Thyroid UK
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DHEA...not sure what to think?!

I stumbled on this extremely interesting article on DHEA:

In the past four years, I have seen two so called Hertoghe doctors. When I went to see them, I had been on T4 drugs for about ten years, so it was already established that I suffered from hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's, diagnosed with elevated antibody levels - >6000 at the time of diagnosis, late 2000).

Both doctors have diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue. One put me on Medrol, told me I could go up to 6 mg daily, but also that it would not be possible to measure cortisol levels in blood on Medrol. The other doctor told me to to take a multivitamin for a few months, along with 10 mg DHEA daily, to see if it made a difference.

Both diagnosed me with borderline low aldosterone levels, but told me that would be corrected once "I had my cortisol levels worked out".

Their different working methods really confused me, to say the least...however, what the doctor says in the attached article makes a lot of sense to me.

In the past few years, I have had symptoms like: elevated glucose and insulin levels (diagnosed with insulin resistance, which I treated successfully with Hyponidd, instead of taking the Metformin prescribed to me; to date, I have lost 15 kilograms effortlessly, something I was never able to do on thyroid hormone alone), salt and fluid retention, hypertension (for which I am currently medicating), high triglycerides (without eating much fat), fat around the midsection, cessation of cycle (which all doctors so far have attributed to the onset of menopause; I turned 47 a month ago), poor memory, depression which has resulted in long-term sick leave in the past year, poor sleep (I still sleep less well if I don't take melatonin...)-

According to the author of this article, all those symptoms are indicative of cortisol-DHEA imbalance, rather than DHEA deficiency per se.

No doctor has even even mentioned this possibility; most, if not all, Hertoghe doctors in Belgium seem obsessed with the benefits of DHEA...

Does anyone else recognise these symptoms? I guess that now that I know, I could at least try to correct it myself. But still, the very thought that it could be this simple, yet overlooked by so many so called experts, makes me wonder why I have paid all this money on doctors, labs, and drugs for so long...?!?!

It would also be very interesting to find out how many of you have taken DHEA and, if so, did you notice any improvement while on it? How much did you take?

11 Replies
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I would be very wary of dhea. I was prescribed it by my private doc and took it for 18 months, then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Can't say that dhea was the cause but I wouldn't take it again. It's worth doing some research!


Thanks, that sounds really scary:-( I think the Hertoghe doctors prescribe DHEA a little too easily...Dr. Hertoghe himself has even written a book called "DHEA, The feel good hormone" (literally translated, original title: "La DHEA, l'hormone du bien-être").


I was the other was round. Started with DCIS, took biohrt including DHEA - no. more DCIS.


interesting, what's biohrt?


Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy


Interesting post on a subject that I'm currently looking at. Frankly I find it rather offensive when doctors proclaim that one should remove stress from one's life. Clearly oblivious to the fact that being ill is stressful, as is having poor quality of life, as is being unable to hold down a job, as is having no income <insert any major life event>.

I'm tempted with trying DHEA due to level being on the floor and with worsening health.

How frustrating for you that despite seeing hormone experts the improvements to your health have been the result of your own investigations.

Would be really interested in hearing your progress so do hope that you will update us.


I promise I'll keep you updated.

I am seeing my doctor in two weeks time, and will ask her about DHEA then. She is the one who prescribed it for me, so she should be able to explain its benefits (and potential risks).


thecat346 - thank you, it's appreciated.


I have a theory (which could be completely wrong) that low adrenal function could be caused by undiagnosed food allergies and sensitivities, so the adrenal glands are constantly pumping out cortisol to tame the inflammation and consequently get worn out. So my daughter is being tested and is also trying the Paleo autoimmune diet. Could be completely misguided but there does seem to be some improvement in symptoms. I realise everyone is different but will let you know how she gets on with this approach. Will need to test cortisol again in a few months to see if it's improved her poor adrenal function.


Thanks, it will be interesting to follow her progress!


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