe most people to use. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any possibility of the user encountering side effects.
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The Best Way To Make More Dhea: Cultivate Joy
As I said before, DHEA is just one small part of a much larger picture one that you can exert considerable influence over. Our bodies produce DHEA all the time. And its possible to measurably boost your bodys own production of DHEA naturally.
Some studies show that people with a positive outlook actually create a self-sustaining cycle of DHEA production: they produce more DHEA, which may affect their levels of serotonin , which in turn gives them a better outlook which ups DHEA and so on.
One proven way to boost levels of DHEA naturally is to find ways to cultivate joy in your life. This can mean different things to different people but overall there are some common threads when weaving this web of joy:
- Connection. Human beings are social creatures we like companionship. Connecting with family and friends in a healthy, loving way is one of the best joy-makers around. Think long and hard about what you like to do for pleasure and reach out. Join a local class or group that shares your interest.
- Exercise. Moving your body, even through deep breathing and mild stretching, reduces stress, oxygenates your cells, and boosts mood-elevating substances in your bloodstream called endorphins. This process can actually change your body chemistry for the better. Meditation is also useful in this way.
Final Thoughts on DHEA for Women
How To Lower Dhea 6 Causes Of High Dhea Levels In Women
September 8, 2021// by Dr Hagmeyer
The adrenal glands, also known as the suprarenal glands, are located on top of both kidneys and are responsible for producing a number of different hormones that regulate the immune system, metabolism, blood pressure, stress responses, sexual development, and much more.
When the adrenal glands are working properly, the body is able to function correctly in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, this isnt always the case. Sometimes the adrenal glands produce too much of a certain hormone, while other times they dont produce enough of a certain hormone.
A hormone imbalance in any way can throw off the bodys ability to function normally. This is the case with DHEA levels in the body, which are produced in the zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex. Dont worry, well explain everything you need to know about high levels of DHEA.
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Dhea For Women: A Delicate Hormonal Balance
So, you cant look to DHEA supplementation as a stand-alone solution. It just doesnt work that way. DHEA is one part of the whole concert of hormones at work every moment in your body. Before you tinker with that balance its a good idea to understand what is going on in your life on all levels physiologically and emotionally.
After menopause or a hysterectomy, when your adrenals become the primary hormone factory, we see women in whom the ratio of DHEA that is converted into testosterone outweighs whats converted into estrogen and progesterone. This can cause bouts of increased irritability and unusual body hair growth, especially when DHEA supplements are given without prior and follow-up testing of total and free testosterone levels.
Free testosterone is the portion of the hormone that is biologically active in your bloodstream. After menopause, a woman may have volatile levels of free testosterone at work, which accounts for some of the annoying male-pattern facial hair thats common during the transition. Most doctors only test total testosterone levels, not the combined amount. Adding DHEA to this scenario can tip the scale drastically.
On the other hand, Ive also seen patients who convert most of their DHEA into estrogen. In this case, DHEA supplements create a different kind of estrogen-progesterone imbalance with symptoms similar to PMS, including breast tenderness and mood swings. For more information, see our article about estrogen dominance.
Nature And Regulation Of Adrenal Androgens
The major adrenal androgen precursors secreted by the adrenal cortex are DHEA, DHEAS, and androstenedione, which can undergo extraglandular metabolism to produce physiologically active testosterone and estradiol159 however, adrenal androgens do not directly activate the AR. DHEA and especially DHEAS are useful biochemical markers of adrenal androgen secretion and the onset of adrenarche. Androstenedione is the major androgen secreted by the ovary during and after puberty, and it is more readily converted to potent androgens than DHEA or DHEAS.
Associated with the increase in adrenal secretion of DHEA and DHEAS is the appearance and growth of the zona reticularis that occurs coincidently with adrenarche .
In contrast to the zona glomerulosa and fasciculata, four main features distinguish the zona reticularis:
There is a low level of expression of 3HSD/4,5-isomerase type 2 and CYP21 mRNAs and enzyme activities.
Abundant DHEA sulfotransferase activity is found.
There is a relative increase in 17,20-lyase vs 17-hydroxylase activity of CYP17, the enzyme that catalyzes both activities. These characteristics are shared by the fetal zone of the fetal adrenal cortex.
There is expression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens, which are not expressed in the fetal zone of the fetal adrenal cortex.
John E. Buster, in, 1984
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Treating Hormone Imbalances By Restoring Balance
Theres really no need to rely on DHEA to treat your symptoms.
Testosterone or estrogen can be supplemented directly, producing better and faster relief from the symptoms that youre feeling.
In some cases, this can be done by treating a medical cause of the hormone imbalance.
In other cases, there is no cure, and hormones need to be introduced from outside the body through Hormone Replacement Therapy to bring hormone levels back to normal.
Generally, its not a single hormone thats problematic DHEA is no exception to this pattern.
If any of your hormone levels are too high or too low in relation to the others, you will likely experience symptoms.
The goal of any hormone replacement therapy should be to restore balance among all your hormones.
Thats why we want to look carefully at what your body is doing.
Its important to determine as definitively as possible whether youre experiencing low or high DHEA symptoms, or if your symptoms are caused by another hormone being out of balance.
Then, we can make suggestions for treatment based off of those initial tests.
Finally, we want to see how your body reacts, to monitor any changes in your health, and then to decide if more of one hormone or less of another is the direction to move.
Low Or High Dhea: Possible Symptoms
The following symptoms that are possibly linked to low DHEA:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Heart disease
- Low bone density
Many of these same symptoms occur from low testosterone or low estrogen one reason the issue of low DHEA is so clouded.
Many of the symptoms of high levels of DHEA look very similar to high levels of testosterone in females, or even high levels of estrogen.
Here are some of the symptoms of high DHEA levels:
- Hair loss
High DHEA levels can be a very serious indicator of deeper problems:
- High DHEA levels in females are often associated with PCOS
- High DHEA levels in females also may indicate an adrenal gland tumor or overactive adrenal glands
- High DHEA levels in females also seem to be associated with Cushings syndrome
The question of whether DHEA levels are causing your symptoms is complicated because DHEA is a precursor hormone .
That means DHEA generally doesnt stay as DHEA in your body, but rather transforms into other hormones testosterone and estrogen.
In actuality, DHEA may be converting into imbalanced amounts of one of these sex hormones too much or too little estrogen or testosterone could result in imbalances and symptoms.
In other words, the actual source of the problem likely is not too much or too little of the root hormone DHEA.
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Special Precautions & Warnings
Pregnancy and breast-feedingPOSSIBLY UNSAFE
Diabetes: DHEA can affect how insulin works in the body. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully if you are taking DHEA.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: DHEA is a hormone that can affect how estrogen works in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use DHEA.
High cholesterol: DHEA might lower “good cholesterol” . If your HDL level is already too low, discuss DHEA with your healthcare provider before you start taking it.
Liver problems: DHEA might make liver problems worse. Don’t use DHEA if you have liver problems.
Depression and mood disorders: There is some concern that patients with a history of depression and bipolar disorder might have some mental side effects if they use DHEA. DHEA can cause mania , irritability, and sexual inappropriateness in people with mood disorders. If you have a mood disorder, be sure to discuss DHEA with your healthcare provider before you start taking it. Also, pay attention to any changes in how you feel.
Polycystic ovary syndrome : Taking DHEA might make this condition worse. Don’t use DHEA if you have PCOS.
What Causes Low Dhea
Although DHEA levels decline naturally with age, they may also be lowered by conditions such as:
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Chronic Inflammation Decoded
- Autoimmune diseases such Addisons disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic stress
Unfortunately, some of the medications used to treat symptoms of these illnesses can also deplete DHEA in the body. These drugs include:
- Corticosteroids, including dexamethasone , methylprednisolone , and hydrocortisone
- Pain medications, including opiates and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen
Do not, however, attempt to adjust the dosage of your medication on your own. If your DHEA is low, your doctor will suggest the best way to remedy the problem.
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Clinical Utility Of Neurosteroids
Since the discovery of neurosteroids in the early 80s, significant efforts have been poured into studying the role they play in brain-related disorders. Gleaning insight into the mechanisms that underlie neurosteroid involvement in mood pathologies may extend their clinical utility to treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, alcoholism, sleep disorders, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative disorders and many others . Specifically for DHEA, it has been exciting to see the evolution of knowledge regarding this molecules behavior in the brain. Overall, DHEA is well-poised in clinical development for its therapeutic potential in helping the aging brain retain its regenerative capacity.
Causes And Symptoms Of Low Dhea Levels
DHEA levels reduce with increasing age. The level of the hormone is at its highest when one is in his 20s. After the age of 30 years, the level starts to decline. By 40 years, your body produces half of the hormone that it used to. By 65 years, production drops to 20 % of the optimum.
Principal causes are: a poor, denatured diet, lacking in nutrition. Stress and emotional upheavals are significant causes as well.
Low DHEA Symptoms
- Less muscle and bone mass.
- Joint pains.
- Reduced alertness and reduced thinking ability.
- Difficulty in losing weight.
- Sleep disorders.
- The immune system fails to function optimally as well. Consequently, you are more vulnerable to various infections.