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Low DHEA And Normal DHEA-s

Are you having problems with high DHEA sulfate or low DHEA levels?  Maybe you're wondering what the relationship is between DHEA and DHEA sulfate.  In this article, we answer a question about what it means to have a low level of DHEA and normal level of DHEA-s.  We will look at the relationship between these two molecules, the enzymes involved and other things that might be going on when you have a low DHEA and normal DHEA-s.   Looking at this question will be helpful for those with high and low DHEA levels as it requires us to look at another aspect of where the DHEA is going and coming from.   


DHEA Verses DHEA-s Levels

If you are not familiar the diagram in the video above, it will be helpful to understand how the molecules can be interconverted.   DHEA is the unconjugated form of DHEA and can then turn into the other sex hormones or steroids. The video above contains a diagram showing the relationship and the enzymes involved with the interconversion.  It is generally assumed that DHEA is readily converted into DHEA sulfate via sulfation enzymes. They are referred to as SULT enzymes. 

It is specifically the SULT A1 and SULT B1 that make the conversion from the unconjugated form to the conjugated form.  This enzyme adds on a sulfate molecule on.  The sulfur transferase enzymes takes off the sulfur group.  Then DHEA and not DHEA sulfate, can be used to make androstenedione which then goes on to make testosterone.  It can also turn into estrone via the aromatase enzyme.  Testosterone can be turned into estradiol through the same enzyme. 

The person's question was "what does it mean (or what could the problem be) if you have low DHEA but normal DHEA-s.  Well one thing that could be happening is these SULT enzymes are sped up.  With this more DHEA is converted to DHEA-s.  The activity of enzymes can change based one certain environmental things going on inside your body.  There are also genetic factors that could also be sped up enzymes.  

 One specific SNP associated with this is the rsid rs12861247.  This SNP was associated with lower sulfur transferase enzyme activity.  So that you get a buildup of DHEA-s and maybe less of DHEA.  In our case the level is DHEA-s was normal and the DHEA level was low.  This genetic alteration could still account for this picture. 



Low DHEA Normal DHEA-s Context

It could also be that one of the HSD enzymes is sped up making more androgens or more estrone and estradiol.  So it's hard to say for sure what's going on in any specific scenario.   Context is king when it comes to interpreting what's going on in any individual.  You have to know what's going on at the individual level. 

For instance, are you having hormonal symptoms? Does it seem more like you are having hormonal symptoms (PMS, heavy cycles more symptoms around cycles, headaches, etc)?  Are you having more androgenic symptoms or does it seem more estrogen-based.   These types of questions and answers will help us understand what could be going on with the enzymes.  You can then work backwards to understand what you can do to manipulate the enzymes in your favor.  

The elevation or deficiency in DHEA or DHEA-s may not be a problem depending how high or low they are.  It really just depends on what's going on with your body.  If you do have symptoms or problems, this could be a clue and you can work backwards to understand what's going on with the enzymes.  That should help you understand what you can do to resolve the symptoms that you have. 

This should give you a better understanding of what could be going on with your body when you have low DHEA and normal DHEA-s.  If you have questions about the content in this article, please ask it in the comment section below.

If you want a customized plan on optimize your DHEA levels, click in the link below to get started. 

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