Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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DHEA

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by heapsreal, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    DHEA has been an enigma to the public and to most physicians. I never once heard about this hormone in four years of medical school, seven years of residency or in any endocrinology lecture I heard in my training. This is why when I mention it to my patients, I am not surprised that they have never heard about it. The general public did not learn about DHEA until 1996, when its benefits were mentioned in the media and several popular books that showed up on daytime TV shows. Most in mainstream medicine continued to ignore the science these books contained because they were not found in the usual ways via journals and continuing education classes. You actually had to be on the lookout for this information if you wanted to help your patients directly. With a busy medical practice this is no easy task, to be sure. DHEA became credible to the medical establishment when the New York Academy of Sciences published a book called DHEA and Aging. That book provided scientific validation for the many life-extending effects of DHEA.
    DHEA Hormone Review:
    DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It’s a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen in the body, although it may play other physiological roles as well. In post menopausal women, the only way they make sex steroid hormones is from adrenal enzymes and the aromatase enzyme in fat cells. There are many studies of oral and IV routes that have given us all conflicting reports of efficacy. Topical DHEA use may be another story for women, however. Recent studies have demonstrated that intra-vaginal application of DHEA cream could alleviate age and menopause-associated vaginal atrophy. It also can improve sexual function without altering serum hormone levels significantly, and is the most potent way to stimulate sleep when some one is sleep deprived because of its effects on the IL- 6 cytokine.
    In 2012, even modern healthcare is beginning to realize that chronic inflammation is linked to just about every neolithic and aging disease known to mankind. Both of these disease processes have rising inflammatory cytokines as the main causes of their progression. These chemicals are destructive to cell membrane signaling, cellular nuclear processessing signaling, and cytosolic signaling. They have particularly devastating affects on the steroid hormone receptors and the receptors of both arms of the immune system. These errors in signaling lead to disease progression. Some examples of these cytokines are TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL1b, and LTB4 on the inflammatory cascade. We have known from Cutolo’s 2000 study that most adrenal hormones (like DHEA) are very low prior development of the full blown disease. This is true in all autoimmine diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis.
    DHEA has been shown to prevent chronic inflammation and it slows the abberant signaling that is commonly found in the immune system when it is turned on by any pathogen, self or foreign. DHEA is particularly helpful in limiting IL-6 and TNF alpha in both disease propagation and in normal human aging.
    DHEA has been shown to have dramatic affects on those infected with serious viral illness like HIV and Hepatitis C. Part of the reason for this affect is because in both of these diseases we see a loss of Type 1 cytokines from cell mediated immunity (gamma Interferon and IL-2) and an excess of Type 2 cytokines like IL-6. This steep rise in Il-6 is fought back by the available DHEA until its production falls and causes dramatic rises in cortisol. The drugs used to treat both conditions are called protease inhibitors and when they are used in either disease DHEA levels dramatically rise to help stimulate the immune system. Many physicians are completely unaware of the the effects of the hormone on immunity.
    In my practice as a neurosurgeon, I use DHEA replacement often in post trauma cases or post brain tumor cases to improve cognitive function and memory. Replacement of proper DHEA levels actually improves EEG recordings in these patients. A study done at UCSD by Dr. S.S.C. Yen showed the remarkable effect of a low dose of DHEA (50 mgs a day for 6 months) restoring DHEA levels in men and women while dramatically improving their perceived physical and psychological well being for both sexes. I have found in many trauma and brain tumor cases that DHEA was the easiest way to elevate IGF 1 levels to improve growth hormone secretion without expensive replacement. When IGF 1 levels are in the upper quartile, we see massive improvements in lean muscle mass, decreased abdominal fat, improved immune function, and improvement of cognition and memory.
    DHEA also improves cardiac function and atherosclerosis. You can review the 1996 journal article Drugs and Aging by Dr. Watson that correlated low DHEA with several human cancers, loss of sleep, decreased sense of well being, and increased feeling of death. DHEA also improved bone cell function, lymphocyte function, improved cardiac function, and helped T2D as well. The study also reported no toxic doses when used to restore humans back to youthful levels and production. The study appeared to show a link between low DHEA and all diseases of aging in humans, poignant because the neolithic disease we are seeing today are occurring earlier– DHEA levels may be a very earlier marker for poor metabolic functioning of many systems. This study caught my eye years ago, inspiring me to test DHEA levels to help me assess patients when I work them up in my clinic.
    DHEA is abundant in the human brain, which manufactures it in high quantities. DHEA levels are a great clinical proxy for depression. The DHEA levels in many of our troops returning from the Middle East’s wars are horrendous when tested. It is no wonder we are seeing a massive spike up in PTSD and suicide in these troops–they are the first generation of soldiers feed an exclusively neolithic diet their entire lives before combat. Their risks would be expected to be the highest because they likely had the highest cortisol and lowest DHEA levels before entering the theatre of combat. DHEA and cortisol are the two most common hormones linked to depression in most studies who look at hormones and these diseases (Goodyear et al 1996, and Barrett-Connor in 1999).

    http://jackkruse.com/hormone-cpc-1-dhea/ more info in the link. cfs not directly mentioned but dhea's effects on cytokines and immune system will be of interest to cfsers.

    cheers!!!
     
    Radio and SanDiego#1 like this.
  2. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    I take 7 Keto DHEA every day. :)
     
  3. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    My dhea is low but everytime I try to take dhea the hair on my face thickens and I start growing a beard.
    It's not quite the look I'm going for. lol .. I took 7 keto for a couple of years and didn't notice anything good or bad.
    I still got food poisoning 3 times last year. And I caught h pylori and parasites. And I'm just as tired.

    Most of my neuro symptoms
    were relieved via the paleo diet a few years ago. It would he nice if just one of the supplements I've bought
    in the last 7 years cured my me/cfs.. Tc .. X
     
  4. SaraM

    SaraM Senior Member

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    Dhea is the only thing that helps me with POTS, and dizziness, but as Xchoco said my facial hair thickens. My Dhea is low, and I only need 5-10 mg a day. My limbs are not cold any more if I use it regularly.
     
  5. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Sarah, have you tried 7 keto DHEA?
     
  6. adreno

    adreno PR activist

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    DHEA really helps my symptoms, but I also get side effects on relatively low doses like 5-10mg. I get acne and scalp tingling (which is presumably a precursor to hair loss). I suspect this is due to too much testosterone being converted to DHT. I will try saw palmetto, but I'm skeptical it is strong enough to keep the side effects of DHEA under control.
     
  7. SaraM

    SaraM Senior Member

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    Sally, I have not tried 7 Keto Dhea, but I think I should do it soon, although it is expensive. I am also experiencing acne and hair loss . Saw palmetto did not prevent the side effects. I used Spironolactone for high DHT for a year when I was in my 20's and I was really happy with the results. I still have a few boxes of Spiro, but am a bit worried about the side effects.
     
  8. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    I have not hear of any side effects with 7 Keto. Very diff. than reg. DHEA.
     
  9. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    i remember reading that keto dhea has more of an effect on thyroid then normal dhea??
     
  10. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Yes, that is one reason my doc has me taking it.
     
  11. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    There is mounting evidence that MLVs are involved in the pathology of some me/cfs patients, despite the contamination papers. DHEA is a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the androgen and estrogen sex steroids. Androgen is definitely implicated in the upramping of MLVs. So although DHEA may provide some short-term relief, in the long term it may be quite harmful.
     
  12. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    7 Keto is a good alternative
     
  13. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Theres alot of conflicting info, benefits of dhea for us is its anti-inflammatory effects against cytokines implicated in worsening cfs especially IL6 which causes sleep problems, thats enough to destroy our immune system. also evidence that dhea improves immune function, so have a low dhea levels itself is going to lower our immunity making us more prone to other infections etc etc

    I think if dhea was such a problem then we could use drugs to lower our dhea and other hormones and we would improve, but i just dont think this is the case???

    I think if one supplements hormones to get our levels from low to a normal range then this is could for us. Supplementing and increasing levels above normal i would think would then increase our risks of other issues. I dont think its a matter of all or none but getting the right balance.

    I think MLV's is abit wishy washy at the moment especially with ritux studies improving cfs patients and evidence that herpes virus are hidding out in these b-cells . at the end of the day we just dont know???

    cheers!!!
     
    Sallysblooms likes this.
  14. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Yes, balance is imporant and a good doctor can help. I get my levels checked. Hormone balance is important. Great for sleep too.
     
  15. SanDiego#1

    SanDiego#1 SanDiego#1

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    Great article on DHEA- I have used for the last 2 years and can tell an enormous improvement in my energy.
    I take in low dose of 5-10 mg. I have CFS and POTS. It definitely helps with depression and dizziness.
    I am also on Immune Globulin 3 cc IM twice weekly and Hydroxycobalamin daily sub-q. Mag/Taurine sub-q daily
    Not familiar with the other DHEA supplement recommended by Posters..I have had CFS for 20 years..
     
  16. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I think dhea has helped me to handle stress better. Of late i have added pregnenolone which i could only tolerate in very small doses but now can use higher doses like 50mg without getting overstimulated. Im also going to start slowly increasing my dhea dose from 25mg to 50mg. I think when one is very low in adrenal hormones, we can over react to 'normal' doses, so we need to start very low and take it from there. I also think we need good dhea levels before we try to increase our cortisol levels if there low, dhea helps balance out the bad points of cortisol. my reason for using pregnenolone again is to increase cortisol levels and im handling them better because my dhea levels have gone up.
     
  17. adreno

    adreno PR activist

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    Heaps, how do you know that pregnenolone converts to cortisol in you? And if it raises cortisol levels, why not DHEA levels as well? I am wondering whether we can increase DHEA levels using preg. But the problem is that we have no control over the conversion process. Most of the preg might even not be converted to anything.

    7-keto is not really an option as I see it. True, it doesn't convert to test or estrogen, but it also does not have the benefits of DHEA. It doesn't raise DHEA or DHEA-S levels, which is what we want. It's a metabolite of DHEA, and mainly a fat burner.
     
  18. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I had testing before and after using pregnenolone, i was hoping it would raise my cortisol and dhea levels but only increased cortisol and what i thought was strange is it increased testosterone without any effect on dhea. I have since read that there is a pathway from progesterone to testosterone which might be how this occurred.
    I think its a matter of trying it and getting tested to see what hormones it effects. Reading up on what pregnenolone affects was different to what i experienced, so we just dont know which way it go's unless testing.
     
  19. SanDiego#1

    SanDiego#1 SanDiego#1

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    My CFS Physician is trying to slow down my metabolic rate as I was just diagnosed with Diastolic Dysfunction. Would the Pregnenolone speed it up? I also have just started on an Adrenal supplement INNATE Adrenal Response. I am down to 1/2 tab on this as it makes me really jittery.Thanks Heaps-This is the most informative website I have been on for this Disease.
     
  20. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I'm probably missing some key pieces here but I'm confused as to why slowing down your metabolic rate would help with diastolic dysfunction? Maybe your heart wouldn't beat as frequently in the present but that approach would seem to make you even sicker in the long run? You don't have to explain this to me at all so long as you feel comfortable with your treatment plan and long term goals.

    You're not taking any statins, are you? Statins are well known to contribute to diastolic dysfunction (as well as pain and other symptoms).


    I am not a fan of what I refer to as "kitchen-sink" adrenal formulas. It's like the company got together every single herbal ingredient that has ever been shown to affect adrenals and threw it all together without much thought about anything other than profit.

    It's what most everyone (myself included) gets started on and it rarely ever seems to help any but those with the very mildest adrenal issues.

    For example, the Innate formula contains the following:
    SOURCE; FOODSTATE® AMOUNT
    Sensoril ®*** (Ashwaganda Root) - adaptogen, can lower or raise cortisol, may help with thyroid as well
    (Withania somnifera) 200 mg
    Rhodiola extract (Rhodiola rosea) - adaptogen, can lower or raise cortisol
    10:1 (1% rosavins) 200 mg
    Astragalus Root - adaptogen, can lower or raise cortisol
    (Astragalus membranaceus) 4:1 150 mg
    American Ginseng Root -- stimulating to adrenals; produce more cortisol
    (Panax quinquefolius) 4:1 100 mg
    Sacred Basil (Ocimum sanctum) 10:1 100 mg - reduces cortisol powerfully, lowers cortisol levels
    Schizandra Berry (Schisandra chinensis) 4:1 100 mg - adaptogen, can lower or raise cortisol

    ADDITIONAL FOODS & EXTRACTS
    Indian Gooseberry, Amla 5:1 100 mg - reduces cortisol
    Seaweed-Laminaria digitata, and - I can only presume this is included for iodine/thyroid function though iodine may actually provoke autoimmune attacks in those with Hashimoto's (the most common type of thyroid disease)
    Ascophyllum nodosum 45 mg - Kelp is likely also included for iodine.

    No wonder your body is confused! Herbs to stimulate cortisol, reduce cortisol and provoke your thyroid. I'm confused just reading the formula. Unfortunately it is typical.

    If you have low cortisol, why would you want to take a formula that contains an ingredient that will further lower it? If you have high cortisol, why would you want to take an ingredient that will raise it (all while the adaptogens cancel everything out??)?

    This is not to say those ingredients are bad, per se. Just how do you know what is doing what?

    Have you had a saliva cortisol test to see what your levels actually are doing throughout the day?
     

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