FAQ’s related to starting DHEA supplementation
Q: Do I need to have my DHEA level tested before starting to supplement?
A: First of all, the information you want is your serum DHEA sulfate, abbreviated DHEAS. This is the stable storage form of DHEA. Free DHEA is also testable, but is mainly used in endocrine research. So make sure ask for DHEAS.
Testing isn’t required before taking a moderate dose. Synergized DHEA for men provides 25 mg per capsule, so a two capsule dose (one at bedtime and one upon arising) provides the amount used in most human clinical trials. We also know from published research that men have a large dose window, since amounts as high as 1,200 mg/d have been used without producing adverse side effects. Synergized DHEA for women provides 15 mg/d since the dose window for women is smaller. The vast majority of our female customers do quite well with a two capsule dose, but most start with one capsule to evaluate the benefits. Signs of excess DHEA include acne, irritability and / or what Natalie calls “inappropriate assertiveness.”
Bottom line: we feel that a moderate dose does not require pre-testing, but you should consider including this test in your annual blood chemistry. Be aware that your doctor may question this and might even refuse to check that box on your lab requisition. The good news is that you don’t need a doctor to obtain this important information. Excellent blood test panels are available from Life Extension or AnyLabTestNow.
Two things to know:
- If you are taking DHEA, you should TAKE your evening dose the night before the test, but SKIP your morning dose, and have your blood drawn before noon. That will give provide your DHEA status in the supplemented state.
- You will be in the “normal” range. That’s because the reference range is literally the amount of DHEA sulfate in the blood of people your age. Since some people are extremely low, the reference range is likely to range from 25 to 250 mcg/dL. You don’t have to be a statistician to see how absurd this is. How can one woman be normal, and another woman of the same age be considered normal with 10 times as much DHEA sulfate?
Thus, we suggest you disregard the reference range and aim for Optimal. As described in our book, The Metabolic Makeover, the optimal range for women is 200 to 250 mcg/dL. For men, 350 to 500 mcg/mL. The advantage of supplementing first and testing 3 to 6 months later is that you can adjust your dose accordingly.
Q: I’ve been reading your book, and it looks like I should also be taking 7-Keto.
You’ve been reading The Metabolic Plan, written in 2003. Excellent information, but research since then has not shown significant benefits over what will be obtained from DHEA. The sole exceptions would be women on anti-estrogen drugs like Tamoxifen and men on testosterone blockade (chemical castration). In those cases, taking DHEA would be contrary to the doctor’s treatment plan, and 7-Keto (since it is not converted to sex steroids) would be preferable.