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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Sleep and DHEA-s levels
Posted by: Vicky
Date: March 22, 2003 12:24 PM

I assume that when the levels of DHEA are high at night this could cause sleep problems. This seems to run in the maternal side of the family and starts about the age of 40. We wake up every few hours. Tried in the past to take DHEA and pregnenolone, but causes me to be angry; even at a low dose and skipping doses. I am presently taking adrenal glandular; having plenty of energy and even moods during the day, but still having sleep problems. I intermittently move up from 1 adrenal glandular to 4 for about a month at a time and then stay off for a week. I tried taking 1 adrenal and feel the same whether on 1 or 4.

RE: Sleep and DHEA-s levels
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: March 22, 2003 3:26 PM

It always amazes me how people, even doctors, are willing to play around with the hormone system without knowing the full story of how that system is operating in the first place. Grabbing some DHEA and adrenal glandulars off the shelf to see how they work is like trying to fly a plane in the dark without instruments. A saliva test could be compared to one quick look at one instrument. Setting the hormone system (which typically deteriorates with age) in the best possible condition can now be accomplished since we have (1) the capability of comprehensive 24 hour urine tests for hormone output and (2) the availability of natural human hormones. However two more components are need: (3) a doc who knows how to make sense of the lab report and the knowledge of natural hormone prescription and (4) a compounding pharmacy.

As to diurnal variations of hormones, that is hardwired in and tends to reach a peak at 4 PM. I seriously doubt that is a variable unless your sleep/wake cycle is influenced by a night job or strange lighting conditions. DHEA is easily metabolized into testosterone and testosterone is well known to cause irritability in a small percentage (about 10%) of people. This usually correlates with other deficiencies, not uncommonly progesterone which in those individuals provides a protective effect from testosterone induced irritability.

Probably the best thing you can do for yourself, at the level of hormone regulations, is outlined in the first paragraph above. Finding a competent doc will be the challenge. Docs who can do this well tend to be self-educated (what's new?) since traditionally trained endocrinologists are not accustomed to natural human hormones and are in fact brainwashed against it. (The explanation of this is a whole political discussion having to do with the fact of pharmaceutical industry domination of U.S. medical schools and residency training programs through grants, etc.) The docs you can find by using this web site are far more likely to be able to properly evaluate and prescribe for you, but you should arm yourself with knowledge and quiz any doctor before making and appointment.

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