DHEA supplements are becoming quite popular. And for the right reasons: DHEA supplements has the potential for a wide range of health benefits. As an endocrinologist, I have an in-depth knowledge about DHEA. In this article, I will explain the followings:
- What is DHEA anyway?
- Why DHEA levels go down?
- Symptoms of low DHEA
- What are the potential benefits of DHEA supplements, supported by the clinical studies?
- What are the side-effects of DHEA Supplements?
- Dose of DHEA supplements
What is DHEA anyway?
DHEA stands for DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE. It is a hormone which is produced mainly by the adrenal glands – two tiny structures sitting on top of your kidneys. DHEA is also produced by the testis, ovaries, skin, and brain. DHEA that comes from the adrenal glands is sulfated DHEA. It is called DHEA-S (DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE Sulfate.)
DHEA is produced from cholesterol. There is some concern that too low of cholesterol may decrease your DHEA levels.
DHEA also converts into testosterone and estrogen in both women and men.
Why do DHEA levels go down?
- Age – Your DHEA levels go down as you age. It is called “adrenopause”. By the age of 70–80 years, your level of DHEA may be as low as 10%–20% of your young age.
- severe systemic illness
- anorexia nervosa
- adrenal insufficiency
Symptoms of Low DHEA
Symptoms of low levels of DHEA include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Weak muscles
- Weak bones
- Decreased sense of well-being
- Poor immune function
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex in women
You should have your DHEA level checked by your healthcare practitioner if you suspect low DHEA level. It can tested in the blood or saliva.
Potential Benefits of DHEA supplements
As mentioned above, most of us end up having low DHEA as we age. But, there is good news. With DHEA supplements we can boost our DHEA levels back into the healthy range. Numerous scientific studies support the following health benefits of DHEA supplements:
May improve muscle mass and prevent fracture
Most people break their bones after they take a fall. One of the major risk factors for falls in the elderly is muscle weakness. Your muscle mass decreases with age at a rate of 6% per decade, beginning around age 45. The risk for a bone fracture goes high as we age: 51% for women and 20% for men after the age of 50 are at risk of having a bone fracture.
Studies show DHEA supplementation may improve your body composition, muscle strength, and physical performance.(1,2,3,4)
DHEA Supplementation may improve bone density
In post-menopausal women, several studies show a beneficial effect of DHEA supplement on the bone density. 2,67,8,9
Positive effects of DHEA supplement on bone density have also been reported in men as well.7,8,10,11
DHEA Supplements may improve depression
Low levels of DHEA have been related to depression. 12,13 DHEA supplementation has been shown to improve depression.15,16,17
DHEA may be good for the cardiovascular health
Animal studies have suggested a beneficial effect of DHEA against atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. 18,19,20,21
Indeed, low DHEA predicted ischemic heart disease in a group of men in a 9-year follow-up study.22
Other researchers found an inverse relationship between DHEA levels and atherosclerosis of the common carotid artery. In other words, the lower the DHEA levels, the higher the risk of hardening of the common carotid arteries.23
Low DHEA levels were also associated with more severe coronary atherosclerosis in 206 middle-aged individuals. 24
Scientific studies supports a relationship between heart failure and low DHEA levels. In men, low DHEA has been associated with higher overall and cardiovascular mortality.25 In the same study, an increase of DHEA levels by 100 μg/dL was associated with a reduction of all cause mortality by 36% and cardiovascular mortality by 48%.25
DHEA supplements may improve sexual function in men and women
Low DHEA levels have been related to a higher risk for erectile dysfunction.26, 27,28 Scientific studies show DHEA supplementation may improve erectile function, desire, sexual interest, sexual activity, arousal, and fantasy.29
In one study, intra-vaginal administration of DHEA in women improved sexual arousal, sensation, lubrication, orgasm, and pain during sexual activity.30
In another study intra-vaginal administration of DHEA was effective for reversing vaginal atrophy in post-menopausal women. 31
The risk for breast cancer does not seem to increase with DHEA. 32
Side-effects of DHEA Supplements
Use of DHEA supplement is generally safe.
In women, only minimal adverse effects have been reported such as mild acne, seborrhea, facial hair growth, and ankle swelling. In a study, no adverse effects were observed on endometrium – lining of the uterus – or breast. 32
However, you probably should avoid DHEA supplements if you have – or a history of – breast or endometrial cancer. Men with prostate cancer should avoid DHEA supplements.
Discuss with your healthcare professional before taking DHEA supplement.
Dose of DHEA Supplements
Usual dose of DHEA supplement is 25-50 mg per day. Doses up 100 mg have been used in clinical studies and found to be safe. It is a good idea to start low such as 25 mg dose and then increase slowly.
Dr. Z’s Vitamins – DHEA
- Each capsule contains 25 mg of DHEA – Dehydroepiandrosterone, which is the usual starting amount of DHEA.* Formulated by an Endocrinologist.
- SUPPORTS: Mood, Balanced Hormone levels, Healthy Immune Function, Energy Production, Brain and Heart Health, Healthy Body Composition and Overall Well-Being.*
- HIGHEST QUALITY: We use only the Highest Quality Ingredients. Sourced from a GMP-Certified facility in the USA, which are the Highest Standards of Manufacturing Dietary Supplements.*
- MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: We Care About Your Experience. So We Offer Money Back Guarantee! Get Full Refund If You Are Not Satisfied. Simply Return the Product Within 30 Days of the Purchase.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product in not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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