DHEA (De-Hydro-Epi-Androsterone) is a hormone made by the adrenal gland, the testes and the brain. DHEA is a prohormone, that is it is used to make other hormones such as testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. DHEA is used by the body to make male and female sex hormones, the hormones that regulate the development and preservation of male sexual and body characteristics. DHEA is essential as men depend on it to retain and maintain their masculinity.
While most men are aware that he majority of the symptoms they face during andropause (the male menopause) are caused by decreased production of testosterone (Low-T) by their testes, what they may unaware of is that their decline in testosterone production is commonly also linked to the decreased production of DHEA as well. Typically, DHEA levels begin to fall starting around age 25 to 30 and continue to fall, often gradually, throughout a the remainder of their life.
DHEA and the stress hormone cortisol generally have an inverse relationship, the more stress an individual experience the lower their circulating DHEA. Hence individuals under a great deal of stress can definitely benefit form taking DHEA supplementation. DHEA supplementation offers an added benefit of helping to keep all male, female and stress hormones balanced and functioning optimally.
DHEA, is one of the most important steroid hormones in the body. It plays an important role in masculinity, vitality, virility, stress, immunity, growth and healing. Illness, stress, adrenal fatigue, and age all reduce circulating levels of DHEA. These decreased levels of DHEA in turn can lead to or cause deficiency syndromes that produce a host of symptoms which reduce quality of life and lead to even more illness. Nutritional supplements can augment DHEA, but people should use these only after consulting a doctor.
Adequate DHEA levels can help:
• Increase sense of well-being and feelings of wellness hence increases overall quality of life
• Increase circulating and free testosterone levels
• Improve libido
• Decreases allergic reactions
• Restore and build muscle mass
• Prevent blood clots
• Increases bone growth
• Improve the body fat to muscle ratio
• Increases brain function and improve both long and short term memory
• Activate and improve the immune system
• It helps the body repair itself and maintain tissue
• Promote joint, muscle and body flexibility
• Raise stamina and endurance levels
• Decrease fatigue and depression
• Adequate DHEA reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and protects against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, infertility, Rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, immune system failure and depression.
• DHEA strengthens the body against the destructive effect of stress and excess cortisol production.
• Because DHEA plays such an important role in the proper function and balance of your hormone system, when DHEA levels are low there may be significant difficulty in balancing other hormones and hence maintaining optimal health and wellness.
Low levels of DHEA can cause symptoms including:
• Promotes andropause
• Promotes aging
• Cause fatigue
• Cause loss of strength and muscle mass
• Cause depression
• Cause weight gain
• Cause insomnia
• Cause aching joints and muscles
• Cause decreased sex drive, libido
• Cause impairment of immune system and its ability to function
• Low DHEA is associated with cardiovascular disease and heart attack, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides
• Low DHEA is associated with diabetes as adequate DHEA levels lowers insulin and facilitate proper blood sugar regulation
DHEA should only be taken by prescription. DHEA supplementation is great way for men to regain vitality and virility. As with any supplement, you should consult your doctor before taking DHEA. For men, healthy levels of DHEA can help prevent prostate cancer; however, men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer should not take DHEA as it may increase the risk of prostate tumors.
DHEA and Longevity
There rare now many studies which tell us that proper DHEA levels are vital importance in supporting good optimal health and well-being. With few exceptions, low or deficient DHEA is found in every illness. Finding these low levels of DHEA has convinced many leading researchers to conclude that optimal levels of DHEA are critical to a properly functioning immune system and protecting against future illness.
Perhaps most critically, DHEA appears to block carcinogenesis. Several studies have concluded that low levels of DHEA may be associated with a shorter lifespan.
Conversely, healthy levels of DHEA appear to be a “strong predictor” of longevity, and a lower incidence of illness and disease. Even as little as a 10% increase in DHEA levels appears to be associated with as much as a nearly 50% decrease in mortality from all causes.
Treatment for Low DHEA
While there is no universally approved mandate that everyone with low DHEA levels be treated. Most physicians working in the area of prevention and longevity generally agree that if DHEA level are low the patient should be prescribed DHEA supplementation with the goal of bring DHEA levels into the normal range.
Nicotine inhibits the production of 11-beta-hydroxylase which is needed to make DHEA), therefore you should not smoke if you are deficient in DHEA and while on DHEA replacement.
Symptoms of the Excess DHEA Can Cause
• Deepening of voice
• Mood changes
• Weight gain
• Sugar cravings
• Restless sleep
• Oily skin and acne, as well as skin thickening
• Stomach upset
• Hair loss