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Author Topic: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?  (Read 28069 times)

Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2015, 09:11:33 pm »
Just to jump in about melatonin, I think the difference is the bioavailability and not so much the timing.  So taking melatonin in tablet form means it would work as soon as it's digested, but because it goes through the liver the bioavailability is much lower.  I take 1 mg sublingual tablets, and the difference was huge compared with regular tablets in terms of how sleepy I got: http://www.amazon.com/Source-Naturals-Melatonin-Orange-Tablets/dp/B001B7HYZK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1427404232&sr=8-4&keywords=melatonin+sublingual

It's also worth noting that your melatonin gets released, obviously, naturally in your body anyways, and this happens a few hours before you're sleepy enough to go to bed.  Also, less is best: your body produces ideally 300 mcg, so taking something like I do (1 mg sublingual) is closer than the horse doses most people take. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

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Deaglan

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2015, 09:28:46 pm »
Kierkegaard, you know your stuff! I am tempted to try a lower dosage as you suggest. 1 mg is probably much more natural for circadian rythym benefit. I'm also interested in the antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic benefits of melatonin; which for these benefits it's between 3 and 5mg. What types of adverse reactions would a 5mg dosage give? Maybe having more difficulty awakening, or a sedated feeling in the morning?

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2015, 09:28:46 pm »


Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2015, 09:37:04 pm »
Kierkegaard, you know your stuff! I am tempted to try a lower dosage as you suggest. 1 mg is probably much more natural for circadian rythym benefit. I'm also interested in the antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic benefits of melatonin; which for these benefits it's between 3 and 5mg. What types of adverse reactions would a 5mg dosage give? Maybe having more difficulty awakening, or a sedated feeling in the morning?

Either sedated or some people feel *less* of an effect the higher their dose is.  Nobody seems to know why that is.  But taking 1 mg will get you closer, relative to how much bioavailability your form (pill, sublingual, etc.) provides, to the 300 mcg requirement. BTW, melatonin also lowers cortisol -- or at least is negatively correlated with cortisol: as one goes down, the other goes up and vice versa. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

Deaglan

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2015, 09:47:05 pm »
Well, I certainly don't want to decrease cortisol too much, seeing as I'm probably too low to begin with. Damn!

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2015, 09:47:05 pm »


Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2015, 09:53:50 pm »
Well, I certainly don't want to decrease cortisol too much, seeing as I'm probably too low to begin with. Damn!

That was just an afterthought.  I wouldn't worry about it.  At most you'll probably feel nothing rather than worse if there is an effect.  After all, your cortisol is already low or decreasing because of your circadian rhythms (gets low at night, highest in the morning).   
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

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Deaglan

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2015, 10:11:31 pm »
Well, I certainly don't want to decrease cortisol too much, seeing as I'm probably too low to begin with. Damn!

That was just an afterthought.  I wouldn't worry about it.  At most you'll probably feel nothing rather than worse if there is an effect.  After all, your cortisol is already low or decreasing because of your circadian rhythms (gets low at night, highest in the morning).


Hormone modulation must be the most complex of all medicine.
So, if my cortisol is low then why would I have problems sleeping assuming this is related to melatonin production? Wouldn't melatonin increase if cortisol is low? I've read some articles from Dr. Lam, and he says that in adrenal fatigue cortisol will go very high, before going very low. I don't have labs drawn for another 3 weeks, but all of my symptoms point to lower cortisol levels instead of higher.

Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2015, 12:34:12 am »
Well, I certainly don't want to decrease cortisol too much, seeing as I'm probably too low to begin with. Damn!

That was just an afterthought.  I wouldn't worry about it.  At most you'll probably feel nothing rather than worse if there is an effect.  After all, your cortisol is already low or decreasing because of your circadian rhythms (gets low at night, highest in the morning).


Hormone modulation must be the most complex of all medicine.
So, if my cortisol is low then why would I have problems sleeping assuming this is related to melatonin production? Wouldn't melatonin increase if cortisol is low? I've read some articles from Dr. Lam, and he says that in adrenal fatigue cortisol will go very high, before going very low. I don't have labs drawn for another 3 weeks, but all of my symptoms point to lower cortisol levels instead of higher.

Yeah, it's all definitely complicated.  I'm currently having a love affair with cortisol, though, but I'm still learning.  My sense is having too low cortisol is bad only because cortisol is what your body uses to "tone down" ACTH and therefore other adrenal hormones (including epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are the real stress-feeling hormones), so low cortisol means your body isn't able to bounce back as quickly or as well if your stress is high, because technically stress involves norepinephrine levels going up in the brain, which leads to the hypothalamus being activated via CRH --> ACTH --> adrenal hormones (e.g., DHEA, preg, prog, most importantly cortisol) --> cortisol sweeps back up to the hypothalamus and based on its level (too high, too low, just right) the hypothalamus in turn releases a response dose of CRH --> ACTH --> adrenal hormones --> etc.  HOWEVER, if you have low cortisol, then the degree to which your cortisol is lowered (because of TRT) will determine how much and how long you experience stress and therefore epinephrine/norepinephrine, because these hormones (and others) are more free to "run amuck" because cortisol isn't pulling it down as much through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. 

IN SHORT, I wouldn't worry about melatonin lowering cortisol, because I would doubt it would lower cortisol significantly more than it's already being lowered given your body is *already* producing its own melatonin and therefore cortisol is already well on its way to being lowered.  Also, melatonin, like anything exogenous or endogenous, has a half life, and what's especially helpful about keeping a low dose (like your body needs) is you metabolize the exogenous melatonin (pill form, etc.) faster.  Which is why some people who take the usual horse dose 5-10 mg complain of feeling groggy the next morning -- because they still have too much melatonin in their systems!  Which is also why bright light therapy, or phototherapy, or just going the hell outside in the morning when you get around 10,000 lux of sunlight can help you wake up: bright light triggers cortisol to increase and shuts down melatonin. 

Are you thinking you have adrenal fatigue?  Because there are multiple stages involved in that, which Dr. Lam does a fantastic job of explaining on his site.  If you're into AF, I'd highly recommend James Wilson's book, Adrenal Fatigue. 

Anyways, more rambling below.

What I'm trying to figure out is exactly how something like an estered testosterone dose (or to a less degree HCG monotherapy, given its vastly shorter half life than cypionate) suppresses cortisol (assuming no preg/prog backfilling).  My theory is that cortisol suppression is continuous and proportionate to how much exogenous T is being released in your body at any time.  Which means you have the most cortisol suppression as your T is reaching its peak (e.g., 24 hours after injection with cypionate, hours with HCG), following which the body is like "hey, we're going in another direction," which means cortisol goes from being suppressed and too low to turning around and starting to go higher.  So technically should mean that as your cypionate dose is peaking, your body is producing less and less cortisol which means you're less and less able to bounce back from stress-triggered reactions and/or epinephrine and norepinephrine (and other adrenal hormones) in general -- and this means symptoms such as heartrate changes, blood pressure changes, etc.  Other hormones are involved in the adrenal cascade, such as aldosterone (lower cortisol means higher ACTH and therefore higher aldosterone levels), which is probably why we have symptoms such as bloating and water retention.  This means it's not "just" estradiol that's responsible or associated for this but rather cortisol suppression, and insofar as higher estradiol correlates with symptoms in any individual user of cypionate (etc. TRT) an individual will have symptoms insofar as estradiol influences cortisol production (and so far I'm unsure about whether estradiol or estrogens in general increase, decrease, or don't affect cortisol at all).  Translation: there's more than can go wrong with TRT than just too much or too little estradiol!  We have to add cortisol to the picture, and that could be the real culprit in making guys feel crappy, and not anything intrinsic to estradiol -- given that the water retention, for example, that people experience with higher estradiol (and I also experience with lower estradiol) is a function of aldosterone levels, and aldosterone levels are determined primarily by (you guessed it) cortisol levels. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 12:42:18 am by Kierkegaard »
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

PeakT

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2015, 06:01:16 am »
Just to jump in about melatonin, I think the difference is the bioavailability and not so much the timing.  So taking melatonin in tablet form means it would work as soon as it's digested, but because it goes through the liver the bioavailability is much lower.  I take 1 mg sublingual tablets, and the difference was huge compared with regular tablets in terms of how sleepy I got: http://www.amazon.com/Source-Naturals-Melatonin-Orange-Tablets/dp/B001B7HYZK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1427404232&sr=8-4&keywords=melatonin+sublingual

It's also worth noting that your melatonin gets released, obviously, naturally in your body anyways, and this happens a few hours before you're sleepy enough to go to bed.  Also, less is best: your body produces ideally 300 mcg, so taking something like I do (1 mg sublingual) is closer than the horse doses most people take.

Trader Joe's has 500 mcg tablets.  I bit one in half.  If you're not over 45, I doubt you would need melatonin from what I have read:

http://www.peaktestosterone.com/melatonin_therapy

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOK ON TRT/TESTOSTERONE:
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If you are on medications or have a medical condition, always check with your doctor first before making any lifestyle changes or taking new supplements.  And low testosterone is a medical condition.

Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2015, 01:25:58 pm »
Just to jump in about melatonin, I think the difference is the bioavailability and not so much the timing.  So taking melatonin in tablet form means it would work as soon as it's digested, but because it goes through the liver the bioavailability is much lower.  I take 1 mg sublingual tablets, and the difference was huge compared with regular tablets in terms of how sleepy I got: http://www.amazon.com/Source-Naturals-Melatonin-Orange-Tablets/dp/B001B7HYZK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1427404232&sr=8-4&keywords=melatonin+sublingual

It's also worth noting that your melatonin gets released, obviously, naturally in your body anyways, and this happens a few hours before you're sleepy enough to go to bed.  Also, less is best: your body produces ideally 300 mcg, so taking something like I do (1 mg sublingual) is closer than the horse doses most people take.

Trader Joe's has 500 mcg tablets.  I bit one in half.  If you're not over 45, I doubt you would need melatonin from what I have read:

http://www.peaktestosterone.com/melatonin_therapy

That's probably the best, considering it augments how much your body is already releasing. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

Sighalot

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2015, 11:24:10 pm »
Also, less is best: your body produces ideally 300 mcg, so taking something like I do (1 mg sublingual) is closer than the horse doses most people take.
Read last week its lower then previously believed, 100mcg for women and 150mcg for men.



Trader Joe's has 500 mcg tablets.  I bit one in half.  If you're not over 45, I doubt you would need melatonin from what I have read:

http://www.peaktestosterone.com/melatonin_therapy
Im using 1mg capsules, the lowest legal dose available and i open the capsules on a bit of tin foil and dip my finger to catch 1/3.
Twice i tried it and twice i feel asleep very fast so perhaps the melatonin goes straight into the blood, looks a bit suspicious for the wrong person thou  with white powder on tin foil ::)

sifter

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2015, 12:25:56 am »
There are many guys who use HCG alongside their TRT and receive fantastic benefits; and there are others who do TRT solo. My question is how would TRT with DHEA/pregnenolone compare to doing TRT with HCG? I want to backfill the pathways that have been suppressed from TRT; however my doc isn't definite about adding HCG alongside my TRT, just yet.

Definitely worth a shot!  As you probably know, exogenous testosterone shuts down the P450scc enzyme which converts cholesterol to pregnenolone.  Consequently, very insightful docs are down with supplementing pregnenolone to (as you say) backfill the lowered preg from exogenous T.  Some guys even supplement with both preg and progesterone, presumably because you can only do so much with supplementation and therefore a limited (but significant) amount of preg will convert to DHEA and progesterone (which will eventually convert to cortisol).  To me, the most important benefit with going HCG plus T is keeping your cortisol up to snuff; however, there are also inherent advantages to preg, progesterone, and DHEA, such as preg's ability to help cognition.

What's the difference between backfilling and HCG?  The latter keeps the P450scc enzyme afloat, yielding a more organic functioning of the pregnenolone line rather than the artificial supplementation.  HCG keeps the enzyme afloat through LH, which also means you'll get a double whammy of normally functioning preg as well as fertility.  If that's important to you.

Some guys even take HCG while supplementing with preg, because as we age our leydig cells die, so HCG loses its effect, causing less of the activation of the P450scc enzyme. 

If you supplement, go with sublingual or transdermal preg or progesterone, because with oral supplements your liver kills a lot of the bioavailability.

Very good info Kierkegaard! Thank you!  So, because of the HPTA suppression from exogenous T, would this limit supplemental DHEA/pregnenolone from converting to their metabolites like 4-dione, progesterone, and cortisol via lack of their enzymes or in the abscence of LH?

That's the theory!  And one that Crisler et al. ascribe to.  But like with Peak, it's hard to find solid evidence for it.

Ok, I'm confused. Are you saying that supplemental DHEA and pregnenolone without HCG  have the ability to convert to their metabolites; or are you saying that without HCG  the supplements can't convert to their metabolites?

Theoretically the former.  As I see it, HCG (because it restores P450scc through LH function) is the "real deal" whereas preg/prog/DHEA supplementation is the fake one, both of which would restore the pregnenolone line (but presumably HCG would be better at it since it's more "organic").


I agree with Kierkegaard and some of the other posters- Both my Prog and Preg were crushed low out of range as I normalized my Test levels with HRT.  I was using a low-dose Progesterone in an attempt to backfill.  Have also considered some transdermal Preg but my doc had some concerns about where it would convert to- It is high up on the master hormone path-How do you direct it?

For this reason I just started limited dose HCG with my Test Cyp HRT.  Trying to see if the ancillary production of Preg and Prog by the testes will backfill so that my levels will improve to like it was before I started my Test Cyp.  I use The Genova Complete Hormones (Urine) to evaluate my levels.  BTW Genova publishes an interesting "Steriodogenic Pathways" chart :
http://www.gdx.net/images/webinar/Steroidogenic_Pathways_Chart.pdf

If it does not help to backfill these, I'll re-visit individual supps instead.


Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2015, 03:11:45 am »
There are many guys who use HCG alongside their TRT and receive fantastic benefits; and there are others who do TRT solo. My question is how would TRT with DHEA/pregnenolone compare to doing TRT with HCG? I want to backfill the pathways that have been suppressed from TRT; however my doc isn't definite about adding HCG alongside my TRT, just yet.

Definitely worth a shot!  As you probably know, exogenous testosterone shuts down the P450scc enzyme which converts cholesterol to pregnenolone.  Consequently, very insightful docs are down with supplementing pregnenolone to (as you say) backfill the lowered preg from exogenous T.  Some guys even supplement with both preg and progesterone, presumably because you can only do so much with supplementation and therefore a limited (but significant) amount of preg will convert to DHEA and progesterone (which will eventually convert to cortisol).  To me, the most important benefit with going HCG plus T is keeping your cortisol up to snuff; however, there are also inherent advantages to preg, progesterone, and DHEA, such as preg's ability to help cognition.

What's the difference between backfilling and HCG?  The latter keeps the P450scc enzyme afloat, yielding a more organic functioning of the pregnenolone line rather than the artificial supplementation.  HCG keeps the enzyme afloat through LH, which also means you'll get a double whammy of normally functioning preg as well as fertility.  If that's important to you.

Some guys even take HCG while supplementing with preg, because as we age our leydig cells die, so HCG loses its effect, causing less of the activation of the P450scc enzyme. 

If you supplement, go with sublingual or transdermal preg or progesterone, because with oral supplements your liver kills a lot of the bioavailability.

Very good info Kierkegaard! Thank you!  So, because of the HPTA suppression from exogenous T, would this limit supplemental DHEA/pregnenolone from converting to their metabolites like 4-dione, progesterone, and cortisol via lack of their enzymes or in the abscence of LH?

That's the theory!  And one that Crisler et al. ascribe to.  But like with Peak, it's hard to find solid evidence for it.

Ok, I'm confused. Are you saying that supplemental DHEA and pregnenolone without HCG  have the ability to convert to their metabolites; or are you saying that without HCG  the supplements can't convert to their metabolites?

Theoretically the former.  As I see it, HCG (because it restores P450scc through LH function) is the "real deal" whereas preg/prog/DHEA supplementation is the fake one, both of which would restore the pregnenolone line (but presumably HCG would be better at it since it's more "organic").


I agree with Kierkegaard and some of the other posters- Both my Prog and Preg were crushed low out of range as I normalized my Test levels with HRT.  I was using a low-dose Progesterone in an attempt to backfill.  Have also considered some transdermal Preg but my doc had some concerns about where it would convert to- It is high up on the master hormone path-How do you direct it?

For this reason I just started limited dose HCG with my Test Cyp HRT.  Trying to see if the ancillary production of Preg and Prog by the testes will backfill so that my levels will improve to like it was before I started my Test Cyp.  I use The Genova Complete Hormones (Urine) to evaluate my levels.  BTW Genova publishes an interesting "Steriodogenic Pathways" chart :
http://www.gdx.net/images/webinar/Steroidogenic_Pathways_Chart.pdf

If it does not help to backfill these, I'll re-visit individual supps instead.

How long were you on TRT before you noticed your preg/prog getting crushed, did it have any effect on cortisol, and any symptoms?  How long have you been on HCG?

I think you're doing this very insightfully, so keep us up to date on your results. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

electrify

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2015, 04:00:55 am »
Im not sure about the backfilling with hcg. Theoretically my cortisol levels shouldve gone up on it at first but then when i decreased the dose my cortisol dropped below what it started at. Look at 11-->13--->8.5.
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Kierkegaard

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2015, 04:27:14 am »
Im not sure about the backfilling with hcg. Theoretically my cortisol levels shouldve gone up on it at first but then when i decreased the dose my cortisol dropped below what it started at. Look at 11-->13--->8.5.

Not sure if I'm following.  The theory is that because HCG backfills preg and prog (and therefore boosts cortisol), it makes more sense to see a positive correlation between HCG dose and cortisol levels: as one goes up, the other does too.
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

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electrify

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2015, 04:41:11 am »
Im not sure about the backfilling with hcg. Theoretically my cortisol levels shouldve gone up on it at first but then when i decreased the dose my cortisol dropped below what it started at. Look at 11-->13--->8.5.

Not sure if I'm following.  The theory is that because HCG backfills preg and prog (and therefore boosts cortisol), it makes more sense to see a positive correlation between HCG dose and cortisol levels: as one goes up, the other does too.

Yep in theory thats what happens. Just for some reason my levels deviated from that theory after dropping the dose of HCG. However, my case is different since I also have low cholesterol levels (115 total, LDL in 50s somewhere) that i am now trying to raise. So perhaps there was just not enough raw material available to synthesize cortisol and thus it dropped since everything was being diverted to Testosterone.

But most people dont have cholesterol as low as mine so the general theory should apply. Cortisol should raise with HCG. Hypocholesterolemia may just cause a different reaction than expected?
Age:24

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Re: DHEA / Pregnenolone vs HCG?
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2015, 04:41:11 am »