What Are The Benefits Of Taking Dhea?
Short for Dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It may also be produced in the brain and can be made artificially from soy beans or wild yam. It is also known as 3β-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one, 5-androsten-3β-ol-17-one or androstenolone. Production of DHEA is at its peak by the time you are 20-25 years of age, but as you get older, its production starts to decline. You can supplement DHEA in the form of oral capsules, topical creams or ointments. The hormone plays a significant role in performing around 150 metabolic functions in our body. It is directly related to longevity, body strength and lean muscle mass. For all you need to know, read this oneHOWTO article to find out what are the benefits of taking DHEA?
What are the properties of DHEA?
DHEA exhibits a wide range of properties which are helpful and in many instances essential for the human body. This is because it is:
DHEA is a great antioxidant and boosts immunity by stimulating activity of killer cells in the body. It regulates pituitary glands and thyroid too, and enhances proper functioning of thymus glands as well. It keeps cholesterol levels under control and promotes production of the human growth hormone. It increases insulin sensitivity, and improves libido, formation of bones and cognitive function. It enhances a person’s mood, increases serotonin levels in the brain, and returns balanced state to the brain after a stress trauma.
How does DHEA work?
The inactive form of DHEA, known as DHEA sulfate, circulates through the blood stream. It becomes active as and when it comes in contact with a particular tissue or cell that requires it. After this, the cells remove the sulfate and convert it into estrogen and androgen. DHEA is also capable of counterbalancing cortisol. This means that when cortisol level is low, DHEA is high, and vice versa. The hormone cortisol increases as you age, and it is responsible for causing stress too. When it remains in your system for a long period of time, it affects your body functions, damages insulin resistance, and harm the hypothalamus and endocrine system. People with appropriate levels of DHEA are less stressed due to low cortisol levels in their body.
Health benefits of DHEA
When you maintain healthy levels of DHEA in your body, you will notice following benefits:
- Protects against inflammation: DHEA is found to provide protection against inflammation and restore normal length of the colon. It also maintains a balance in an individual’s immune response that is responsible for causing damage to the bowel diseases. DHEA supplementation is usually recommended to reduce inflammation caused by HIV. It is also found to prevent neuron degeneration and neuron loss. By reducing inflammation in the lungs and hyper-activity in the airways, it is also helpful in preventing symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Boosts hormone levels: the amount of DHEA you have in your body also has an impact on levels of other hormones in your body, including estrogen and testosterone. Women are commonly given DHEA supplements during menopause to improve estrogen levels in their body. It is helpful in alleviating sexual dysfunction problems that come from poor levels of hormones in the body.
- Protects heart: men having low DHEA levels in their body are more prone to suffer from a heart disease. It is also associated with lowering cholesterol levels in the body and keeping blood pressure under control.
- Improves brain functioning: DHEA improves your memory and concentration power by inhibiting cortisol and stimulating neurons. Levels of DHEA increase as you perform more cognitive tasks and increase your working memory. It also enhances memory regulation and makes a connection between your hippocampus and amygdala. DHEA supplements are also found to be helpful in reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s and improving memory. Visual processing is controlled by DHEA in your brain, as it supports amygdala dependent processes in your brain and promotes attention and visual awareness. By keeping cortisol under control, it also keeps the person away from depression. DHEA supplements are often recommended to people having depressive symptoms.
- Keeps weight under control: insulin resistance is often related to diabetes, obesity, aging, heart disease and other health issues. DHEA is found to play a significant role in keeping age-related insulin increase under control, along with insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. In turn, it also reduces risks of developing diabetes, CVD and obesity. Men who take DHEA supplements may lose more weight than others, and they have also been found to lower cholesterol levels. Supplementation with DHEA may also lead to significant weight loss and can increased usage of energy.
- Increases female fertility: ovaries need ovarian reserve to produce healthy egg ready for fertilization. Women who have poor ovarian reserve may be recommended DHEA supplements to increase their chances of getting pregnant. It is often given to women who did not even respond to IVF and other fertility enhancing procedures.
- Lowers down insulin resistance: elderly patients who took DHEA supplementation for 6 months were found to have reduced insulin resistance and enhanced glucose tolerance. When combined with exercise, DHEA can lower down insulin resistance to a great extent, and also increase weight loss. Improvement in insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels was also seen in such individuals.
- Improves sleep: taking DHEA supplements showed improved sleep in people having sleeping problems. Since it improved REM sleep, it improved memory of those individuals as well.
- Improves bone health: DHEA improves formation of bones and inhibits cell death in the bones. It also increases volume and mineral density in the bones. It is also found to be helpful in preventing osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. In some studies, DHEA was also found to have positive effects on bone mass, and prevention of male osteoporosis.
- Protects muscles: DHEA provides protection against muscle dystrophy, protects cell oxidation and also prevents cell death. It also stops muscle atrophy by enhancing the effects of antioxidants.
- Relieves tuberculosis: DHEA is also found to be helpful in relieving symptoms in patients suffering from tuberculosis. It works by clearing bacteria and preventing tissue damage in the patients’ body.
- Relieves menopausal symptoms: many women complain of vaginal pain, difficult sexual intercourse and vaginal dryness after menopause. DHEA may be administered intra-vaginally to improve vaginal health and reduce pain in the area.
- Protects against colon cancer: most of the cancer related deaths take place because cancer spreads to other organs of the body as well. DHEA is potentially effective in inhibiting the pathways that are responsible for spreading cancer throughout the body.
- Helps with lupus: DHEA provides short-term benefits to those suffering from SLE or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It is found to reduce the symptoms and also lower down HDL cholesterol levels in patients with lupus.
Recommended dosage of DHEA
Before you start taking DHEA supplements, make sure that you have low levels of this hormone. If your DHEA levels are less than 180mg/dl or 130mg/dl for men and women respectively, you may consider them low and take supplements safely. If you have normal levels of DHEA and you still take supplements, your DHEA levels may increase abnormally and you may start experience side effects. Side effects may include hair loss, female facial hair, acne, skin thickening, fatigue and stomach upset. The dosage you should take depends on your age, health condition and gender. So, you should not take it without consulting with your doctor.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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