6

votes

DHEA and depression

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 03, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Lately I've been researching DHEA as a treatment for anxiety and chronically elevated cortisol levels. But what I'm also finding is that it's an effective treatment for many cases of depression that are resistant to conventional treatments. I would guess these cases of depression are caused by chronic excess inflammation, high cortisol, or both and the direct and indirect effects they have on the brain.

Some research I found: "In a study conducted by S. S. C. Yen and associates at the University of California, San Diego, researchers found that 50mg a day of DHEA administered for 6-months restored levels of DHEA in both men and women. This DHEA replacement was associated with an increase in perceived physical and psychological well-being for both men (67%) and women (84%). " "Another study at UCSD was conducted in which researchers considered the association between levels of DHEA and depression. Nine different hormones (including DHEA) were measured in 699 older women. Out of all of these hormones, only low levels of DHEA were linked with depression." "In studies conducted at Cambridge University in England, researchers discovered that children with major depression have abnormally low levels of DHEA accompanied by abnormally high levels of cortisol. "

I think most people think of DHEA as an anti-aging hormone that we all produce enough of when we're young and may or may not need to take as we age, but if this study is showing that even many kids have very low levels, is DHEA a treatment we should be focusing on for kids and teenagers with depression? The more important question is why are their cortisol levels so high in the first place? Obviously the SAD is to blame for a lot of it and a paleo diet should be the first line of treatment, but what about the kids who live in high stress environments or were born with a messed up HPA axis due to the mother being under stress or malnourished? Should DHEA be used for these kids as a temporary treatment for depression, and if so for how long? Also, do you think the antidepressant effects of DHEA are due to its anti-inflammatory effects (it lowers Il-6, TH2 cell activity, etc), because it counteracts high cortisol, or both?

Medium avatar

on January 04, 2012
at 04:31 AM

Right, when I say high cortisol I mean having a higher baseline level than what's healthy even though for people with this problem they often have very low cortisol in the morning and very high at night. This eventually causes low DHEA levels which causes a whole range of problems. I should note that there are various stages of adrenal fatigue before one reaches adrenal burnout where the adrenals are exhausted and don't produce enough of either DHEA or cortisol.

Medium avatar

on January 04, 2012
at 04:30 AM

Good point, I've debated whether I should take that instead of DHEA since it is in fact a precursor to DHEA. Right now I've decided to take DHEA first and see if it gives me the desired results over time. I may try Pregnenolone as well since I've read good reports about it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 04, 2012
at 02:02 AM

What about taking Pregnenelone, isn't it a DHEA precursor?

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 03, 2012
at 07:27 PM

another observation: people with cortisol issues aren't just HIGH CORTISOL. typically they have a daily rhythm that's high at some points and too low at others. it's not as easy as simply lowering cortisol

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 03, 2012
at 07:24 PM

i didnt know about this does anyone have a good chart for optimal dhea levels based on age/sex?

Medium avatar

on January 03, 2012
at 06:00 PM

You could take 7-keto DHEA to avoid the conversion to the sex hormones, or take a micronized version which is absorbed directly from the gut into the lymph system and avoids conversion to testosterone in the liver.

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3 Answers

1
293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 03, 2012
at 05:07 PM

i'm low on dhea and i used it (only 25mg 50 IS A LOT) and it gave me acne..i guess it bumped teh testosterone too much, not sure. i do not think we should be giving kids hormones.

Medium avatar

on January 03, 2012
at 06:00 PM

You could take 7-keto DHEA to avoid the conversion to the sex hormones, or take a micronized version which is absorbed directly from the gut into the lymph system and avoids conversion to testosterone in the liver.

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 03, 2012
at 07:27 PM

another observation: people with cortisol issues aren't just HIGH CORTISOL. typically they have a daily rhythm that's high at some points and too low at others. it's not as easy as simply lowering cortisol

Medium avatar

on January 04, 2012
at 04:31 AM

Right, when I say high cortisol I mean having a higher baseline level than what's healthy even though for people with this problem they often have very low cortisol in the morning and very high at night. This eventually causes low DHEA levels which causes a whole range of problems. I should note that there are various stages of adrenal fatigue before one reaches adrenal burnout where the adrenals are exhausted and don't produce enough of either DHEA or cortisol.

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 03, 2012
at 07:24 PM

i didnt know about this does anyone have a good chart for optimal dhea levels based on age/sex?

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on May 24, 2013
at 01:18 PM

The trouble with DHEA is you can't control what it gets used for. For example, if you have high chronic stress, it will be converted to cortisol. So in this case, it may be worth it to fix adrenal, or rather, stress stimulus first with things like meditation, phosphotydil-serine, holy basil, etc.

It can also be converted to estrogen or testosterone, which is great if it converts to the one you want, and terrible if it goes the other way.

One trick I've noticed is that by taking both ZMA and Tribulus, you can force (at least) some to get converted to testosterone. So, you need some stimulus along with it to help drive it for your specific needs.

There is also the 7-Keto DHEA version, which can prevent it from converting over to estrogen/testosterone. You could use this with regular DHEA or by itself, if you were targeting increasing other hormones than these, or for its thermogenic effect.

Another thing to realize is that all of these hormones, including Vitamin D, are end products of cholesterol, so consuming lots of good quality saturated fats can help wake up your own systems to produce DHEA. (The usual suspects, grassfed butter, coconut oil, red palm oil, lard, extra virgin olive oil, etc.)

You'd probably want to both supplement with DHEA/7Keto, and consume good fats, and lower your stress levels, and take something to stimulate conversion to the hormones you need. (i.e. sunshine if you need D3, tribulus if you need testosterone, etc.)

0
9d0d23870184bf4de21dc522d8ee31a7

on May 23, 2013
at 10:39 PM

Chris is right. DHEA is great for people with depression. Twist 25 DHEA cream is recommended for people 35 and up. You are alot better off using DHEA cream for depression rather than the expensive and dangerous anti-depressant drugs so many people are on.

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