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Why are the DHEA-S optimal ranges so high?

Unfortunately, starting at about age 28, DHEA levels in both men and women start to decline.

You can see this by looking at the reference ranges for various age levels. The highest range, as expressed by Quest Diagnostic Labs,  is for the 22 - 30-year-old range:

As levels of DHEA decline, we get a loss of anabolic drive i.e. the drive for cellular repair and healing accelerates with advancing age so that by age 70, most people are producing only 10-15% of the DHEA they were producing in their twenties. This falloff is more pronounced in men than in women. The production of DHEA can be reliably determined by measuring DHEA sulfate in serum or by measuring DHEA metabolites in a urine sample. DHEA levels can also be measured in the saliva as part of the Adrenal Stress Profile or ASP. As opposed to what is “normal” in the aging population, leading endocrinologists believe that optimal restoration of the anabolic drive will be achieved by maintaining DHEA at the level of a healthy 30-year-old, which is why our optimal ranges are 350 - 490 in men and 275 - 390 in women - the upper 2/3rds of the range for 30-year-old men and women.

High levels of DHEA are strongly associated with longevity. Some scientists believe that the drop in levels of DHEA and DHEA-S—and the consequent decline in levels of testosterone and estrogen—may be related to many common age-related conditions, including diseases of the nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems. Other conditions now believed to be related to diminished levels of DHEA and its end products include cancer, osteoporosis, and type II diabetes. Low levels of DHEA are also associated with increased mortality in a number of disease states, and one study in the New England Journal of Medicine found low DHEA to be associated with increased risk of death from all causes.

The position of Dr. Weatherby and Optimal DX is to keep DHEA-S levels at the upper 2/3rds of the range for 22 - 30-year-olds.