What a Difference a Day Makes

I took my final DHEA supplement on Wednesday morning to try and combat my increasing blood pressure, which is documented in the blog Back in Control… Somewhat. Here’s a table of my blood pressure values on Wednesday compared to Thursday and Friday (format systolic/diastolic/pulse):

Wednesday Thursday Friday (thus far)
125/83/82 120/81/77 111/64/72
153/106/72 121/87/72 128/85/76
142/105/83 124/89/82 117/81/78
129/94/90 126/85/78 124/82/83
138/94/77 127/84/81 125/88/81
124/84/76 124/81/72 118/83/90

Wednesday is typical of the days that I took the DHEA; my morning blood pressure was closest to normal, and my blood pressure values increased during the day and decreased before bed. On a daily basis, the maximum values appeared to be slowly creeping up, on average.

Now that I have finished all of my Friday measurements, the difference since Wednesday is clear to me. On Thursday and today, I don’t have the large swing in blood pressure values as each day progressed. My daily measurements were taken around the same times of the day and in a variety of the same type places (home, work, even in the car).  And, if you’re wondering if my stress levels suddenly fell – uhhh, no… Notsomuch!

I’m very encouraged by my data from the past two days!

Yesterday, I was looking up the time frame for removing DHEA from the body. I came across a forum where someone was talking about losing hair from taking DHEA supplements. I found that interesting because I got my hair cut on Wednesday and my hairdresser commented that I was losing a lot of hair. She suggested it may be due to hormones. I never really considered that, but maybe she was right!

Going back to the elimination question, I read a paper (Legrain et. al, 2000) “Dehydroepiandrosterone Replacement Administration: Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Studies in Healthy Elderly Subjects” from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. You can find the article here.Granted, I’m not an aging woman, but shouldn’t matter based on the results that I am interested in discussing.

One conclusion of this paper was that “blood DHEA had an apparent terminal half-life of more than 20-hours, the same order of magnitude as that of blood DHEA-S, a result explainable by back hydrolysis of the large amount of DHEA-S formed administration of DHEA, a mechanism providing long-lived unconjugated DHEA and metabolites.” Later in the article, the half-life was listed as “23.6 +/- 8.5 hours to 26.6 +/- 8.6 hours”.

The reason this interested me is that many other reports showed that DHEA had a much shorter half-life than DHEA-S, but that didn’t make sense to me since they interconvert in the body. Additionally, DHEA-S is the form that I’ve had measured in my serum when I previously supplemented and it increased significantly during my treatment, along with my testosterone and estradiol levels. If DHEA was so short-lived (1-3 hour elimination half-life), how would my DHEA-S concentrations build up so easily with supplementation?

Another interesting takeaway from the paper is that “a significant, rapid, and dose proportional increase in serum DHEA-S levels was observed after oral DHEA administration. The mean maximal DHEA-S concentration was observed 2-hours after oral DHEA administration.” That is consistent with the increase I have been seeing in blood pressure.

The article also mentioned that “no trend for accumulation by day 8 was observed” and from the graphs shown, that seems accurate. However, if the half-life is around 24-hours and you are taking it every day, then I would expect there to be some accumulation. Unfortunately, I am not measuring my serum DHEA concentrations on an hourly and daily basis to find out; I’m only looking at the effect on my blood pressure.  My blood pressure increased with supplementation and has decreased since I stopped taking the supplement. Maybe it will continue to decrease as the days progress? I can only hope!

This makes DHEA fail number 2 for me. I know a lot of women find benefits from DHEA supplementation, but so far, it hasn’t worked out in my favor. I am not exactly sure what to do about my low serum testosterone levels, but I guess whatever I do for that can’t sabotage my blood pressure. Once my blood pressure reestablishes itself to be consistently in the normal range, I guess we can entertain another option. Until then, I’m just happy that my blood pressure and my emotional state seem to doing better today!

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