I read on your website that DHEA declines as Adrenal Fatigue progresses

Q: I read on your website that DHEA declines as adrenal fatigue progresses. Several women I’ve met claim they have adrenal fatigue and yet they have high DHEA. Is this possible? I thought I might have adrenal fatigue, but I have high DHEA and am being tested for congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Is it possible to still have adrenal fatigue and have high DHEA?

A: Depending on the stage of adrenal fatigue and on the person, the dhea level can increase while adrenal fatigue is in progress. That is totally compatible. A high dhea is indicative of an active adrenal gland, and your doctor’s concern is correct to make sure there is no tumor etc. that is causing excessive dhea secretion. From the adrenal fatigue perspective, dhea must be viewed in conjunction with total cortisol. The purpose is to ascertain the degree of catabolic activity which is what causes the actual symptom of adrenal fatigue. If the total cortisol to dhea ratio is high, then there is excessive cortisol relative to DHEA. DHEA is an anabolic hormone (build up hormone) while cortisol is a catabolic hormone breakdown tissues). DHEA by itself in the adrenal context has little meaning. Also, the number one cause of high DHEA is supplementation. Make sure that you are not on that when being tested.