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How To Lower DHEA In Women (and Men)!

May 10, 2023 | Blog, Hormone Health

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How to lower DHEA in women and men

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone produced mainly by the ADRENAL GLANDS (DHEA-S, is the active form of DHEA, with SULFATE attached). It is known as a PRECURSOR hormone (the ‘raw material’, so to speak) that can be converted into other important hormones, such as the sex hormones ESTROGEN and TESTOSTERONE. DHEA levels typically peak in a person’s 20s and decline gradually as they age. Let’s discuss How To Lower DHEA In Women (and Men)!

 In women, DHEA plays a vital role in maintaining HORMONAL BALANCE, BONE DENSITY, and overall health. However, HIGH LEVELS can cause various health issues, which is why it is crucial to maintain OPTIMAL levels. (NOTE: OPTIMAL levels are not the ‘average’ levels most people use on typical blood tests.)

 Fortunately, there are clinical and lifestyle methods to LOWER DHEA levels in women.

In this article will discuss the CAUSES, SYMPTOMS and HEALTH RISKS associated with elevated DHEA levels, as well as methods to test and reduce them.

 

 ADRENALS – YOUR STRESS GLANDS

 

Your ADRENAL GLANDS, also known as the SUPRARENAL (above the renal) GLANDS, are located on top of both kidneys and are responsible for producing a number of hormones that regulate your IMMUNE SYSTEM, METABOLISM, BLOOD PRESSURE, SEXUAL development.

They also produce hormones that help you adapt to all types of STRESS (physical, biochemical and especially psychological).

DHEA also plays a pivotal role in the making of IGF-1 (Insulin growth factor-1), another hormone that regulates how sensitive you are to INSULIN (thereby influencing blood sugar) as well as controlling MUSCLE GROWTH.

Like other hormones, a DHEA IMBALANCE can throw a wrench in your body’s ability to work properly.

This is certainly the case with DHEA levels. It is not uncommon for the adrenal glands to produce TOO MUCH DHEA. Less commonly, they may produce TOO LITTLE.

HIGH levels of DHEA (or DHEA-S, more importantly) could be a contributing factor for some serious problems such as ADRENAL CANCER or TUMORS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and more.

 

Causes of HIGH DHEA Levels in Women

In Functional Medicine, we are all about the DETECTION and then the CORRECTION of ROOT CAUSES.

This means using NUTRITIONAL REJUVENATION, SUPPLEMENTATION, EXERCISE and STRESS MANAGEMENT to support the adrenal glands.

(This is different from Conventional Medicine, which is simply the diagnosis and suppression of symptoms with drugs.)

Below are some of the most common CAUSES of HIGH DHEA levels in women.

 

Adrenal gland disorders, such as CUSHING’S SYNDROME or adrenal tumors.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

 

PCOS is one of the most common causes of high DHEA levels in women. It is also characterized by HIGH ESTROGEN, LOW PROGESTERONE, HIGH INSULIN, HIGH TESTOSTERONE.

PCOS is the number 1 cause of INFERTILITY in the United States!

ADAPTOGENS are herbs that support the adrenals and can help promote hormonal balance in PCOS. They protect the body from the effects of CORTISOL, the STRESS HORMONE, caused by CHRONIC, overwhelming STRESS.

Examples include ASHWAGANDA, HOLY BASIL, RHODIOLA and MACA ROOT.

Another powerful herb is LICORICE.

Licorice can lower testosterone in woman with PCOS.

Spearmint tea can also lower excess androgen (male sex hormone) levels.

Finally, INSULIN and blood sugar need to be addressed in PCOS, so OMEGA-3 supplementation that positively influences healthy insulin levels are a good healthy fat for DHEA problems.

 

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (‘Excessive growth’ also known as CAH).

 

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is characterized by an overproduction of adrenal hormones and enzymes. This increases the production of ANDROGENS (male sex hormones), which can show symptoms of acne, HIRSUTISM (excessive hair), alopecia (hair loss) and menstrual issues.

 

Certain medications, such as corticosteroids.

(Steroids are made naturally in the ADRENALS)

 

Chronic STRESS.

(CONSTANT STRESS your body is unable to adapt to or recover from)

Chronic stress can trigger the nervous system to increase the STRESS hormones, including CORTISOL and DHEA.

By managing stress and taking adaptogenic herbs such as those listed before, you can lower cortisol and DHEA levels to healthy levels.

(NOTE: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Also known as PTSD, this can negatively affect the entire endocrine (hormonal) system.

 

Symptoms of High DHEA Levels

Some symptoms (and risk factors) of elevated DHEA levels in women may include:

ACNE or oily skin

Irregular periods or INFERTILITY

Excessive EIGHT gain

Excessive HAIR growth (hirsutism)

Frequent fatigue or LOW ENERGY

Hair loss (ALOPECIA)

Deepening of the VOICE

BRAIN issues such as irritability, anger and MOOD

INCREASED MUSCLE mass

DECREASED BREAST size

History of PCOS

STRESS

 

Health Risks Associated with Elevated DHEA

 High DHEA levels can cause several health issues, including:

Secondary hormonal imbalances

Increased risk of developing METABOLIC SYNDROME

INSULIN RESISTANCE

Increased risk of HAERT DISEASE

ANXIETY and DEPRESSION

 

How to Accurately Test DHEA Levels

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is common for your doctor or health professional to order some kind of HORMONE TEST.

BLOOD, SALIVA and URINE are three of the most common tests to accurately measure DHEA levels. Consult your healthcare provider to determine the best testing method for your situation.

 

Proven Ways to LOWER DHEA in Women

 

LIFETYLE CHANGES

Making healthy lifestyle choices can help regulate DHEA levels:

EXERCISE regularly:

Engaging in regular physical activity can help balance hormone levels, including DHEA. Aim for at least 150 minutes (30 minutes, 5 days per week) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

Get enough SLEEP:

Poor sleep can disrupt hormone production. Ensure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. (You should FALL asleep, STAY asleep and wake up RESTED)

Maintain a healthy WEIGHT. Obesity can contribute to hormonal imbalances.

 Diet and NUTRITION

 Adopting a balanced diet can help regulate DHEA levels.

Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables: These foods are rich in antioxidants and can help balance hormones.

Limit processed foods: Processed foods can disrupt hormone levels. Choose WHOLE, UNPROCESSED, UNREFINED foods whenever possible.

Include HEALTHY FATS: Healthy fats, such as those found in AVOCADO, NUTS/SEEDS and OLIVE OIL, can support hormonal balance.

Stay HYDRATED:

Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health and hormone regulation.

Half your body weight in ounces is recommended.

 Supplements:

 Some supplements may help lower DHEA levels:

Fish oil: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help regulate hormone levels.

Vitamin D: Adequate vitamin D levels are essential for hormonal balance. Test your levels, and consider taking a supplement if you are deficient. Optimal levels are 50+ng/mL.

Magnesium: Magnesium plays a vital role in hormone production.

 

Always consult your Functional Medicine healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen. It is important to understand the difference and superiority between WHOLE FOOD NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS and what is available from most companies, which are almost always SYNTHETIC.

 

Stress Management:

Chronic stress can lead to elevated DHEA levels.

Implement stress management techniques, such as:

Meditation: Practicing MINDFULNESS and meditation can help alleviate stress and regulate hormone levels.

Yoga: Yoga is an excellent way to manage stress and balance hormones.

Deep breathing exercises: Breathing exercises can help calm the nervous system and lower stress levels.

Seek professional help: If EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL stress becomes overwhelming, consider consulting a mental health professional for guidance and support.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Can high DHEA levels cause weight gain?

High DHEA levels can contribute to hormonal imbalances, which may cause weight gain in some individuals. However, it’s important to note that various factors can affect weight, such as DIET, TOXICITY, exercise, and stress.

How long does it take to lower DHEA levels?

The time it takes to lower DHEA levels depends on the individual and the underlying cause of elevated levels. With consistent lifestyle changes and proper medical treatment, some women may see improvements within a few months.

Can I lower my DHEA levels through diet alone?

Diet plays an essential role in hormone regulation, but it may not be enough to lower DHEA levels on its own. A comprehensive approach, including lifestyle changes, stress management, and medical treatments (if necessary), is recommended.

Are there any natural remedies to lower DHEA levels?

Natural remedies, such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and using supplements, may help lower DHEA levels. However, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or supplement regimen to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

Can men also have high DHEA levels, and do the same strategies apply to them?

Yes, men can also have high DHEA levels, and many of the strategies mentioned in this article can apply to them. However, men may experience different symptoms and health risks associated with elevated DHEA levels. It is essential for men to consult their healthcare provider for personalized guidance and recommendations.

 

Additional Tips for Maintaining Hormonal Balance

 Apart from focusing on lowering DHEA levels, it’s crucial to maintain overall hormonal balance for optimal health. Here are some additional tips to consider:

Avoid ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS:

Exposure to certain ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICALS, such as BPA and phthalates, can interfere with hormonal balance. Limit exposure by using BPA-free products and avoiding plastic food containers when possible.

Limit CAFFEINE and alcohol intake:

Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol can affect hormone levels. Moderate your intake to support hormonal balance.

Eat ADEQUATE PROTEIN:

Protein plays a vital role in hormone production. Ensure your diet includes adequate amounts of high-quality protein sources, such as lean meats, fish, beans, and legumes.

Support LIVER health:

The liver plays a crucial role in hormone metabolism. Support liver health by consuming liver-friendly foods like leafy greens, beets, and cruciferous vegetables, and avoiding EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL intake.

Monitor medication use:

Some medications can affect hormone levels. If you’re concerned about the impact of a specific medication on your hormonal balance, consult your healthcare provider.

Keep a hormone diary:

Tracking your symptoms and lifestyle factors can help you identify patterns and potential triggers for hormonal imbalances. Share this information with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan.

 

 Conclusion

Lowering DHEA levels in women involves a multifaceted approach that includes LIFESTYLE CHANGES, solving NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES, stress management, and WHOLE FOOD supplementation.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article and working with your FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE practitioner, you can achieve OPTIMAL DHEA levels and improving your overall health.

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