What is DHEA?
DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. DHEA is sometimes referred to as the “mother hormone” because the body converts it into two other well-known steroid hormones, estrogen and testosterone.
Every year past the age of 30, the body produces less and less DHEA. Because DHEA is used to produce male and female sex hormones, it has developed a reputation as a veritable fountain of youth. DHEA supplements are said to help make muscles bigger, speed up the metabolism, increase libido, and to prevent a variety of conditions associated with aging, including osteoporosis, arthritis, hardening of the arteries, and cancer.
DHEA is also currently being studied for its possible use as a treatment for autoimmune diseases, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and lupus. Preliminary studies seem to support the belief that DHEA can significantly strengthen the immune system.
DHEA levels are lower than normal in people with kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, anorexia, Addison’s disease, and AIDS. It is thought that certain prescription medications used to treat these disorders, such as insulin, corticosteroids, opiates, and danazol, may suppress the production of DHEA in the body.
Preliminary research suggests that DHEA may indeed help treat or prevent these diseases. People with currently taking these medications may want to supplement DHEA, but not without first consulting their physicians.
DHEA may indeed one day be proven to be a wonder drug. There have been several small studies performed that indicate DHEA may help treat numerous other disorders as well, including Crohn’s disease, depression, menopause, myotonic dystrophy, irregular menstrual cycle, schizophrenia, and erectile dysfunction, to name a few.
Enhanced mood, energy, and memory
Improved immune system
Boosted sex drive (especially in women)
Improved fat loss
More muscle mass
Reduced Autoimmune disorders
Less Heart Disease
The role of DHEA is being researched actively and internationally in the following areas:
Burn Out (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
Chrohn’s Syndrome (and Ulcerative Colitis)
Treatment of HIV
Treatment of Cholesterol
Aging Problems (especially of the skin)
** There are another two special areas where DHEA is having focused interest. These are the areas of DHEA and the brain, and its role with fats.
The Brain and DHEA:
While DHEA’s exact functions in the brain are (and they are under active study), there are some effects that are known, some of them very important. Firstly DHEA is a proven mood enhancer. This means that DHEA could be treatment for depression, and the symptoms affecting most people after the age of 50.
A lot of that depression is associated with decreased libido, energy and motivation depravation, anxiety, and emotional imbalances. DHEA have been shown to positively effect these conditions, so DHEA may help postpone the aging process in general, and specifically, make it a harmonious transition.
In another important study, it was shown that brain stem cells (in the laboratory) grew about 1/3 faster in a medium that contained DHEA, than in mediums with out it. There are ideas now to correlate this phenomenon to possible treatment of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The Heart and DHEA:
There is nothing that worries doctors more about heart disease than poor cardiovascular states. That means high cholesterol levels, platelet aggregation, high blood pressure, and high levels of triglycerols. Being overweight, and having too much fat on one’s body is a sure way to insure the above conditions.
DHEA has been shown to lower insulin levels. Lower insulin levels have themselves been linked to higher plasma ratios between lipolytic hormones and insulin. Also DHEA has been associated with a high efficiency level of lipolysis (weight loss of fat).
Ask your doctor for the proper doses of DHEA.
The South Korean government has recently announced a research program on how to keep their aging population young and active.
In that study, and many others on-going around the world, one natural hormone stands out as giving the greatest promise. That is DHEA.
DHEA supplements are available in tablets, capsules, and topical cream. It is also added to many combination supplements that claim to increase muscle mass, longevity, libido, etc.
If you think you have low DHEA levels, a simple blood or saliva test at your physician’s office is the best way to confirm this. While there have been no reports of toxic side effects from DHEA, there is some evidence that DHEA could feed tumors that are stimulated by estrogen and testosterone.
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