Dehydroepiandrosterone, or more commonly known as DHEA has taken the world by storm as a “wonder supplement” that treats a wide variety of ailments and diseases. But is DHEA really all that, or is it mostly hype?
DHEA is considered a “superhormone” that our body naturally produces. Today, it’s being promoted as an effective anti-aging supplement by beauty clinics and anti-aging programs.
DHEA works as a master hormone that is often converted into other kinds of hormone, mostly testosterone or estrogen. The benefits that one can get while taking DHEA will greatly vary depending on each case.
The top notable benefits of DHEA include:
– Lowers inflammation
– Boosts sex life
– Lowers diabetes risk and improves heart health
– Helps build muscle mass and lose weight
– Improves autoimmune functions
– Improves bone density
– Protects brain from neurodegeneration
Lowers Diabetes Risk and Improved Heart Health
Studies correlate DHEA with a lower cardiovascular risk, including high cholesterol, blood clots, clogged arteries and heart disease, along with insulin resistance in adults. DHEA is purportedly shown to lower inflammation, improve metabolism and improve our bodies’ insulin and glucose levels. Other studies have found that DHEA plays an important role in preventing atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease by interfering with destructive atherogenic enzymes and processes.
Improves Libido and Decreased Sexual Dysfunction
Research has shown that DHEA can help with erectile dysfunction, menopausal symptoms, hormonal imbalances and loss of libido. The results are mixed, but the same studies have found that individuals who are suffering from erectile dysfunction have a low DHEA presence. It is mentioned that DHEA can help both men and women who are suffering from declining sex hormones in some cases.
Aids in Muscle Gain and Weight Loss
DHEA is often a supplement found in patients who want to lose weight and for bodybuilders who want to build up muscle mass. 7-Keto is often the recommended DHEA supplement as it helps adults increase their metabolism levels while protecting them from age-related muscle loss and fat gain.
Expending energy and calorie intake are two important factors to consider when one wants to lose weight. DHEA helps directly in achieving both objectives by improving the body’s ability to burn fat and expend extra energy by increasing the metabolic rate. The natural steroid aids in fat burning processes, reducing insulin levels to manageable levels and in the distribution of glucose. Muscle mass is improved, which in turn allows one to burn excess fat even while at rest.
Prevents Mood Swings and Cognitive Decline
Studies have found that DHEA has a hand in lowering the state of depression and in improving the overall mood of patients. A supplementation of somewhere between 25 to 200 mg of DHEA may alleviate mood-related symptoms, irritability, excessive worrying, sadness, emotional numbness, lack of motivation and loss of energy.
DHEA works by balancing out the lacking hormones to stabilize the patient’s mood, i.e., lack of testosterone or estrogen. The supplement may also play a hand in increasing hormones that contribute to a better mood overall. The National Institute of Health has mentioned that DHEA may slow down Alzheimer’s disease and improve thinking in older people, though higher doses may be required. Further studies have found that an added 50 mg of DHEA taken every day for 1 month can prevent memory loss and improve vision for both middle-aged and elder individuals.
Almost any age-related concern is tied to inflammation in one way or another. A restoration of DHEA levels in the body can bring back youthful qualities and eliminate many age-related concerns. The supplement has an innate ability to balance needed hormones and lower inflammation by providing more energy, building up lean muscle mass and improving cognitive functions.
DHEA Side Effects
Side effects may vary from one individual to another. High doses of the supplement is not recommended. Since DHEA has a different effect depending on one’s physiology because all of us has a unique biochemistry.
Most of the side effects that come with DHEA are mild. In most cases, the user experiences congestion, insomnia, fatigue and headaches. As DHEA is often converted into testosterone or estrogen, some hormonal symptoms might develop. Mood changes, acne problems and abnormal periods in women are likely. Masculine characteristics such as forming facial hair or a deepening voice might develop as well. Men may develop high blood pressure and more breast tissue as a result of DHEA supplementation.
DHEA Clinical Trials
After so many clinical trials the evidence pointing to DHEA’s potency in helping with various diseases are generally inconclusive, with most of the trials having too small samples or being open label. Almost all of the trials presented below are randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled trials and had an oral dosage of gt_300 milligrams per day. Incremental increases in DHEA and DHEAS serums leveled off at a maximum dosage of 300 milligrams per day of DHEA; any more and it will have little to no added therapeutic value.
Well-Being and Cognition
50 milligrams of DHEA was administered daily to a control trial of patients ranging from age 40 to 70 in a placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial. In 2 weeks, the serum had restored DHEA levels to normal in both men and women to that of a young adult. The DHEA treatment improved 84 percent of the women and 67 percent of the men in terms of psychological and physical well-being. The only possible error is that a self-assessed, open-ended questionnaire was used to determine the study group’s well-being.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
DHEA has proven to be effective to a degree when treating SLE. A double-blind, random trial for women patients suffering from SLE were given DHEA at 200 milligrams per day for 3 months. The SLE activity was monitored and the score index for the patients who received DHEA decreased while those who were in the placebo group increased. The improvement was seen only in the visual analog scale component of the disease activity index score. Lupus activity lessened in the treated group as compared to the placebo group.
Postmenopausal Bone Density
A study comprised of double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial in 280 patients whose age ranged from 60 to 79 years were treated with 50 milligrams of DHEA per day for 12 months. A significant decrease in the biochemical marker regarding bone turnover and an increase in bone mineral density was observed in women 70 and above but not in other patients.
This article about DHEA hormone is not meant to treat any medical condition is for informative purpose only.