DHEA: Fountain of Youth
What is DHEA?
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a naturally occurring androgen, produced by the adrenal glands and is abundantly found in plasma and brain tissue. At the age of 21, we produce the highest levels of DHEA but by the time we reach age 40, our DHEA production is about half of what it was when we were 21. Elderly people sometimes have virtually no DHEA production. Lower-than-normal DHEA blood levels have been noted in aging adults and those suffering from such diseases as Breast Cancer, Alzheimer’s and AIDS.
How does it work?
Researchers contend that DHEA is the most significant endocrine bio-marker known, and further postulate that all of its effects may be explained by its action as a precursor hormone which provides a host of steroid progeny, such as androstenedione and testosterone, with which we maintain a broad balance of host response related to our species. Because DHEA is only produced, in measurable quantities by humans and primates, there are no natural sources for this important substance. This means that supplementation is required if you want or need extra.
What does it do?
There have been over 2,500 published papers documenting DHEA’s multiple benefits, but the most recent paper studied the quality of life enhancing effect of this natural hormone: “DHEA will improve the quality of life over a longer period and will postpone some of the unpleasant effects of aging, such as fatigue and muscle weakness.” The report also stated that those patients receiving DHEA supplements had more energy, increased libido, slept better and were better equipped to handle stress compared to the placebo group not receiving the DHEA. At a recent conference held in Washington, DC by the International Academy of Science, researchers presented evidence that supplemental DHEA helps strengthen bones, muscles and the immune system; offers hope in the treatment of debilitating conditions; stabilizes nerve-cell growth; has anti-aging effects; and promotes healthy weight. In one study of overweight men, which lasted only 28 days, there was a 31% decrease in body fat seen when appropriate levels of DHEA were taken.