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DHEA and "Adrenal Fatigue"

Christian, I read Poliquin saying that large (10+mg) boluses could make “adrenal fatigue” worse by a “negative feedback” mechanism. Do you know what he meant by that? I know that you have mentioned that adrenal burnout is primarily a problem of desensitization so that you need more adrenaline to get the same effect. Was he saying that DHEA lets you push deeper into desensitization at a time when you should be trying to relax? At any rate, what do you think about a) small, and b) larger doses of DHEA, and his recommendation which was plant sterols?

First there is no such thing as “adrenal fatigue”. What there is is adrenergic receptor desensitization. Basically your adrenergic receptors become less sensitive to your own adrenaline and it becomes much harder to get energized. Motivation is low, energy is low, you become slughish, you have a drop in slef-esteem and drive, etc.

DHEA will not help with that.

Poliquin was more likely talking about the cortisol/DHEA balance. When it is off, you can feel like crapas it will affect well-being (among other things).

When cortisol is high and DHEA is low you will have several issues including low testosterone, decrease in immune function, higher levels of anxiety,thyroid dysregulation, decrease in memory, decrease in protein syntheis/breakdown ratio.

However increasing DHEA too much could indeed backfire. Just like any other exogenous hormone it can lead to the shutdown of your own production. And it could lead to the overproduction of cortisol as the body tries to keep cortisol in balance with DHEA.

I think that if someone wants to go the DHEA route, it’s better to use a small dose of DHEA (12.5-25mg/day) and a small dose of pregnenolone (around 15mg).

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What does the pregnanolone do in this case?

So I’m trying to understand how DHEA affects people like you describe. Let’s say that someone has high cortisol and possibly low. Is DHEA low because your body is making cortisol from raw materials instead or is DHEA just not being produced enough to match cortisol because someone has high cortisol levels?

So then you take DHEA, let’s say a large dose in this case. Now are we worried that the person is going to “feel better” artificially and so they push themselves deeper into stress, perhaps feeling enabled to train when they should be resting more? Or is it just that your body makes even less and that might even free up more raw materials for making more cortisol?