|DHEA plays important roles in aging, immune function, hormonal modulation and possibly cancer. DHEA has been shown to be a precursor , for various sexual hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. DHEA, it does work, for chronic disease and anti-aging, But.... Also see: DHEA, The Multi-Functional Hormone||
DHEA, Anti-Aging and Improved Immune Function
DHEA has been called "the mother of all Hormones", "DHEA the Super hormone" and has been promoted as Anti-Aging or the Youth Hormone on TV, in print and on the internet. DHEA has claimed to help us live longer, lose weight, prevent cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, fight aids and fight a host of other infectious diseases.
DHEA, So what is the truth behind all these claims, and what do we know about DHEA.
DHEA is a human hormone naturally produced in the body by the adrenal glands. It circulates in the blood stream and is converted into other hormones like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and corticosterone. However, your body's production of DHEA reaches its peak between the ages of 20 and 30, and then rapidly declines. By the age of 80, DHEA levels are less than 10 or 20% of what they were at peak levels. A strong link between low DHEA and age related disease has been documented in a number of studies. Since DHEA does decline with age and low levels as associated with certain serious diseases it does follow that supplementing your naturally produced DHEA may reverse or at least delay many of the diseases associated with low DHEA levels and aging.
DHEA Research - So the hypothesis behind DHEA and better health does seem logical but what does the research say.
In rats, mice and other animals DHEA supplements have been shown to promote fat loss, improve memory, boost the immune system, reduce cancer, heart disease and diabetes. So far so good, but rodents are not people and history has shown that what works on animals does not always work on humans. Next, how has DHEA faired in human Studies? To date there has only been short-term human studies completed on DHEA, however, many have shown promising results.
DHEA and Anti-Aging
As we age DHEA levels decline along with other Male and Female Hormones. Many health professionals believe that this decline in hormone levels are associated with age-related problems such as reduced muscle mass, decline in immune function and memory loss. In fact, the main interest in DHEA, is how it relates to aging and chronic disease.
In one study involving men and women between the ages of 40-70, were given 50 milligrams of DHEA over a 6 month period. Within 2 weeks DHEA blood levels were restored to levels found in young adults and were maintained during the period of supplementation. Both the men and women reported, perceived improvement in physical and physiological well-being, 67% and 84% respectively. There were no reported side effects.
In another study healthy elderly women and men were given either 50 mg of DHEA or a placebo daily for one year. As in the above study DHEA, were increased to more youthful levels. Along with improved feeling of well-being, improved skin condition was also observed. In addition to a re-establishment of more youthful levels of DHEA, slight increases were also observed in other hormones, such as testosterone and estrogens.
In short-term studies, DHEA supplementation has been shown to offer benefits for the heart and cardiovascular health, as it may lower cholesterol levels, and may be a blood thinner. DHEA may hold benefits for immunity. Studies among both elderly men and postmenopausal women have shown increased immune functioning after supplementation with DHEA. It should be noted, that some studies have not shown clear benefits and even conflicting results.
DHEA, it does work, for chronic disease and anti-aging, But....While DHEA has been shown to increase Male and Female Hormones to more youthful levels, the long term effects are unknown. The fact that DHEA is a hormone, it could have far reaching long-term side effects. One thing is clear, DHEA acts differently from person to person and has differing effects on men and women. Given the complexities of hormonal interactions, a regime of DHEA supplementation should be under the supervision of a health professional. For more in-depth information on DHEA see suggested reading below.
Suggested Further Reading:
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 78 (June 1994)
Baulieu EE, Thomas G, Legrain S, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and aging: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2000;97:4279-84.
The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book, Shari Lieberman, PhD and Nancy Bruning
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and, cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication.
Conditions and Diseases
USE DHEA TO
ASSIST HORMONE PRODUCTION FOR INCREASED ENERGY * Supports immune system function * Promotes youthful energy levels* Promotes weight loss
DHEA - It does work, but...