Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone produced by the body’s adrenal glands to produce the male and female sex hormones. DHEA levels peak at about age 25, then go down steadily as you get older. By the time people are 70 to 80 years old, their DHEA levels are only 10 to 20% of those in young adults.
Because levels of DHEA decline with age and in direct correlation to age-related diseases, researchers have wondered if DHEA could be considered an anti-aging hormone.
For any adults, low levels of DHEA are really important to recognize because they’re associated with:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease
- Memory loss
- Breast cancer
- Adrenal fatigue
- Erectile dysfunction
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
LETS DISCUSS THE DETAILS
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it simply makes sense to get your hormones tested, including your DHEA. At FEWL, we use the super-simple and easy-to-use urine hormone test (called the DUTCH test) to identify DHEA levels and to figure out how to correct the levels of this critically important anti-aging hormone.
Choosing a Supplement:
Just as important, we recommend the right lifestyle changes and the right supplements to correct DHEA levels. This is critical since the quality of DHEA supplements vary widely. Many products tested don’t have the amount of DHEA in them that the label says they do and worse, many not even contain a useable DHEA form.
Most DHEA supplements are produced in laboratories from diosgenin, a plant sterol extracted from Mexican wild yams (Dioscorea villosa). Some extracts from wild yams are marketed as “natural DHEA.” Advertisers claim that these “natural” extracts are converted into DHEA by the body. But this is not true. Your body can’t covert those extracts into DHEA. For this reason, it is best to look for labels that list DHEA rather than diosgenin or wild yam extract.
It is important to choose high quality DHEA supplements. One way to avoid buying a product with contaminated DHEA is to purchase it through a professional health care provider.
DHEA is available in capsules, tablets, chewing gum, sublingual (under the tongue) drops, and topical (on the skin) creams.
FEWL supplies different DHEA supplements to different clients, depending on their personal needs. You need to know what you need and when to use it – doing our dutch hormone test is critical to finding out. We do this because:
- Depending on your DUTCH test, you might need the actual hormone, or you might instead need the building-blocks of the hormone.
- There is a massive abuse of DHEA by both consumers and by retailers and practitioners who are not properly testing WHAT YOU NEED AND WHY YOU NEED IT: applying the wrong kind of DHEA supplement at the wrong time will cost you money and time but do you no benefit.
Other useful supplements for hormone balance in general and for DHEA include any of those listed in the FEWL Hormone Balance category.
In particular, FEWL’s hormone-clients do well with Stress Buster, Adrenal Support, Thyroid Pro, Methyl Support, Vitamin D and Stops Cravings as their go-to daily supplements.
Precautions: DHEA can react with some medications and with some medical conditions, which your FEWL coach will review with you if you were interested to learn more or if your DHEA levels were tested low and needed a strategy to correct them.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT CAN GO WRONG WHEN YOU HAVE LOW DHEA
Studies show DHEA helps reduce abdominal fat and improve insulin resistance. Other studies suggest that DHEA helps reduce inflammation in the arteries and reduce arterial stiffness.
Studies link low DHEA levels with an increase in heart disease.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Lupus or SLE is an autoimmune disorder. That means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue. Several studies show that taking DHEA along with other medications helps improve quality of life for people with lupus, though it probably does not change the overall course of their disease.
Several studies have found that some people who take DHEA supplements may be able take less prescription medication. DHEA may also reduce the frequency of flare ups, enhance mental function, and boost bone mass in women with lupus. Many studies use 200 mg per day of DHEA, which can raise levels of testosterone and lower HDL “good” cholesterol. One study found that a lower dose — 20 to 30 mg — might also work. Most of these studies have been small. More studies are needed to determine whether DHEA is safe and effective for people with lupus.
DHEA is one of the hormones made by the adrenal glands. With adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal glands do not make enough hormones, including DHEA and cortisol. That happens either because of problems with the pituitary gland or damage to the adrenal glands themselves (also called Addison’s disease).
Several studies suggest that taking DHEA may help improve mood, fatigue, and well being. In one study, women with this condition who took DHEA supplements reported improved sexuality and sense of well being, including fewer feelings of depression and anxiety.
Studies of people with major depression found that DHEA improved symptoms compared to placebo.
Preliminary studies suggest that DHEA may help reduce bone loss in older women. It doesn’t seem to have the same effect in men.
Studies in humans and animals find that DHEA balance by itself is only partially effective for weight loss, while balancing all the weight-related hormones is required for best results (all the hormones tested by the DUTCH test are related to body weight).
Because DHEA is converted to testosterone, studies of men have sown longer and more sustained erections with proper DHEA balance.
Improved libido in women
Research suggests that DHEA may help improve sex drive in older women (but not younger women).
Because levels of DHEA decline with age and in direct correlation to age-related diseases, researchers have wondered if DHEA could be considered an anti-aging hormone.
People with HIV tend to have low levels of DHEA. And these levels decrease even more as the disease progresses.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
DHEA levels appear to be low in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. A small study found that DHEA was effective for use in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Studies suggest that DHEA supplementation may be beneficial for other health conditions, including infertility, schizophrenia, cocaine withdrawal, anorexia nervosa, and dementia. More research is needed.
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