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The Cortisol-DHEA Balance

September 8th, 2017

Learn how levels of cortisol and DHEA work together to affect your health

At Renew Youth, we place great emphasis on restoring balance to the body, which naturally promotes better aging. One extremely important aspect of your overall hormonal balance that must be considered as part of any hormone replacement program is the relationship between cortisol and DHEA.

Role of Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. In moderation, this is beneficial—cortisol helps fuel your fight or flight response in an emergency. But in excess, cortisol can be very harmful. Cortisol can cause damage and premature aging throughout the body. Plus, if cortisol levels are elevated often due to repeated episodes of stress, or stay elevated for long periods due to ongoing stress, eventually the adrenal glands may lose their ability to produce the small amounts of cortisol that is needed on a daily basis. This causes a condition called adrenal fatigue.

Role of DHEA

DHEA is a very powerful anti-aging hormone. It is associated with healthy brain function, a strong immune system, and increased longevity. DHEA blocks carcinogenesis and can also protect against Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, depression, and heart disease. Because DHEA is a precursor hormone that is needed to make testosterone and estrogen, having healthy DHEA levels is very important for controlling menopause and andropause symptoms.

Effects of the Cortisol-DHEA Ratio

In many ways, cortisol and DHEA have opposing effects. When your body has enough of each hormone, they will balance each other out. But if the cortisol-DHEA ratio is not healthy, you may experience some of these effects:

  • Suppressed immune function
  • Imbalances in protein, fat, and glucose metabolism
  • Reduced detoxification capacity
  • Weaker bones
  • Memory problems
  • Reduced pregnenalone

Is Your Body Out of Balance?

If you are experiencing symptoms of andropause or menopause, it is highly likely that more than just your testosterone or estrogen levels are out of balance. The best way to tell for sure is to visit a Renew Youth doctor and get your cortisol and DHEA levels tested. For optimal accuracy, we prefer to use saliva testing for these hormones. Blood testing is less accurate because cortisol and DHEA can bind to proteins in the blood, which essentially hides them from the test.

Once we have your lab results, we can create a customized treatment program just for you. This may include treatment for adrenal fatigue as well as DHEA supplementation, plus measures to address levels of other vital hormones. To learn more, call 800-859-7511 now.

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