This is how DHEA decreases in your body during stress.
Under both acute and chronic stress, DHEA will decline even more rapidly than its expected aging decline.
This is a very unfortunate situation since the Adrenal Glands not only make DHEA, they are also dependent on healthy levels of DHEA to function properly themselves!
It is theorized that there are likely 4 stages of Adrenal Fatigue (called Adrenal Insufficiency or Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Dysfunction).
Here's what occurs during each stage ...
In the first stage of Adrenal Fatigue, DHEA will start to decline and is often in the low-normal to low reference range, while Cortisol will rise (often spiking) at least once during the course of the day.
In stage 2 of Adrenal Fatigue, DHEA continues to decline rapidly while Cortisol has returned back to a normal reference range. The normalization of Cortisol doesn’t represent anything positive at all if DHEA is low because this is actually a progression of Adrenal Fatigue. In fact, it is representing an even greater slowing of the Adrenal Glands ability to fight stress in the body. The less DHEA AND Cortisol are made, the more inflammation and potential infection in the body. At this stage, you are very tired and are pushing yourself to make it through the day. In some women, Pregnenolone, the precursor of DHEA will also start to decline.
In stage 3 of Adrenal Fatigue, DHEA is barely measurable and you will also see lower Pregnenolone levels (the hormone precursor of DHEA). Cortisol continues to decline. Fatigue is overwhelming in this stage, but even at this stage, a woman still has a good fighting chance to recover with natural treatment and without any use of drugs.
In stage 4 of Adrenal Fatigue, DHEA, Cortisol, and Pregnenolone are all very low - almost immeasurable. At this stage, a woman almost always needs supplemental Cortisol (Corticosteroid) to support the body’s need for this bioidentical steroid that reduces inflammation and helps protect against disease.