DHEA, also known as dehydroepiandrosterone, is a steroid-like hormone that is produced by our body’s adrenal glands. These glands are located just above the kidneys. DHEA can also be found in soy and wild yams. DHEA is known to be the most abundant steroid found in human plasma. Many users claim that DHEA could build muscle, improve sex drive, fight the effects of aging, and improve some health conditions.
The substance diosgenin which is found in soy is used to create DHEA supplements. DHEA is grouped in with nootropics because it can enhance mood and improve memory. DHEA is not the strongest cognitive enhancer available, however, it can increase energy and provide balance to a stronger nootropic stack.
Researchers don't know everything DHEA does. Be that as it may, they do realize that it functions as a precursor to male and female sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Precursors are substances that are changed over by the body into a hormone.
DHEA is known as a “parent” hormone because it is produced by the adrenal glands. More than 150 hormones are made by the adrenal glands. However, the most abundant is DHEA. Normally, about 10 to 15 mg of DHEA a day is secreted by the human body, and females are thought to have a lesser production by about 10 to 20 percent.
DHEA is converted into other substances. Firstly, it is converted into Androstenedione, which is a hormone that mainly acts as a stepping stone in the manufacture of testosterone and estrogen within the body. Secondly, DHEA is converted into both female and male sex hormones called estrogen and testosterone. In males, DHEA is also secreted by the testes.
Our body needs a natural supply of hormones. The reason why supplements are used is because hormones in our body tend to peak as we reach the age of 20’s and declines as we grow older. This is true in the case of DHEA – a natural hormone that plays an important role in fighting against aging and several other conditions.
One reason why supplementation is important is that aside from being a naturally produced chemical, our hormone levels decline as we age and as a result of numerous factors like illnesses. Every time you take DHEA supplement, it is like you are providing another shot of Androstenedione into your body. It helps in producing numerous benefits and that includes an increase in the number of male and female sex hormones.
DHEA provides numerous benefits to our body. This is widely used in the fitness community since DHEA increases the production of hormones like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, therefore it can offer a great help to athletes to gain muscle mass in a short amount of time and to have a faster recovery from intense workouts. Furthermore, unlike steroid or steroid-like supplements, DHEA could increase testosterone levels naturally.
DHEA diminishes insulin resistance and may have a synergistic impact when exercising by boosting fat loss specifically related to training. Studies have likewise demonstrated that this supplement diminishes the accumulation of belly fat, making it suitable for use as a weight reduction aid.
Many users reported that DHEA helps making them feel much younger and improves their mental energy. According to some narrative reports, DHEA can decrease fatigue, increase motivation and even improve libido. As a nootropic, this supplement is considered as an important steroid. Even though our brain does not contain any DHEA receptors, it has been shown that DHEA can decrease the number of death of premature brain cells and keeps our brain healthy.
As mentioned earlier, DHEA can fight the effects of aging. The explanation behind this is that since the level of hormones in our body declines as we grow old, by taking DHEA supplements, some effects of aging can be reduced or eliminated. There is not enough evidence to prove the life extension benefits of DHEA, however, it is believed to have positive effects in the body.
DHEA is also known to have positive effects on osteoporosis. As we age, a lot of diseases like lupus, an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin and organs, and anorexia can cause bone loss. Some experts believe that having higher levels of DHEA can increase bone mineral density especially to women who are undergoing menopause. There are some researches regarding the effectiveness of DHEA in increasing bone density.
Depression: A lot of studies have positive reports about the effectiveness of DHEA in treating depression. Recent research reports that major depression can be treated by increasing the levels of DHEA. However, long-term studies are needed in order to have firm conclusions on this.
Adrenal insufficiency: Adrenal insufficiency is a condition wherein the adrenal glands could not produce enough hormones. There is good evidence that support DHEA’s effectiveness in treating adrenal insufficiency. It was found out that DHEA improves health, quality of life, and hormone levels in individuals with adrenal insufficiency. However, additional research is needed in order to prove the effectiveness of DHEA on depression and heart health.
Weight loss: Most studies suggest that 7-keto, a product that contains DHEA could be helpful in increasing the body’s metabolism, thus, promoting weight loss. However, further studies are needed to support this.
Lupus: Women who are suffering from lupus tend to have low levels of DHEA. DHEA may boost the function of the immune system. Studies suggest that DHEA help improve symptoms of lupus. However, additional research is needed in this area.
AIDS/HIV: People who have AIDS/HIV can benefit from taking DHEA since it could help boost the immune system and blocks the reactivation of the disease. It has also been known that DHEA can be an alternative treatment for HIV-1 infection. However, there are conflicting evidences and further studies are needed in this area.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): DHEA can improve lung function in patients with COPD. However, more high-quality studies are needed to prove this.
Coronary artery disease: According to some researches, having high levels of DHEA could lead to lower risk of plaque formation in the arteries, thus, decreasing the risk of coronary artery disease. Other studies concluded that DHEA could decrease the incidence of heart attack in patients who are obese, having high cholesterol levels, and insulin resistant. However, additional researches are needed about the benefits of DHEA on cholesterol.
Diabetes: DHEA is also known to have positive effects on diabetes. It lowers blood sugar levels.
Muscular dystrophy: Muscular dystrophy or muscle weakness and wasting may be due to low levels of DHEA. Increasing the levels of DHEA could improve the condition of patients having this type of illness.
Schizophrenia: Early studies report that schizophrenic patients can benefit from taking DHEA supplement. However, some researches show that those people who have schizophrenia have high levels of DHEA. This theory is unclear and needs further study.
25 to 50 mg per day is the recommended dosage for DHEA. If you choose to take a dosage of 50 mg, it is advisable that you divide the everyday amount into half (25 mg). For those patients who are suffering from AIDS/HIV, mood disorders, and depression, a high dosage of 500mg each day should be given.
Although it is not yet proven, DHEA can be used a topical agent. Patients who are below the age of 18 years are not advised to take this supplement. It is highly recommended that you start at the lowest dose and gradually increase it when you have become familiar by its effects and workings on your body.
When taken in recommended dosages and orally, DHEA was reported to have few side effects. But a lot of people refuses to follow the guidelines on proper dosage of DHEA. Abnormal menstruation, headache, insomnia, and emotional changes are some reported side effects of DHEA to women. Other reported side effects of DHEA are headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, and rapid or irregular heartbeats.
DHEA is not recommended for those who have abnormal heart rhythms, liver disease, and blood clotting abnormalities. In rare cases, it causes masculinization in women and other hormonal related issues. Some reported to have facial hair (in women), deepening of the voice in women, stomach upset, increased sweating, greasy skin, fatigue, insomnia and testicular wasting.
Some of these side effects are due to DHEA increasing the testosterone and estrogen levels in the body. There are only very few studies about the long-term effects of DHEA in elevating hormone levels. It is vital that you should consult your physician or a health care professional before taking this supplement.
A lot of users reported that DHEA have been a very valuable supplement to them. It is always better to be careful and follow a correct dosing guideline when taking it since it would not be good to take it in high doses. Even those people who are weight lifters, and want to fight the effects of aging, it is advisable that they should be cautious when taking this type of supplement. Some users also report that DHEA enhances mental drive and energy.
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