DHEA hair loss dosage, danger, risk, hair falling out or thinning – Dosage 5 mg, 10, 25, 50, and 100 mg, information and medical use
February 11 2016
Hair loss and thinning, regrowth
My doctor told me I had low DHEA levels and said I should take 25mgs which I did for about a week. After about 5 days my hair started to suddenly fall out, big long strands of it! I stopped immediately and went back to my doc who said it could not be caused by it. He’s checking blood levels (I’m hypothyroid – on meds but doing fine for 6 months with no adverse effects). I’m convinced now that the DHEA triggered the hair loss which has not subsided. How long before the hair loss stops? Is there anything I can do or take to help stop the hair loss?
It may take several days or weeks. Finasteride could potentially be helpful when used temporarily.
Dosage and dose
DHEA dosage needs to be individualized to each person’s needs. This is based on regular evaluations of a basic physical exam, including blood pressure, heart rate, examination of hair and skin, evaluation of routine blood studies, and monitoring of mood, sleep patterns, energy levels, and motivation. Women need to have regular breast exams and Pap tests. Men need to have their prostate exam. Although blood or saliva DHEA levels are important to monitor, in the end, the important point to keep in mind is what kind of influence DHEA or other hormones are having on our brain, organs and tissues. Having said all this, it’s best, until more research is done, to stay on very low DHEA dosage such 1 to 5 mg. Most people are overdosing. It’s possible that taking too much of these hormones could actually shorten lifespan. DHEA and pregnenolone are not like vitamin C. More is not necessarily better. There’s a smaller range to play with. We get neasy when we hear of physicians prescribing 25 or 50 mg a day to their patients.
Inquiry: I have an excellent Endocrinologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London after having my right Adrenal Gland completely removed because of a Tumour the size of a chickens egg on the Cortex. Pathology found this to be a Neoplasm from no particular source ,encapsulated, with one or two small clear cells in the center …deemed this to be benign with a potential to turn malignant …successfully removed by Keyhole surgery. My problem is that I am really not too well at all … my consultant ran some lab tests and I have a low virtually none existent Dhea-sulphate level … as 20 years ago while on HRT I had 2 x P E he wasn`t keen on HRT …so we discussed DHEA supplements and advised me to try 25mg one daily of DHEA supplement .. ..as it is not available in the U K and has to come from USA Labs, he recommend the dhea dot com web site ..but after e-mailing them to enquire about purity and consistency of capsule strength *Jason * e-mailed me back to say they would not sell this to me as they found customers who asked * questions* always turned out to be bothersome and advised me to go and buy my DHEA elsewhere…I tried to find an executive of McPherson’s Labs USA but everything seemed to come back to *Jason* which I found strange. I bought Eurovital DHEA 25mg from Biovea capsules for a 1 daily 6 months supply, I have not taken this as I cannot seem to get any advice from them either ..Biovea tell me that if it states Biovea on the bottle then that is what is in each capsule…when I look for Eurovital I find a registration somewhere in the Philippines?
DHEA is converted in the body to androgens such as testosterone and estrogens, thus influencing practically every organ and tissue in the body, including the brain. However, its physiological role has been studied for over two decades and still eludes final clarification. See hormone testing.
Over the counter, available online and health food stores without a prescription
In the body, DHEA is made from pregnenolone. Both are available as supplements, and another one called 7 Keto. A natural hormone that used to be available over the counter but was pulled off the market and now only available by prescription is androstenedione.
What is better, oral or topical DHEA? I’ve read that oral DHEA basically gets stopped by the liver and you don’t get hardly any benefit at all from oral DHEA.
It’s difficult to say since long term studies have not been done comparing the two forms.
High dosages of pregnenolone and DHEA, generally more than 10 mg, cause heart palpitations and irregular beats in some users. The highest dose of these hormones sold over the counter should be no more than 5 mg, even though they are often available at 10, 25, 50, and even at 100 mg. These hormones are much more powerful that people realize. Just because they are available over the counter does not mean they have been proven to be completely safe. The Oct 10, 1998 issue of the respected medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine published a letter to the editor regarding DHEA and cardiac arrhythmias. In clinical practice we have noticed rare instances of skipped heart beats or heart rhythm irregularities on high dose of DHEA. See also information about progesterone.
Email from patient
I read and appreciate Dr. Ray Sahelian’s website. It’s given me some idea of what I’m now experiencing after taking DHEA. About four weeks ago I used a DHEA cream I purchased over-the-counter and began using 50 mg/day for about four days. I felt agitation and stopped it. Then my naturopath prescribed a DHEA cream for scrotal application, and I used it once 25 mg and I took a half dose12 mg the next day. The following day II began to have heart palpitations within hours of the second dose. I’m continuing to have side effects 4 days later. I am wondering how long these side-effects might last. I realize you cannot know in my case, but I’m just wondering what you might have observed in others.
What about long term risks? Feedback loop
The longest human trials with DHEA have rarely been over one year, and no significant health concerns have been noted. However, we do not have studies available that indicate what effect DHEA has when taken for several years without breaks. The long term effect of DHEA on breast, prostate, liver and other organs and tissues is not known. It is not clear at this time whether DHEA supplements enhance the formation of tumors or protect cancers from developing. These influences may perhaps vary depending on the dosage used.
In 1998 I read a book by Dr. Ray Sahelian and he wrote, “DHEA is an exception to this rule” (talking about a feedback loop). “Preliminary studies do not seem to indicate a feedback mechanism for thishormone.” My question is, at this time, has this held up? Can DHEA be taken on a regular basis without shouting down body production?
Yes, it seems there is no feedback loop, however there are risks to long term use.
What about DHEA side effects? risk and danger, hair loss thinning of scalp hair, baldness, hair falling out
Individuals who take high doses are likely get side effects the most visible being hair loss, thinning of scalp hair, baldness, and skin eruptions such as acne. DHEA is a danger if used inappropriately. Common side effects caused by high doses include acne, increased sweat odor and scalp itching, menstrual irregularities, irritability, and restlessness. Androgenic hormones, such as DHEA, testosterone and androstenedione can cause hair loss in susceptible individuals. DHEA is likely to raise levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the hair follicles. Too much DHT will lead to scalp hair loss in some individuals. DHEA has not been tested in combination with other medicines, therefore little is known about drug / hormone interactions.
I have been taking two 25 MG capsules of DHEA for a total of 50mg daily for the past two months. Recently I developed some problems like higher blood pressure, chest pain, a couple of incidents of high pulse rate on the treadmill etc. After this, I have reduced my intake to taking One 25mg capsule per WEEK, which is an average of 3.5 mg per day and would seem to include the “cycleing” as it’s one on, 6 off. Does this seem to be appropriate?
There is no right answer as to the exact dosage that is required or helpful, but, as a general rule, one should take the least amount that provides benefits.
Q. About four years ago during a prolonged and physically difficult experience of menopausal symptoms I consulted with a very reputable Boston endocrinologist regarding my hormones. He concluded on the basis of blood work that my DHEA level was abnormally low, putting me at risk of several major complictions including stroke and heart attack. His recommendation was that I take 50mg of DHEA which of course I did and come for blood checks every 3 months…which I also did. Within two days I felt appreciably better than I had felt in several years. It felt like a miracle cure. Time marched on and my hair began falling out. The good doctor, who I learned had more than a doctor/patient interest in DHEA (he was publishing papers on DHEA and presenting his observations at conferences) denied any causal relationship between the DHEA and my hair loss and recommended that I use the over-the-counter hair loss topical medication for male pattern baldness. But I knew something wasn’t right. I returned to the Doctor and discussed with him the possibility that the hair loss which continued at an alarming rate, might be due to hypothyroidism. He dismissed this idea. At last I sought a second opinion and blood test and found out I was mildly hypothyroid. Of course I assumed that was the explanation for the hair loss. It was recommended by the consutling physician that I let some time pass before taking thyroid supplementation which I did as I watched even more hair fall out (thank goodness we have soooo much hair!!). And finally, frustrated with the second Doctor who was no more helpful than the first though less harmful, I went to a third endocyrnologist who unequivocably indicted the DHEA in the matter of the hair loss. So—unwilling to put myself at risk of an ‘abnormally’ low DHEA yet not wishing to loose all my hair, I cut the DHEA dosage back to 10mg daily. Regretably my third doctor has left Boston for another arena without referring his patients to another competent physician. And I am not feeling well. I have recently developed bouts of anxiousness, fatigue, perspiration, clamminess and very slight tingling, no shortness of breath or pain. I am not sure if this is related to lack of or too much.
Testimonial: I am a 47 year old male that has taken Propecia for over 10 years. I started taking 10 mg of Dhea on Jan 1st 2014. By late February I had lost close to half the hair on the too of my head. I quit taking it March 1, 2014. I have not seen regrowth yet and my hair has turned very fine all over my scalp.
Where does it come from?
DHEA supplements are made commercially from a plant of the Dioscorea family [wild yams] found in abundance in Mexico. Extracts of this plant contain a steroidal saponin called diosgenin which may be converted in a laboratory by a series of 6 to 8 chemical reactions into DHEA. In the human body, it is made from cholesterol.
Have there been human studies?
There have been dozens of studies published in the medical literature regarding DHEA, and the rate of these studies has accelerated ever since it became available over-the-counter.
The benefit of a DHEA supplement is most apparent in adrenal deficiency and low levels. The benefit from supplements (in those who are deficient) include improved sense of wellbeing, more alertness and stamina, and enhanced sexual interest and libido. For information on aphrodisiacs such as the libido boosting herb tongkat ali. Blood levels of all the steroid hormones that derive from DHEA hormone metabolism are increased when people take supplements. This potentially leads to both beneficial and harmful effects.
Additional human research indicates the following benefits:
- DHEA is helpful in older men and women with osteoporosis.
- It is an effective addition to the conventional treatment of those who suffer from hypopituitarism, a condition in which the pituitary gland fails to secrete a variety of pituitary hormones into the circulation.
- DHEA supplementation improves blood vessel function and insulin sensitivity in middle aged men. These beneficial changes have the potential to attenuate the development of age-related disorders such as cardiovascular disease.
- In a small study, DHEA was found effective and safe in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- It may be helpful in women with lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus).
I am currently taking 25 mg of DHEA a day. I had a hysterectomy in 1991 but i never took HRT and i have just begun taking Bio- identical hormones of estrogen and Premarin. I was also to take DHEA, as the female body decreases as a woman ages and declines after menopause. I do feel much much better. I read what you have said in your article about the cautions. I am wanting to ask about the Passion RX. Will this replaces the DHEA i am taking now and possibly be much safer for me?
The hormone has many functions in the body, including a libido lift. Passion Rx is able to replace this aspect of the benefit of the hormone.
Anti-aging and longevity
I am a graduate student in MIT’s Science Writing Program. I have been assigned to write about a Mayo Clinic study that suggests the popular antiaging supplement DHEA has no beneficial effects. The two-year study appeared in the October 19, 2006 issue of New England Journal of Medicine. I was wondering if you think elderly people should stop taking it in light of the findings?
Two years is not long enough to determine if a supplement has anti-aging benefits. I am not a big proponent of DHEA. In my opinion, hormone supplementation is very risky. DHEA side effects could occur with high dose use. This hormone pill may be appropriate in some people who have very low DHEA or testosterone levels. Low dosages of 1 to 5 mg may be appropriate, and some people notice an increase in vitality and libido. The whole topic of hormone supplement use is very controversial and there is a variety of opinions among physicians and scientists.
Athletic performance and physical exertion
I am a 21 year old male who is interested in taking DHEA for increased athletic performance. I was told by a friend that if I were to abuse the supplement my body would rely on me taking it and would not produce androgens naturally. Is this true?
There does not appear to be a feedback loop for DHEA production and it is likely your body would continue producing it. However, since it has many potential dangers, including hair loss.
I recently had some blood work done. The results were bad, my cholesterol level was 259 with my hdl at 30. My triglycerides are at 1400. Can Dhea supplementation cause these readings? I take 100mg a day for some time now. I workout and lift weights at least 4 times a week.
We are not aware of DHEA doing this, but then again there’s a lot we don’t know about high dose use of certain supplements and hormones.
I’m a very healthy individual and get physicals every 6 months with my work. Twice in the last 6 months I’ve had very serious heart palpitations and irregular beats that have scared me. One of these was last night. I traced my steps prior to the palpatations. One of the pills I’ve been taking with my vitamin supplements is DHEA and it comes in a 25mg dose from an over the counter purchase. Since that’s the only relatively new drug I’ve taken, I decided to do some internet research and found your site. I literally began to experience palpitations within 1 hour of taking the pill. Curiously, though, it hasn’t happened everytime I’ve taken the pill. I had a glass of wine, which I do nightly except this time I had the DHEA not long after the wine and I believe there might be a connection there. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I suspect your research is correct and I’m quite certain in my own case that this is the problem since I pass my flight physicals and EKGs, etc with flying colors. I’m going to throw the pills away and quit taking them. I began taking them because I read after a certain age the body quits producing DHEA and I simply thought I would be supplementing something that had positive side-effects. I’m quite athletic and enjoy sports and working out so i thought it would be a positive.
We have not seen any research regarding the role of DHEA supplement use and herpes outbreaks.
The administration of DHEA in patients with advanced HIV infection results in improved mental function.
Ingestion of a dietary supplement containing dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione has minimal effect on immune function in middle-aged men.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2003.
This study investigated the effects of four weeks of intake of a supplement containing dehydroepiandrosterone ( DHEA ), androstenedione and herbal extracts on immune function in middle-aged men. Subjects consumed either an oral placebo or an oral supplement for four weeks. The supplement contained a total daily dose of 150 mg DHEA, 300 mg androstenedione, 750 mg Tribulus terrestris, 625 mg chrysin, 300 mg indole-3-carbinol and 540 mg saw palmetto. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were used to assess phytohemagglutinin(PHA)-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine production. The cytokines measured were interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-1beta, and interferon (IFN)-gamma. Serum free testosterone, androstenedione, estradiol, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) were also measured. The supplement significantly increased serum levels of androstenedione, free testosterone, estradiol and DHT during week 1 to week 4. Supplement intake did not affect LPS or ConA proliferation and had minimal effect on PHA-induced proliferation. LPS-induced production of IL-1beta, and PHA-induced IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, or IFN-gamma production was not altered by the supplement. The addition of the same supplement. These findings suggest that, although chronic intake of a complex dietary supplement containing DHEA, androstenedione and herbal extracts increases serum androgen levels, it has minimal effect on immune function in middle-aged men.
Intra ocular pressure
I was wondering if DHEA has any affect on IOP, specifically, could the use of 5 mg daily dosage increase IOP?
We have not seen such studies.
I stopped taking DHEA and pregnenolone after a year. It have been only using them 3-4 days a week, but every time I take them my thyroid glands ache for about a day and a half. It almost feels like the thyroid is overworking (hyperthyroid). I have always listened to my body and I have never had any symptoms like this even on 25 mg of DHEA and 10 mg of pregnenolone for over a year. My body is maybe saying enough.
Vaginal atrophy in women
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Nov. Intravaginal prasterone (DHEA) provides local action without clinically significant changes in serum concentrations of estrogens or androgens. In order to avoid the risks of non-physiological systemic exposure, serum concentrations of estradiol (E2) and testosterone (as measured by mass spectrometry-based assays) should remain below the 95th centiles measured at 9.3pg/ml and 0.26ng/ml for these respective sex steroids in normal postmenopausal women. To document the possibility of achieving this therapeutic objective, we have measured individual 24h serum E2 and testosterone concentrations in women with vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) receiving daily intravaginal administration of a clinically effective dose of 6.5mg prasterone (dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA). Serum E2 and testosterone, as well as DHEA and nine of its other metabolites, were assayed at ten time intervals over 24h on the first and seventh days of daily vaginal administration of 6.5mg prasterone. No significant change from baseline of average 24h serum E2 or testosterone concentrations was observed. Moreover, average 24h serum DHEA remained within the normal postmenopausal range. Estrone sulfate and the androgen metabolites androsterone glucuronide and androstane-3α, 17β-diol glucuronide did not change, thus confirming the absence of any biologically relevant systemic exposure to estrogens and androgens, respectively. Serum concentrations of metabolites of both estrogens and androgens remain within the normal postmenopausal range following daily intravaginal administration of 6.5mg prasterone. As other studies have shown, local formation of sex steroids in peripheral tissues without significant release of E2 or testosterone in the circulation can be achieved with intravaginal prasterone. Thus, prasterone is a promising physiological and attractive solution to treating VVA symptoms.
Combination with prescription medications
I have a question about this product. My doctor recently advised me try this supplement. I suffer from OCD, ADD and prone to depression. I take adderall and have been taking it for four years. I recently took a week off…and also had horrible premenstrual stuff at the same time.. not a good time to take off apparently. I am 39 hrs old and my periods are getting worse.. so what do you think? bad idea? Even in a low dose? At 5 mg without adderall? Or with? I had a bad experience without my prescription.. Which makes me upset because I feel like an addict.
Blood and saliva testing, are they reliable?
We are of the opinion that such testing need not be done routinely. One reason is that different doctors will recommend different dosages based on the same exact results. There are no agreed upon standards of what dosage a person should take based on a particular blood test result or saliva test result.
So my results were DHEA: 116, Cortisol am 7.6, noon 6.8, evening 3.3, night 1.9.Progesteron 31, E2 2.5, Testosterone 38. So my healthcare provider put me on 25mg DHEA daily, 10mg Pregnenolone 3 times a day, licorice root drops 10, 3 times/day. Progesterone cream 1/2g daily, Testosterone 1g daily, Estriol 1mg/ml 3 times per week. I have only been on it for approx 2 weeks. I feel like this is way overkill. I don’t feel any different which I guess is good because I didn’t feel bad. But wondering if you think this is way too much . I guess I feel a bit confused after reading your information and also almost scared that I could be doing more harm than good.
I am a practioner as a Clinical Nutritionist. I am against taking DHEA for men. Thru many years of practice I have witnessed that a lot of men who need this hormone should not take DHEA at all because it turns to Estrogen and does not increase their DHEA levels at all. I’m looking for alternatives for men over 50. I have had some success with Relora. However, the down side of this supplement is that in a high percentage of cases, the substance causes Hypothyroidism. So, what is the answer here? If a male patient has low DHEA levels, what are the alternatives? I know that Pregnenolone is a possibility. I have seen where Pregnenolone has also increased Estrogen, although not as bad as DHEA.
We prefer to not treat a patient based on the results of one blood test, but rather taking a wholistic approach evaluating the whole person. Some people may have a low dhea level but if they have no symptoms there is no need to treat them to try to elevate levels. It depends what symptoms a person has. It is possible that treating a person with low dhea levels with this hormone could cause other problems.
CRN Study analysis
DHEA in Elderly Women and DHEA or Testosterone in Elderly Men—CRN Analysis, 2006. New England Journal of Medicine
Study design and parameters
Subjects received either oral DHEA (75 mg/day, men; 50 mg/day, women), testosterone (5 mg/day, men, delivered by patch) or placebo over a 2-year period. Outcome measures included physical performance, body composition, bone mineral density (BMD), glucose tolerance, serum lipid and hormone levels, adverse effects and quality of life.
Both men and women receiving oral DHEA experienced a significant increase in serum levels of sulfated DHEA.
Women receiving it experienced a significant increase in testosterone levels.
Men receiving low-dose testosterone therapy experienced a significant increase in testosterone levels.
There were no significant effects of DHEA in either men or women on body-composition measurements, peak volume of oxygen consumed per minute, muscle strength, or insulin sensitivity.
Men in both treatment groups experienced a significant increase in bone mineral density (BMD) at the femoral neck.
Women who received DHEA experienced a significant increase in BMD at the ultradistal radius.
Neither treatment improved the quality of life or had major adverse effects.
This is the longest duration human supplementation trial confirming the safety of relatively high-dose DHEA in both men and women. There were no drastic changes in potentially carcinogenic hormones (testosterone and estradiol), no changes in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) or prostate volume (indicating no increased prostate cancer in men, and no increase in breast cancer in women). An “adverse effect” often attributed to DHEA supplementation is decreased HDL levels. In this study, there was a small and statistically significant but not clinically relevant reduction in HDL levels, a finding given almost no attention by the study authors. This finding of safety is the most important outcome of this study, and should not be discounted.
Small but significant increases were observed in BMD for both men and women, a finding that is consistent with past studies using DHEA. However, the lack of significant effects on other relevant outcome measures is inconsistent with the body of evidence for DHEA in an elderly population. There are more than 60 published clinical trials on DHEA supplements and the elderly.
Q. I read that both the adrenals and testes utilize the same pathway to produce testosterone (ie: cholesterol -> pregnenolone-> DHEA -> andro -> testosterone ). I also read that the adrenals output about 10mg of DHEA /day into the bloodstream. 1. So do the testes also output DHEA into the bloodstream? If so how much? Or in other words, what % of the serum DHEA level from my lab report is from the testes? 2. Now if I take oral DHEA, do the adrenals and testes actually input this DHEA into their chemical machinery to produce their respective end product hormones? If so, then without taking any supplemental DHEA, it seems that the very DHEA these glands produce and send out into the blood would merely be sucked back into the glands to be reused. Somewhat pointless, yes? If not, then taking supplemental DHEA wouldn’t get into these glands so how or where would I increase my testosterone/androgenic output?
A. We have not come across any detailed studies regarding the precise percentage of DHEA made by the testes versus the adrenal glands, but it is predominantly the adrenal glands. DHEA, when taken as a supplement, travels to all tissues in the body, including the adrenal glands, testes, brain, liver, skin, etc and has its effects in various places. Same with Pregnenolone. Before using these hormones, do read the cautions and potential side effects.
Q. Please can you suggest a dosage of DHEA and pregnenolone to enhance ovarian function in a mid forties female. Recent research has shown that DHEA supplementation improves ovarian function and egg quality. I am wondering what dosage is suitable. I noted on one research paper that 75mg day of DHEA was ingested and there was a significant improvement in egg quality. Having read your research it seems that a much smaller dosage would be suitable. What do you think?
A. DHEA and pregnenolone are very potent and potentially dangerous in high doses. We suggest you read the page above and discuss with your doctor. We are not in a position to offer individual advice.
Q. Can you advise whether dhea supplementation would be an advantage to feminization of transsexual male under a hormone replacement therapy
that includes testosterone blockers.
A. We do not think dhea would be suitable for the purpose of a transsexual male, it has androgenic side effects.
Q. Since we know that Pregnenolone is a precursor to DHEA, then you have two choices: Take a few milligrams Pregnenolone and then later in the day, take some DHEA. This might be bad because some of the Pregnenolone is converted to DHEA, and then you take more DHEA, and it may be too much. Alternatively: Take a few milligrams of DHEA first, and then later in the day, take some Pregnenolone. This might be better IF there is a feedback mechanism in the biochemical pathway, which tells the body that there is some DHEA already, so the Pregnenolone is then converted into something else (it is a precursor, and can be converted into many things). Is there indeed a feedback mechanism whereby the body can sense that there is plenty of DHEA and to stop producing more? (No one has been able to answer my question so far!) If this is so, then what is the half-life of the body’s detection of the DHEA?
A. As far as we know there is no significant feedback to DHEA production when a DHEA or pregnenolone supplement is taken. The functions of pregnenolone and DHEA overlap somewhat and it is important to take very small amounts of these hormones. We don’t know at this time which is better to take DHEA, pregnenolone, or a little of both. There are still many unanswered questions, but one thing is clear, many people who take these hormones are taking too high dosages.
Q. You write: “As far as we know there is no significant feedback to DHEA production when a DHEA or pregnenolone supplement is taken.” Neither do I! Of course, I can not guarantee such a “negative feedback” Hormonal Feedback Mechanism exists, but if it did, it would work like I describe below -or very similar. You write: “The functions of pregnenolone and DHEA overlap somewhat…” Yes: Pregnenolone is a precursor to DHEA and many other things, but a person’s body needs the right enzymes to convert pregnenolone to its byproducts. You write: “…and it is important to take very small amounts of these hormones.” YES! They are more powerful than I initially thought -I guarantee you that, based on my personal experiences! You write: “We don’t know at this time which is better to take DHEA, pregnenolone, or a little of both.” I will give you MY answer, which I hope is right: It is best to take a little of BOTH, with the DHEA taken first, all in small amounts; This is because there is a chance the body may lose its ability to convert Pregnenolone to byproducts (such as DHEA) in old age: There may be a decrease in the enzyme production. (That is only a rough guess, since many things decrease in old age.) You write: “There are still many unanswered questions, but one thing is clear, many people who take these hormones are taking too high dosages.” Yep! See below for my detailed analysis, based on my own research, both when I was in college and subsequently… Before I begin with my “personal experience,” I want to share with you something I found which may be helpful for you all in analyzing my feedbacks / comments – this involves “Hormonal Feedback Loops” which I hypothesize exist in this case: “These hormonal signals and their complex chemical and neural feedback loops work similarly to a home thermostat. If the door is opened and the room cools down, the sensor in the thermostat picks up the change in temperature and the heat turns back on. ” “Although many steroids are produced by the testes and the ovaries, the two most important are testosterone and estradiol. These compounds are under tight biosynthetic control, with short and long negative feedback loops that regulate the secretion of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) by the hypothalamus.” What I do myself is this. I used to take a lot of DHEA and Pregnenolone until I had what I think were heart flutters and possibly lightness of breath. I therefore stopped taking so much. I think it was like 25 to 50 mg of DHEA and like 50 mg of Pregnenolone per day. Ouch! (The tablets of DHEA I bought were in 25 mg size, and the Pregnenolone was in 50 mg capsules.) Since I currently have tablets of DHEA which are 25 mg, what I do is break them into half (or less) and take no more than a HALF a tablet at a time, and no more than one per day; I usually take the approximately 12.5 mg “half” tablet on weekends, sometimes Friday and Saturday, when I have plenty of time to rest, so it doesn’t stress me out; I feel my body can metabolize the product if I am less stressed out. However, I do something “different,” based on my research about the Hormonal Feedback Loops (which I studied in college at FSU). I make sure do THREE things when I take DHEA and Pregnenolone: (The 1st couple are not unexpected; the 3rd one is novel and possibly new to you.) #1: I take LOW amounts, as indeed these are STRONG hormones! #2: I take about 5-6 days off each time, since I typically only take them on the weekends, and not even EVERY weekend, just sometimes, when I feel I need a boost. I can’t break the Pregnenolone capsules into anything smaller than 50 mg easily -it is a powder in a capsule! So, I compensate by taking only one capsule -and by taking “time off” before the next capsule. (I don’t feel so bad, because Pregnenolone is more multi-talented than DHEA or most other hormones -i t is the “Grandmother of all Hormones!”)
#3: However, this is what MOST people miss, and I add this, my unique finding; I make sure and take the DHEA first, and allow about 1 to 5 hours for it to metabolize before I take the Pregnenolone; The reason is obvious: Since there may be a negative Hormonal Feedback Loop for DHEA (like a thermostat, remember?), then I assume that my body is less inclined to make additional DHEA from the Pregnenolone that I subsequently take. Since the Pregnenolone can be converted into many things, this is good: The reason is that, with additional DHEA present, the precious Pregnenolone can be converted into other relevant hormones the body may need. (Now, if I took the Pregnenolone FIRST, a lot of it may be converted to DHEA, and this would waste the multi-talented Pregnenolone’s ability to be converted to other hormones, which are just as important. Taking the DHEA second, instead of first, might result in too much DHEA and not enough of the other Pregnenolone’s byproducts.)
A. This is quite hypothetical, and one must first question the reasons for taking these hormones. If your body does not need the extra DHEA or pregnenolone, it does not matter the sequence they are used.
Q. I am 59 male and fit, swimming 1.5 miles every other day and hiking up steep mountains in between with the intention of stretching the heart and Lungs each day. For the last two years I have been taking 50 mg per day DHEA and injecting HGH. both monitored with occasional blood tests to approximate the levels of a 30 year old. Two weeks ago having felt a tightness in the chest my local Dr Diagnosed a low pulse 40 and arrhythmias from an ECG. He is sending me to a Specialist Cardiologist, I am waiting for the appointment at this moment. I mentioned DHEA but he new nothing of this. I was aware of this possible side effect from an earlier article on the net it could have been from Dr. Sahelian. I have stopped both DHEA and HGH for almost two weeks. Now before my meeting with the Cardiologist I monitor my pulse and arrhythmia’s with a Omron monitor. whilst lately the mornings seem fine pulse say 65 no sign of arrhythmia’s late afternoons the pulse drops to 40 and arrhythmias returns. Clearly this is early days and perhaps the sudden lack of both DHEA and HGH is causing some disturbance, but I wondered if you have any experience of the time after stopping DHEA that arrhythmias typically disappears.
A. It is difficult to say what role the HGH played in the arrhythmias. One would expect that the heart rhythm would return to almost normal after several weeks.
A few yrs back I did the whole saliva test and went to Dr. for blood test. Both test came back very low dhea and she recommended me taking 10 mg per day but I started at 5mg for a few and lowered it to quarter tab 1x per day and still didn’t feel good (body felt like estrogen effects, long heavy periods, sore breast, swollen period like abdomen etc.). I experimented 3 separate occasions at super low quarter tab 1.25 dose and got same results so no dhea for me even at a 1.25 dose!!! I was told by Dr. that my dose was too low to be feeling like this so it was in my head, and must be something I read and to stay off internet. Not true because at this time I hadn’t done research yet to know dhea side effects.
Q. Can DHEA and pharmaceutical HGH be safely taken together?
A. Only if in tiny dosages and monitored closely. Both of these hormones have side effects.
Q. I was put on to DHEA 10 months ago by a medical doctor, who after blood test , said my DHEA levels, were extremely low. He prescribed 20 mg of DHEA, to be split into 2 doses i.e.. 10mg in the morning and 10mg in the evening. I found that the evening tablet, made my sleeping at night very restless, so decided to stop the evening tablet. Other than the fitful sleeping I felt really great. I lost a great deal of weight, become much leaner and my muscle definition was more pronounced. The Results seemed positive. After a 2nd visit, about 4 months later, the doctor asked, that I again try and take a dose at night but this time, introduced a 5mg capsule. I did what was recommended and found it had no effect on my sleeping, in fact seemed to help. Perhaps I should inform you that I am 51 years old. In good health, eat well and sensibly and do a good deal of exercise. I am post menopausal and use an HRT replacement patch, prescribed by a gynaecologist. Three months ago, after increasing the RHEA to 15 mg, I began to notice a significant change in the thickness of my hair. This has become progressively worse and although I started taking, significant amounts of vitamins for hair, skin and nails, it has continued to get worse. At a subsequent visit to my doctor , to get the results of blood test taken to re-assess my level of DHEA , I asked if my hair thinning was, in anyway, related to DHEA. The answer given, was absolutely not and in fact, my hair should be getting much thicker, as hair growth is improved by DHEA. The result of the blood test showed that my DHEA levels had risen significantly and were almost at the level, he thought was beneficial for me. I was told to try, once again, to increase the dose from 15 to 20 mg. This I did, thinking that the hair loss must be linked to my weight loss and not the DHEA. Needless to say, the hair loss continued and I became increasingly concerned. It was then, I decided to consult the internet and see if there was any link between DHEA and hair thinning. I came across your articles on DHEA and was horrified to read about the side effect of high dosages and the link between the DHEA and hair thinning. For your information I was also prescribed, HGH Norditropan, which I inject every night, the dosage of which, is 2 clicks. I have to say, in the Doctors defence, other than my hair loss , I feel good, however, what the long term effects of all these various hormones may be, I do not know.
Would it be a good idea for me to take ‘a hormone holiday’ from DHEA? If so, can I stop taking the capsules immediately or would I have to wean myself down to nothing over time. Is there a program I should follow when coming off DHEA. Is there a good chance that my hair while return to its former thickness after coming off DHEA and what supplements would help this recovery? It is said that DHEA slows down the ageing process. Is this true? Is DHEA addictive? Are the long term effects of all the hormones I am taking dangerous?
A. We suggest your doctor read the page on DHEA and guide you regarding the use of DHEA. In most people, DHEA can be quickly stopped without problems. It may take quite some time for hair to return to normal after DHEA use, and unfortunately some people do not have full recovery. We have not seen any long term research with DHEA supplement use that DHEA improves lifespan. DHEA is not addictive. See the cautions listed on the DHEA page regarding side effects and dangers.
Q. My doctor insists on me taking 25 to 50 mg. of DHEA in the morning-I was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency and had been taking 20 mg. Cortef daily. I am on 5 mg. of Cortef currently. Nonetheless-a recent blood test for the active form or unconjugated of DHEA was in the low normal range (224ng/dL). However, my DHEA sulfate level was high-281 mcg/dl when the normal range is 25-95. Could I be overdosing with DHEA. I have been having hair loss associated with this adrenal issue.
A. We can’t give specific advice on whether your DHEA dose is too low or too high since that is the role of your physician and it would not be wise for us to interfere with your doctor’s care. As a general rule, one should take the least amount of hormones that is necessary.
Q. Could you please tell me what DHEA supplements are made of? I have read that some DHEA products are made of brains from animals.
A. DHEA is made in the laboratory, not from animal products but synthetically, usually starting with wild yam extracts.
Q. DHEA that is marketed by individual firms may be a steroid in it’s broad form, ie in the package, if the company marketing it has not completely processed it (yam extract?); or DHEA may be a precursor to steroid production in the body, if the company that is marketing it has completely processed what is in the package. Have I got it right? If the processed product is not a steroid, what is it’s name or what is it classified as?
A. DHEA, as sold in stores on on the internet, is a steroid hormone. When you buy a product which is a DHEA supplement, it is the final hormone, not a precursor.
Q. I’m 28 years old and was told that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Sometimes, the test comes back negative, at times positive (but slightly). DHEA came out to be 1065, which is higher than 995, which is the maximum level for a female within the 28 year old bracket. How can I bring down my DHEA levels? Any suggestions? Would this ever go away or will it always stay positive? Would this affect me being conceived? Is this a diagnosis for genes alopecia, even though, i don’t have it nor does any of my family.
A. We don’t know of any specific ways to reduce DHEA levels. Those with polycystic ovarian syndrome benefit from weight loss, and perhaps DHEA levels may come down when weight is reduced. Many aspects of health are improved by reducing calories. Weight loss can also enhance fertility and may reduce the rate of loss of hair if the hair loss is due to excess androgens such as DHEA.
Q. How many mg of DHEA max should I take, and how many days on/off? I’m 60, male, still surf and pump iron every other day. 5’7” 155ibs.(was 145 and gained 10 lbs. in a month w/no dietary change). my muscles (arms and legs have turned to mush).
A. There are many variables to be evaluated before recommending a DHEA dosage and one has to know the whole medical history, otherwise any recommendations would be based on limited information which could lead to flawed dosage suggestions.
Q. Can taking too much DHEA suppliment inhibit sexual function (rather than increase it) in terms of: Sustained erection and ejaculatory control (e.g. getting to the point of orgasm but then decreased sensation and failing to climax)? These questions are based on personal experience and anecdotal info from others who have tried the suppliment DHEA.
A. Yes, it is possible that certain dosages or in some people DHEA supplement use can lead to problems with erection or ejaculation.
Q. I am 59 years of age (male) and have to say that Dr. Sahelian was right on the dosage of DHEA. I started out taking 50mg. a day which made me feel anxious and moody along with heart palpitations. I kept backing down on the daily dosage until I reached one that made me feel more normal at 10mg. per day. I take DHEA because it actually gives me a mental and physical feeling of well being. I have experimented over the years with this substance until I had reached an optimal dosage for myself. I guess we are all different to a certain degree as to what we can tolerate.
Q. I have read with great interest your opinion about taking dhea supplements. After feeling ill all the time, fatigued and unable to lose weight, despite normal female hormone levels and free t-3 and free t-4 thyroid levels, good cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, I discovered that my iron levels are in the lowest part of normal range and with the normal levels of dhea being 143 – 1277, mine were 58, despite the fact that I’ve been taking 25 mgs because it was on the low side previously. My doctor has now told me to increase the dosage, taking 25 mgs twice a day. Would you agree with this? Is there any other way to increase the level without supplementing? I’ve been losing hair and I’m concerned that increasing the dhea to 50mgs a day may increase hair loss. My doctor feels the hair loss is due to low iron and low dhea, but after reading the comments on your site, I’m just not sure. Thank you for any help you can provide and bless you for sharing all of this information with us.
A. We suggest your doctor read the cautions and potential dangers of dhea hormone use on this page.
Q. I am a 52 yr. old female, I have had a complete hystorectomy for 15 yr. and no thyroid activity for 5 yrs. I am on 100mcg Levothyroxine, and was taking 0.625mg Cenestin. This last fall I noticed an increase of facial hair growth on my neck and face to where I was starting to shave once a week (the hair was more like peach fuzz). I ran across this DHEA hormone and on a whim thought maybe this would stop the hair growth. I consulted my gynecologist and she was for me trying it, but said I should stop taking the Cenestin which I did. Since taking this the hair growth has slowed way down. which is confusing to me since reading the other e-mails on your site, other women have increased facial hair. I have not. How ever I have noticed an increase in the inability to really sleep. I am more restless and I am more iriitable, Some times I just want to kick my legs when I try to sleep. Generic Name: conjugated estrogens (oral). Brand Names: Cenestin, Enjuvia, Premarin.
Q. I am interested in using herbal products, in particular lj100. Since I am an IOC tested pro athlete, can I be sure about purity and that there is no cross-contamination? (I ask this because I see that you handle DHEA too, which is prohibited under IOC rules.
A. There is no vitamin company that can guarantee 100 percent purity, that is not possible even in the pharmaceutical industry.
Q. I appreciate your awareness of DHEA as a powerful supplement. I am a 54 yr old woman, post-menopausal, on thyroid for Hashimotos, estrogen and testosterone. That is all, really, except 5 mg Prozac. I have Lupus SLE, in remission, I hope, and some other mild symptoms of autoimmune-related disorders Sjogrens, Raynauds, and rheumatoid arthritis. About 18 months ago my rheumatoid arthritis DR suggested I take 5 mg DHEA a day. I bought DHEA at Costco that is 25 mg,, and began taking it, a whole pill, a total skeptic. I immediately noticed the increased energy and improved mood, some difficulty sleeping, etc. I was very pleased by the increased libido and had to cut back on the testosterone I was taking. I had to decrease my dose to half a pill a day for pimples on my face and new hair growth on my legs. I also lost some weight. I did very well on this for at least a year. I do not know if the recent problems have anything to do with the DHEA supplement, and I have talked with 3 different endocrinologists who seem totally ignorant of DHEA or any knowledge that it may have effects on my hormones, even thyroid levels. A few months back I began to have increasing problems, waking in sweat and panic, two minutes after falling asleep, and, in the morning waking in panic with a total sense of doom. This has increased to where morning is a time I accept as hell, and hope that after the first hour of moving around I will really feel like I woke from the bad dream. I had a test for Addison’s disease and was negative. In the meantime, the Drs are acting like I am nuts when I try to describe this. I have been a very ambitious, high functioning business person for 20 years, driven by my career. Now I am exhausted. I cut back on my thyroid, even almost stopping for a few weeks but only became more tired. I am now in a state of constant fatigue and forgetting things, dropping things, and losing my balance. I am back to my usual thyroid dose, although the endocrinologist wants to cut it back slightly since the TSH is low. But, I am very, very cold, most of the time. I do have symptoms of Raynaud’s but I don’t think that makes you cold all over. My body temp is running low, when I feel cold. I crawl under my electric blanket and go to sleep in the day time sometimes, especially if the room temp is below 70. I fall into bed with all my clothes on , under the electric blanket at 8 or 9 pm and fall asleep, freezing. But, after an hour or two I wake, with my ears ringing. Then I try the rest of the night to sleep, but I am too hot , my pulse is too fast, my ears are ringing and I can’t stay asleep. All this and I have low blood pressure and am freezing during the day. I have tried cutting back on the DHEA but it seems to make no difference, except I don’t feel as happy and my libido dies. I wonder if the DHEA could have made my internal thermostat go wacky? That is not a scientific term but you get the gist. I also fly back and forth to Italy from California several times a year because I have a home in both places. This feels just like jet-lag, only it never ends. I wonder if the DHEA could have changed the way my thyroid works. My TSH is very, very low, and so is the T3 and T4. No one seems to know and one Dr has even mocked me for being so cold.
Q. I have been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. I’m working with a fertility Dr that has perscribed the drug DHEA 75mg per day for 6 weeks prior to IVF cycle. I researched the drug and came across your website. Now I am very nervous about taking the medication…so my question is… I have a perscription from the DR……is there a difference between the over the counter DHEA supplement from the DHEA compound the Dr perscribes?….as far as side effects?
A. Over the counter DHEA and prescription DHEA should be the same and would provide the same benefits and side effects. You may wish to ask your doctor to read this page on DHEA to learn more about the possible side effects.
Q. I am an acupuncture physician who started taking dhea and progesterone about 6 months ago. I have asthma and figured it would help with my energy, pms, and lack of energy. I took 20mg of progesterone as well. My period got better (less cramps), but pms prevailed. My weight has been inching up the scales slowly (about a 2-3 lb gain) and I never had a problem beforehand. I began getting peptide shots because I will still so tired, and although the shots of worked tremendously I gained 8 lbs in the time I started the shots.(8 weeks) My breast have gotten so big I had to buy new bras, and my work out and eating has only improved (very small whole grain carbs, organic protein, no dairy and tons of veggies and fruit) Do you think the shots potentiated the effects of the dhea and cause the weight gain and increase of breast size. Any thoughts. All of my medical colleagues are stumped.
A. We are not sure what you mean by peptide shots.
Last week I picked up my DHEA liquid from the compounding pharmacy. The doctor told me to take 10 drops, which on the bottle is (0.5 ML), under my tongue in the AM. She said if I don’t feel right then to cut back to 5 drops. The pharmist didn’t tell me anything bout the DHEA just gave it to me. I found your site and I am glad I did cause it gave me lots of information especially about the negative side effects to watch out for. My Doctor just said it act differently on different people so to just notice what is happening, and if nothing is happening with 10 drops then to increase the dosage. What is the equilivant to 0.5ML in milligrams? How many milligrams is the 10drops (0.5ml)? Is it equal to 5mg or not. She told me to use the DHEA daily and book an appointment back with her and book a blood test and we will see how I am doing in 3 months time. But she said nothing about taking a hormone break. You mentioned that in your article. Should I take a break say one week a month from the DHEA? Or is it such a small amount I needent bother?
The amount of mg per drop in the product you have depends on how the pharmacist prepared it, so the compounding pharmacy should know if you ask them. As to the dosage to use or frequency of breaks, that depends on each person, what condition is being treated, how a person is responding, and many factors. We can only provide general guidelines and each person, along with their doctor, needs to decide the specific details of use.