DHEA and Depression

James Howard jmhoward at sprynet.com
Sun Jun 1 08:57:15 EST 1997


In 1985, I suggested that depression is the result of too little DHEA, the
main adrenal hormone.  (This is copyrighted; you may find the title and
other information about my 1985 book at http://www.naples.net/~nfn03605 on
the web.  I do not sell any book, product, or service, nor am I associated
in any manner or form with any entity (person, corporation, company, etc.)
that does.)

Earlier, I posted the second quotation (below), because it demonstrates
that DHEA, alone, may be useful in treating depression, even in cases that
are "treatment resistant."  Because electroshock therapy is known to
alleviate depression, I have long thought that this procedure must also
stimulate the release of DHEA.  Now, in the following quotation, a number
of chemicals are increased upon electroshock, but I want you to note that
DHEA is elevated, while cortisol is reduced.  The significance of this to
my theory is that I think cortisol evolved as an anti-DHEA hormone, as the
"fight or flight" mechanism.  It is reported in the following quotation
that electroshock not only elevates DHEA, but reduces the most important
anti-DHEA hormone, cortisol.  Below this, I am quoting the citation, again,
which shows that DHEA administration, alone, alleviates depression, to
strengthen support for my idea that DHEA reduction may result in
depression.  It may be that some of the other chemicals are necessary for
relief of depression, but I think DHEA is the key, and these two quotations
support this.  The use of DHEA for treatment of depression would not only
be a cheap treatment for depression, but DHEA has been proven to benefit
the immune system, the musculoskeletal system, etc.

Integr Physiol Behav Sci 31 (2): 88-95 (Apr 1996) 
"Physiological and therapeutic effects of high frequency electrical
pulses."  Liss S, Liss B

 "The results of stimulating human subjects with the LISS Cranial
Stimulator (LCS) and the LISS Body Stimulator (LBS) include an increase or
decrease in the activities of certain neurotransmitters and neurohormones
and the reduction of associated pain, insomnia, depression, and spasticity.
The effects were documented in human subjects with measurements of the
serum concentration of the various agents and assessments of the symptoms
being performed before and after stimulation. The stimulators had a carrier
frequency of 15,000 hz, which utilizes the bulk capacitance of the body,
and a 15 hz modulating bioactive frequency. The second modulating frequency
presently used, 500 hz, reduces the energy input to the patient by half.
Significant increases in levels of CSF serotonin and beta endorphin were
recorded post stimulation. There were also elevations in the levels of
plasma serotonin, beta endorphin, GABA and DHEA together with diminished
levels of cortisol and tryptophan. Concomitant with these changes were
significant improvements in the symptoms of pain, insomnia, spasticity,
depression, and headache."

This is the quotation from my earlier post on DHEA, Alzheimer's and
Depression:

Wolkowitz OM, et al., "Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) treatment of
depression,"  Biol Psychiatry 41 (3): 311-318 (1997)

"Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate, DHEA-S, are plentiful
adrenal steroid hormones that decrease with aging and may have significant
neuropsychiatric effects. In this study, six middle-aged and elderly
patients with major depression and low basal plasma DHEA and/or DHEA-S
levels were openly administered DHEA (30-90 mg/d x 4 weeks) in doses
sufficient to achieve circulating plasma levels observed in younger healthy
individuals. Depression ratings, as well as aspects of memory performance
significantly improved. One treatment-resistant patient received extended
treatment with DHEA for 6 months: her depression ratings improved 48-72%
and her semantic memory performance improved 63%. These measures returned
to baseline after treatment ended. In both studies, improvements in
depression ratings and memory performance were directly related to
increases in plasma levels of DHEA and DHEA-S and to increases in their
ratios with plasma cortisol levels. These preliminary data suggest DHEA may
have antidepressant and promemory effects and should encourage double-blind
trials in depressed patients."

James Howard



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