Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by gapsych, May 10, 2010.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    When is DHEA Supplementation Beneficial?
    The Non-prescription Adrenal Hormone Treatment
    Share Article | Aug 26, 2009 Jim Lowrance

    With some adrenal insufficient states, it is the DHEA hormone that is deficient but under what conditions is it safe to replace the low hormone via supplementation?

    DHEA is an essential adrenal hormone that carries out a number of important purposes in the body. The hormone can become low due to certain types of disease processes, such as autoimmune, inflammatory and chronic health disorders but also decreases in the body with age. Levels of DHEA can drop below normal values or remain in a low-normal state, which may require hormone replacement therapy. When DHEA is supplemented when it is not needed, it can cause adverse effects in the body.

    What is DHEA?
    The full medical name for this hormone is “dehydroepiandrosterone” and is a hormone that is endogenous, meaning it is made in the human body, even though it can be supplied to the body from an outside source. Being the most abundant adrenal hormone in the body, it is manufactured by the adrenal glands and afterward is converted into other essential hormones, as they are needed. It is also referred to as a steroid but because it undergoes a synthesizing process in the brain, it is also called a neurosteroid.

    DHEA is available over-the-counter in supplement form and most brands are made from extracts derived from wild Mexican yams. Claims by some medical sources and by research done by firms that manufacture DHEA supplements, the hormone can increase positive mood, sex drive, immune system function and energy levels when supplemented. It is important to add that these benefits would only be realized if supplementation with the hormone is done so at the dose needed and at a level that does not adversely affect sex hormone balance.

    Precurser to Sex Hormones
    A major function of DHEA is converting into sex hormones for both males and females. All sex hormones are common to both sexes but in different balance for each gender. The male hormones DHEA converts into are referred to as androgens and the female hormones it converts into are referred to as estrogens. Because of the hormone being available to convert into these other hormones this also places it in the category of being a “precursor hormone”, meaning it is on stand-by to convert as needed.

    Hyperandrogenism in Men and Women
    It is important that DHEA levels are in proper balance in women, due to the risk of too many male hormones being produced through conversion if levels become too high. The term for too much male hormone production is “hyperandrogenism” and can result in a condition called hirsutism in women, in which there is excessive growth of body hair. Other symptoms of hyperandrogenism in women can include acne, increased muscle growth, a change in sex drive, decreased breast size and a deeper tone to the voice. Some medical sources state that about 10% of the female population is experiencing some degree of hirsutism from hyperandrogenism.

    A major cause of hyperandrogenism in women is “polycystic ovary syndrome” (PECOS) in which the ovaries cause an excessive amount of androgens to be produced. It can also be caused by overproduction of DHEA from the adrenal glands, from over-supplementing with DHEA or from taking doses of the hormone when it is not needed.

    Hyperandrogenism can also occur in males but symptoms and manifestations of the condition are less noticeable in adult males. When symptoms do occur, they can include male pattern baldness (alopecia), acne, abnormally high testosterone levels, changes in sex drive and irritability. In pre-teen males, hyperandrogenism can cause early onset and an abnormal increase in the advancement of puberty.

    Testing Before Supplementing
    With the risk of inducing hyperandrogenism from supplementing with DHEA when there is not a need for it, this points to the great importance in first testing the hormone’s level before attempting to increase it in the body. Adrenal hormone testing usually includes both the DHEA and cortisol levels because these hormones interact with each other, creating a ratio between them. According to some medical sources, DHEA can suppress cortisol levels and vise-versa and supplementing one may also require supplementing the other to keep the ratio balanced.

    Opinions vary as to what a safe supplemented amount of DHEA would be. Some sources state that up to 25mg in females and up to 50mg in males is a safe dose however, this would not be the case if DHEA levels are already at proper-normal, high-normal or flagged-high. Supplementation added at these levels, could cause adverse side effects as previously described and demonstrates the importance in testing adrenal and sex hormone levels before considering supplementation.

    A patient can test hormone levels and supplement with DHEA on his own if levels are low but should do so with extreme caution, making sure to retest the hormone levels at regular intervals to monitor the treatment. The better and safer scenario would be to have a treating doctor order saliva and/or blood-serum adrenal and sex hormone tests, to assure that DHEA supplementation is safe for a patient and so that he can determine the proper dosage needed.

    Read more at Suite101: When is DHEA Supplementation Beneficial?: The Non-prescription Adrenal Hormone Treatment http://endocrine-disorders.suite101.com/article.cfm/when_is_dhea_supplementation_beneficial#ixzz0na0RQm7P
  2. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    This is called n=1 or "I am the world" :>)

  3. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    they are actually two steps removed from DHEA.....the yams are a source of pregnenelone, and pregnenelone gets converted in the body to DHEA and other hormones, depending on which ones the body deems are needed the most

    I am all for natural treatments, but trying to say that eating wild yams is nearly the same as taking DHEA is irresponsible....not only is it two steps away, but the concentration is very much lower

    DHEA is a hormone and hormones are really powerful things - if you are low in them, then replacing them MAY be helpful, but they are not something to take lightly and play around with

    and I have read a lot about DHEA from various sources, talked to my integrative doc who specializes in both hormones and CFS, and do feel that there is definitely a risk with taking it.....even so, I tried it because many of my hormone levels inc DHEA are extremely low.....my body did not react well to it at all, and my doctor told me to stop taking it immediately

    it is great that some people can benefit from taking DHEA, but there is a big difference between suggesting that people look into it and pushing it on people repeatedly as completely safe and practically miraculous (esp when it may not be for many people & esp when one of the potential risks is to the heart and CFS patients already have high rates of cardiac issues)
    [This Message was Edited on 05/10/2010]
  4. loto

    loto Member

    What do you mean by your reply? I'm lost. LOL

  5. wendysj

    wendysj New Member

    Hi Jaminhealth,

    In the past, you've come across very pushy when it comes to supplements. I wish you could read the information Gap and Aussie post as informational only - no emotions. There is nothing wrong with them presenting the facts on one side of an issue. If you wish to post the facts for the opposing side, that would be appreciated by those who also wish to know those facts.

    Also, you have posted many, many times your personal doubts regarding your FM diagnosis. What is the harm in Aussie bringing those facts up now? I have posted some things regarding the FM/CFS and RA of mine and you advised me to take GSE... I hope you see how insulting that is to me (and others).

  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    The Three Rules of Debate.

    Rule One: Argue the facts if weak on emotion.

    Rule Two: Argue emotion if weak on the facts.

    Rule Three: If weak on facts AND emotion, insult your opponent.

    We are grownups. We have more in common than not. We are dealing with DDs, which makes it easy to lash out when not feeling well. I think we have all been guilty of that. Been there, done that. Sometimes keeping that in mind puts things in perspective. Not all the time but it may help.

    We can disagree with a person appropriately and that may be all it means. Disagreeing about information does not necessarily mean we are dissing someone. We all have our passionate issues. It doesn't mean we are not being supportive. It may just mean we see things differently.

    I like learning new things. I take the information I want and go from there.

    We have to try not to let people push out buttons and that is easier said than done. Don't stoop to other's level.

    Reality is 90% perception.

    Can someone tell a joke? It might break up the tension?

    There was a priest, a minister and a rabbi............, :>)


    ETA I remembeer Rafiki saying that they would have knock down, drag out fights on the Buddist board. Maybe it is the nature of boards.

    Where, where is our dear Rafiki? I hope she is okay.

    [This Message was Edited on 05/11/2010]
  7. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    ProHealth got caught selling a product that contained DHEA to Canadians, and now all packages from ProHealth are automatically flagged to be opened by Canada Customs before they are forwarded to the recipient. I never receive a package from PH that hasn't been opened and resealed with Canada Customs tape.

  8. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    Thanks for the link, Jean. I wasn't sure what Gap was referring to either. I had to laugh as there were a few of them we could apply to this message board.


    Example: I’m correct because I’m smarter than you. And I must be smarter than you because I’m correct.


    Example: I always get hives immediately after eating strawberries. But without a scientifically controlled experiment, it’s not reliable data. So I continue to eat strawberries every day, since I can’t tell if they cause hives.

    Take care :)
  9. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    n=1 means there is only one participant.

    Thanks Jean!!


    ETA I think any package with medicine/vitamins and I am sure a host of other things(like a box labled cocaine?) I can not think of at the moment, are automatically opened by customs. Am I correct? [This Message was Edited on 05/11/2010]
  10. paulac7

    paulac7 Member

    **And yet will continue to buy and use dangerous cigs as an example. Talk about killing people and yet all legal for everyone. Talk about the expense and diseases caused by the cigs.**

    What do cigarettes have to do with hormones, may I ask?? I think this is just a smoke-screen tactic that I have seen you use quite often to confuse the issue, when you start getting legitimate info that does NOT agree with YOUR personal beliefs...............

    Now maybe if I 'smoked' some grape leaves (or what I could extract out of them), my hormones would be in better balance, and I could make some sense of this thread.

  11. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    My understanding is that DHEA is almost impossible to get here in Canada, even with a prescription. It has to be approved by Health Canada before a pharmacy can fill it. Most prescriptions are turned down.
  12. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    The only time my packages are ever opened by customs is when I purchase from ProHealth. They don't open anything from Life Extension Foundation or Holistic Health.
  13. paulac7

    paulac7 Member

    You almost made me fall out of my chair laughing my a$$ off!!! I LOVE the phraseology definitions you have posted--Especially the one that you posted in reference to me--Hot tea *hurts* when it comes snorting out your nose...........Your brain fog is DEFINITELY better due to your Big Pharma drugs--you go, girl!!

    Jam--as to 'showing up' only occasionally--I prefer my posts to be of 'quality' rather than 'quantity', of the latter qualification, I will admit, I am sorely lacking, as opposed to some......I only post when I feel I have something to contribute, and not just the same old, same old, that anyone could find on PH with a 2-second 'search'

    And as to your charge of 'when paulac's attack'--I plead NOT GUILTY-- see my post to Gap regarding sleep apnea, not once but a few times, and I just posted to another member on my method of sorting out info re: dr appts and how to navigate the whole med/supp maze. Dreamland high on nicotine?? OH PLEASE...................

    Again, lets not throw stones when we live in glass houses.......

    This thread has turned into right good entertainment!

    What would you classify this as, Aussie?? LOL


  14. Bunchy

    Bunchy New Member

    With respect, "aches and pains" is belittling Fibromyalgia. FM is hugely more than that.

    It's people that say they have "aches and pains" and say they have FM that cause doctors to be so sceptical and not take people like me and many others who suffer incredible pain, fatigue and many other serious symptoms seriously.

    On a positive note, I think supplements can be helpful but as with conventional drugs, we need to be careful and research thoroughly side effects as with conventional meds.

    I have to say without conventional meds I would be either dead, have committed suicide from the intolerable symptoms I had and/or completely bedridden and housebound.

    Alternative meds have helped a little also but I know I would rather be without them than my conventional meds that keep me feeling more or less human most of the time.

    Please don't take this as an attack - I enjoy discussion and debate - however I worry that doctors/medical professionals who may read this board and see posts like yours describing aches and pains as FM may do harm to our cause (I live in the UK so you may know how tough things are for people here with these DD's).


    Bunchy x
  15. Bunchy

    Bunchy New Member

    I understand you want to help and inform people about what works for you but on the other hand you say you "have never been sick" so why post on the message board then?

    This board is for sick people who often have nowhere else to turn.

    I do agree the spectrum of illness varies hugely but did you have FM diagnosed using the correct tender point testing?

    I'd be interested to know what symptoms you suffer so I can get an idea of where you are coming from.

    Good night.

    Love Bunchy x

  16. bigmama2

    bigmama2 New Member

  17. Bunchy

    Bunchy New Member

    Please translate ...LOL!

    Love bunchy x
  18. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    One would get the impression that you don't touch any drugs from BIG Pharma when you state "And perhaps some of the meds many take make things worse. I took no meds from the very beginning and I know I've read from others who take no meds here." However, you have stated many times over (including this thread) that you take a very high dose of Armour thyroid (a prescription drug), you were recently on LDN and only stopped taking it because of side-effects (a prescription drug) and that you take an anxiety med each night for sleep (yet another prescription drug).

    As much as you like to put down BIG Pharma and tell us how dangerous their products are, you take pharmacutical drugs from BIG Pharma!
  19. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    Terram cum ridiculo imbuimus.

    Diabolus me facibant id agere.
  20. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. None of us do. You are entitled to your opinion.

    The more one tries to defend themselves the more defensive one sounds. It took me a long time to figure that one out.

    We are all not well, just different degrees and that includes you.

    Just realize we all have different opinions and we probably aren't going to change anyone's mind no matter how many posts.

    I am asking everyone to please take a deep breath and stop the name calling. Is it worth it?

    Argue the facts.
    [This Message was Edited on 05/11/2010]