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AIDS and Adrenal Hormones

Cortisol and DHEA are steroid hormones produced in the adrenal glands. They help regulate the body's stress response, thyroid function, metabolism, and immune function.

The progression of HIV infection is marked by important changes in adrenal hormone production. Cortisol levels increase, while DHEA, an androgen linked to improved mood, energy, and anti-cancer effects, decreases.1 This has led researchers to surmise that cortisol excess and/or DHEA deficiency may be the primary basis for the suppressed immune response occurring in AIDS.2,3

One leading research expert notes that high cortisol levels eventually wear down the resistance of the immune system and are actually capable of triggering the infections and symptoms characteristic of AIDS.4 What's more, protease-inhibitors used to treat AIDS patients can further increase the secretion of cortisol, causing disfiguring fat deposits in the back ("buffalo hump") and stomach as well as diabetes.5 A complete circadian analysis of cortisol over a 24-hour period can reveal important "peaks" in cortisol activity, when the immune system is vulnerable to dangerous infections and treatment side effects.

Experimental evidence shows that DHEA not only protects against certain viral infections, it serves as an independent predictor of AIDS progression in HIV infected men.6,7 Moreover, it appears that DHEA levels may affect the development and remission of Kaposi's sarcoma--which is often symptomatic of advanced AIDS.8

The Adrenal Stress Profile is a timed, noninvasive saliva test that measures the circadian secretion pattern of cortisol along with circulating level of DHEA. Results provide a strong foundation for addressing adrenal imbalances that may be influencing the progression of AIDS.

References:
1 Clerici M, Trabattoni D, Piconi S, Fusi ML, Ruzzante S, Clerici C, Villa M. A possible role for the cortisol/Anticortisols imbalance in the progression of human immunodeficiency virus. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1997;22 Suppl 1:S27-S31.
2 Christeff N, Gherbi N, Mammes O, Dalle MT, Gharakhanian S, Lortholoary O, Melchior JC, Nunez EA. Serum cortisol and DHEA concentrations during HIV infection. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1997;22 Suppl 1:S11-S18.
3 Corley PA. HIV and the cortisol connection: a feasible concept of the process of AIDS. Med Hypotheses 1995;44(6):483-9.
4 Sapse AT. Cortisol, high cortisol diseases and anti-cortisol therapy. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1997;22 Suppl 1:S3-10.
5 Sapse AT. Fifth Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Las Vegas, February 2-5 1998.
6 Jacobson MA, Fusaro RE, Galmarini M, Lang W. Decreased serum dehydroepiandrosterone is associated with an increased progression of human immunodeficiency virus infection in men with CD4 cell counts of 200-499. J Infect Dis 1991;164(5):864-868.
7 Mulder JW, Frissen PH, Krijnen P, Endert E, de Wolf F, Goudsmit J, Masterson JG, Lange JM. Dehydroepiandrosterone as a predictor for progression to AIDS in asymptomatic human immunodeficiency virus-infected men. J Infect Dis 1992;165(3):413-418.
8 Christeff N, Gharakhanian S, Thobie N, Wirbel E, Dalle MT, Costagliola D, Nunez EA, Rozenbaum W. J Clin Pathol 1997;50(4):341-45.


All lab tests can be done through the mail in the privacy of your own home, except blood tests, we send you to a lab to have your blood drawn for these. After you pay for the test we mail you the kit, the results take two weeks, the test results will be mailed to us and we will call you to go over the results, its that easy! All tests include the consultation for the report of findings.

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