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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Sulfate

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Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (Dhea S) is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland in both men and women. This hormone occurs naturally and in abundance. Dhea S is manufactured from cholesterol entering the body. In turn, it makes other hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and cortisone. These regulate energy and help support the endocrine system.

When a patient notices fertility issues, clear signs of aging, insulin resistance, weight problems or signs of high stress, a Dhea S test may be indicated.

Dhea S production actually begins in the womb. When an infant is born, levels of Dhea S begin to decrease until just before puberty. Levels rise sharply in young adulthood, then decrease again at a rate of about two percent per year. The presence of Dhea S generally indicates high energy and excellent health; its decrease indicates the aging process or the possibility of illness. As people age, Dhea S levels tend to decline.

A Dhea S lab test is an important way to determine baseline levels. The baseline can tell if the patient is highly susceptible to stressors, signs of aging, weight problems, diabetes and even cancer. It can also indicate whether or not Dhea S supplements might be warranted or productive.

The purpose of the Dhea S tests and possible subsequent prescription of Dhea S supplements is to maintain the appropriate level of Dhea in the bloodstream throughout a person's lifetime. Research has shown that this maintenance can deter the advent of devastating diseases as people age. The same tests are performed for fertility testing in both men and women. No fasting is required before the test.

Related Lab Tests

Related tests include HGH (or Human Growth Hormone), Estradiol (in women estradiol acts as a growth hormone for tissue of the reproductive organs; in men, estradiol is manufactured in the testes and is designed to prevent apoptosis (death) of male sperm cells. PSA is prostate specific antigen used to detect prostate cancer, while IGF-1 is insulin-like growth factor and is used to detect signs of aging.

Testosterone (Free and Total) Testosterone is produced by both males and females. Small levels are produced by the adrenal gland. Testosterone is necessary for repair and regeneration of healthy tissue. Low levels of testosterone in both men and women are responsible for heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and low libido.