Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a naturally occurring hormone found in the body. DHEA is produced in the adrenal gland, gonads, and brain. DHEA and its metabolite dehydroepiandrosterone-3-sulfate or DHEAS are the major steroidal products of the adrenal gland. It is important to know that levels of DHEA and DHEAS in the body decreases progressively from a peak at age 25 to less than 20 of that peak before the age of 70. Furthermore, DHEA serum levels are typically low in chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

Since levels of DHEA decrease as people get older, some researchers believe that restoring DHEA to higher levels may delay some of the effects of aging. However, the fact that young people have higher levels of DHEA than older people does not necessarily mean that supplementing DHEA will make people appear younger. In the last few years, DHEA has also been touted for its ability to increase the immune system's function and restore mental ability. It has also been studied for the treatment of conditions such as Addison's disease, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, erectile dysfunction, depression, and Parkinson's disease. DHEA may have different effects in men and women as certain stages in their lives.

What is DHEA ?
DHEA is a hormone that is naturally made by the human body. It can be made in the laboratory from chemicals found in wild yam and soy. However, the human body cannot make DHEA from these chemicals, so simply eating wild yam or soy will not increase DHEA levels. Don't be misled by wild yam and soy products labeled as "natural DHEA."

DHEA is used for slowing or reversing aging, improving thinking skills in older people, and slowing the progress of Alzheimer's disease. Athletes and other people use DHEA to increase muscle mass, strength, and energy. But DHEA use is banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
DHEA is also used by men for erectile dysfunction (ED), and by healthy women and women who have low levels of certain hormones to improve well-being and sexuality.Some people try DHEA to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), weak bones (osteoporosis), multiple sclerosis (MS), low levels of steroid hormones (Addison's disease), depression, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. It is also used for preventing heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
DHEA is used for weight loss, for decreasing the symptoms of menopause, and for boosting the immune system. People with HIV sometimes use DHEA to ease depression and fatigue.Women who have passed menopause sometimes use DHEA inside the vagina for strengthening the walls of the vagina and for increasing bone mineral density.
DHEA is being investigated and may eventually be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription drug for treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and improving bone mineral density in women with lupus who are taking steroid drugs for treatment. The FDA is still studying the pharmaceutical company's application for approval.

Where it is found
There are no food sources of DHEA. The body manufactures DHEA naturally in the adrenal glands.
Product related PDF file
Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone
Effect of Dehydroepiandrosterone on Bone Mass
Dehydroepiandrosterone, obesity and cardiovascular disease

Benefits / uses
DHEA and Your Immune System
Researchers concluded that administering DHEA to rats restored specific immune function known to put the elderly at increased risk of pneumonia, influenza and other diseases. DHEA was shown to improve macrophage function by correcting defective pathways of cell-to-cell transduction. Macrophage immune deficiencies are known to shorten survival in cancer patients. (Journal of Immunology, 2002)

DHEA has consistently been shown to boost beneficial interleukin-2 and suppress damaging interkeukin-6 levels. Interteukin-6 is overproduced in the aged, which contributes to autoimmune disease, immune dysfunction, osteoporosis, depressions in healing, breast cancer. B-cell lymphoma, and anemia. (Van Vollenhoven, 1998)

Oral supplementation with low dose DHEA in aged animals restored immunocompetence to a reasonable level within days of administration. (Danenberg, 1996)

DHEA and Blood Sugar Metabolism and Weight Management
DHEA (50-100 mg. a day) was shown to significantly elevate insulin growth factor (IGF). Aging causes a decline in IGF level contributing to the loss of lean body mass, as well as excess fat accumulations, neurological impairment and age-associated immune dysfunction. (Morales, 1998)

DHEA, Your Brain and Sense of Well-being
DHEA may protect against Alzheimer's disease by blocking the toxic effect of cortisol and boosting IGF levels. Scientists noted that DHEA's protective effect could be of benefit to the normal aging brain. (Journal of Endocrinology Investigations, 2002)S.S.C. Yen and Associates at the University of California San Diego tested the effects of DHEA supplementation (50 mg. a day) over a 6-month period. Researchers reported that youthful serum levels of DHEA were restored in both men and women. Dr. Yen showed that DHEA replacement was associated with an increase in perceived physical and psychological well being for both men (67%) and women (84%). (Morales, 1994)

DHEA and Your Bone Health
Doctors noted that DHEA is a factor that determines lumbar spine density in aging men. Previously it was shown that DHEA helps to protect bone mineral density in women. (Calcified Tissue International, 2003)

DHEA and Heart Disease.
Men with high DHEA levels are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, DHEA increases the body's ability to transform food into energy and bum off excess fat. The study also concluded that DHEA has anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is known to play a critical role in the development of the killer diseases of aging: heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancers. The (Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 2003). A study using coronary artery angiography showed that low DHEA levels predispose people to more significant coronary artery blockage. (Herrington, 1995) . DHEA inhibits abnormal blood platelet aggregation, a major factor in the development of sudden heart attack and stroke. In contrast, some studies on DHEA do not show cardiovascular disease protection. (Jesse, 1995)

DHEA and Cancer
DHEA may be effective in the prevention and treatment of cancer. In one study, DHEA inhibited tumor proliferation of rat liver cells by blocking the cancer promoting enzyme glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH). The human equivalent dose of 600 mg. a day suppressed breast tumors in mice by 70%. Scientists showed that even human equivalent doses of 25-120 mg. showed striking cancer prevention benefits with no evidence of toxicity. (Simile, 1995)

DHEA and Estrogen/Testosterone Levels
A German study found that DHEA-deficient women supplementing with 50 mg. of DHEA daily for four months had decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety and improved libido. (Arlt, 1999). An Italian study suggests that DHEA may be an effective option for preserving health in postmenopausal women. The study concluded that oral administration of 50 mg. of DHEA daily for 6 months mimics the benefits of traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), namely estrogen-progestin, in terms of its effect on the GHRH-GH-IGF-2 (growth hormone releasing) axis. (Genazzani, 2001)

For most people, low-dose therapy is recommended: 25 mg. in one daily dose, everyday or every other day. General therapy is considered 25 mg. to 50 mg. per day.

When to Take /Types to Take
To maximize DHEA absorption, take 20 -30 minutes before meals. While DHEA can be taken with or without food, some research indicates that fat improves DHEA assimilation.

Generally, DHEA should taken early in the day to avoid insomnia. DHEA is naturally produced by the adrenal glands early in the day.
DHEA increases metabolism, thereby promoting free radicals in liver cells. It is recommended that you add ample antioxidants to your supplement program. Alpha lipoic acid, vitamin E, green tea, N-acetylcysteine (NAG), soy, and Indole-3-Carbinol are antioxidants that have been shown to be especially effective suppressing free radicals.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Side effects. Most side effects are mild, like headache, fatigue, insomnia, and congestion. Because DHEA affects hormone levels, it can cause other symptoms. Women may have abnormal periods or mood changes. They might also take on masculine characteristics, such as facial hair or a deeper voice. Men might develop more breast tissue, high blood pressure, and other problems.

Risks. Using high doses of DHEA may not be safe. People who have heart problems, liver disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid problems, polycystic ovary syndrome, and a history of clotting problems should not use DHEA. DHEA may increase the risk of some cancers that are affected by hormones, like cancers of the breast, ovaries, and prostate.

Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using DHEA supplements. They could interact with blood thinners, anticonvulsants, hormone therapy, and medicines for diabetes and heart or liver problems.
Because DHEA is a powerful hormone, it is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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