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DHEA: When and How Much: Dosing Made Easy

© Ray Sahelian MD

As to DHEA, most of the pills on the market come in 25 and 50 mg. I feel that 5 or 10 mg is a good starting dose. If you can only find the higher dosages, you could open the capsules and take a small portion. Of course, much depends on your initial DHEAS levels, along with your unique rate of absorption and metabolism.

What time of day should I take my DHEA?
The adrenal gland makes lots of DHEA in the early (pre-dawn) morning, and production drops dramatically throughout the day. Most doctors recommend taking DHEA first thing in the morning upon awakening to act in concert with this natural circadian (daily) pattern. Although I am inclined to agree with this, I could not find any data to support morning dosing as being better than other times.

How quickly is DHEA absorbed?
When a group of postmenopausal women were given 1,600 mg of this steroid, DHEA and DHEAS blood levels rose within 60 minutes (Mortola, 1990). There was a rapid rise in androgen levels but a much slower rise in estrogens.

At what age should I get my DHEAS levels tested?
Most physicians who incorporate DHEA replacement therapy in their practice will test people starting in their 40's. If the levels are found to be low, DHEA is started and the levels monitored every month or two until the desired plateau is reached. From then on, DHEA levels are monitored every few months. Some physicians will also order a regular blood test to check levels of other blood chemistries. Just to be completely safe, a few physicians may even do mammograms and pap tests in women and check a prostate cancer blood test (PSA) in men.

A blood test is the standard and routine way to check levels, however, at least one clinical director of a laboratory, Elias Ilyia, Ph.D., from Diagnostechs Labs in Seattle WA, says he has examined tens of thousands of blood and salivary levels and feels saliva tests are simpler and just as accurate. I could not find any published data to determine which method was preferable.

Over the last ten years serum DHEA and DHEAS testing services have evolved from obscure research tools to readily available clinical tests. Although a lot of doctors have never ordered DHEA(S) levels, more likely than not the laboratory they use for standard blood tests also does testing for this steroid.

How are DHEA levels measured?
When a doctor orders a blood test for you, the results will often come back in micrograms per 100 ml. The laboratory will print on its lab result sheet what the normal ranges are for different age groups. Usually this ranges anywhere from 40 mcg/100 ml which is very low and found in very old people to 400 mcg/100 ml found in young people at their prime. Some labs will also provide the results in nanograms per ml. A nanogram is one thousandth of a microgram.

1 mg = 1000 micrograms = 1,000,000 nanograms = 1,000,000,000 picograms.

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About The Author
Ray Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He is the bestselling author of ...more
 
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