What is DHEA

What is DHEA?

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone naturally produced in the human body by the adrenal glands. It can be made in the laboratory from chemicals found in wild yam and soy. However, the human body cannot make DHEA from these chemicals, so simply eating wild yam or soy does not increase your DHEA levels.

DHEA levels go down as people get older. DHEA levels also seem to be lower in people with certain conditions like depression. Some researchers believe replacing DHEA with supplements might prevent a range of diseases and conditions
in the past athletes have been known to abuse DHEA to increase muscle mass, strength, and energy. DHEA reaches prime peak level around age 25 and decreases as you grow older. When this happens, your body begins to age.

Research has found that supplementing your body with DHEA to maintain a prime peak level has the potential to strengthen the immune system, combat age-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease, build lean muscle and reduce body fat and restore sexual vitality.

How effective is it?

  • To increase skin thickness and moisture, in older men and women.
  • Help reduce the number of times lupus symptoms flare up.
  • Help symptoms such as muscle ache and mouth ulcers.
  • To improve bone mineral density (BMD) in both older women and men.
  • Be helpful in treating some with schizophrenia.
  • To lower obesity, fat around the waist and high insulin levels.
  • To help overweight older people who are likely to get metabolic syndrome to lose weight.
  • To improve mood and help depression.
  • Improve HIV patients’ mental health and quality of life.
  • Improve symptoms of Addison’s disease.
  • Improve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • To help maturation in girls with hormone deficiency.
  • Improve muscle strength in older individuals.

In 1986 in the New England journal of medicine a study reported by taking 100mcgrams per decilitre increase in DHEA levels corresponded with a 48% reduction in mortality because of cardio vascular disease and a 36% reduction in mortality for any reason. In other words those people with higher levels of DHEA sulphate levels lived longer with a lower risk of heart disease!

What can someone expect if they start taking DHEA?

The younger you are the less effect it will have. For example DHEA levels reach their peak at about 25 years of age, but after that the levels decline

A 60-year old with low DHEA level, man or woman is going to see fairly dramatic changes in their body in a few weeks.

If you take DHEA today, tomorrow your body will have higher fat burning, produce more enzymes and create muscle.

By maintaining a high level of DHEA, the body is capable of maintaining a high level of metabolic efficiency, a higher respiratory efficiency, and a greater immune strength.

What is a typical dosage for men and women?

A man could take anywhere from 25 to 100 mg per day. The dose window for women would tend to go from maybe 10 mg. to maybe 50 mg. a day.

Dos and Don’ts

DHEA could be unsafe when using higher doses or when you are pregnant or breast-feeding as higher than normal levels of a male hormone called androgen might be harmful to the baby.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: DHEA is a hormone that can affect how estrogen works in the body. If you have any condition you believe might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, ask your GP.

Liver problems: DHEA might make liver problems worse. Don’t use DHEA if you have liver problems.

Depression and mood disorders: Patients with a history of depression and bipolar disorder might have some mental side effects if they use DHEA such as excitability,irritability, sexual inappropriateness. If you have a mood disorder, discuss DHEA with your GP before you start taking it. 

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