In order to feel one’s best, the body needs to maintain healthy DHEA levels. Unfortunately, some people have low DHEA levels. The good news is that a person with low levels of DHEA can take DHEA supplements and possibly turn back the clock to when DHEA levels were at their highest. First, we must ask the question, “What Is DHEA?”
The adrenal glands produce a hormone called “dehydroepiandrosterone.” It is more commonly known as “DHEA.” Both males and females need DHEA because this hormone produces testosterone in men and estrogen in women, but it is a male sex hormone. As a male sex hormone, DHEA causes a young male to develop secondary sex characteristics during puberty.
Adult DHEA levels reach their peak at the age of 25, but they begin to decrease after this occurs. By the time a person reaches the age of 70 or 80, his or her DHEA levels are only 10% to 20% of what they were in the person’s young adult years.
The majority of the DHEA is produced within the adrenal glands. People have one adrenal gland on top of the right kidney and another adrenal gland on the top of the left kidney. These adrenal glands have several functions, such as regulating blood pressure, heart rate, and other bodily functions.
A female’s ovaries and a male’s testicles also create an additional amount of DHEA, but this is a very small amount. Therefore, if a test shows that someone has low DHEA levels, medical professionals suspect that there is an issue with either adrenal gland, both adrenal glands or the ovaries, or the testicles. The remedy for this issue may be for the person to take DHEA supplements.
The adrenal glands produce DHEA, but when someone has adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal glands fail to produce enough DHEA. For example, a body begins to have trouble producing sufficient levels of DHEA when someone has Addison’s disease. With Addison’s disease, the body doesn’t produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. Adrenal insufficiency also occurs when the pituitary gland begins to malfunction.
DHEA also causes positive effects to occur. Studies have proven that DHEA contributes to weight loss and also decreases LDL or bad cholesterol.
Scientists believe that DHEA has several benefits for the human body, including the following:
After discovering that levels of DHEA decline with age, scientists began to wonder if DHEA supplements could work as an anti-aging agent. Researchers discovered that older people with low DHEA levels have several associated health conditions. These include breast cancer, memory loss, heart disease, and osteoporosis. However, scientists don’t have definitive proof that low levels of DHEA lead to these health conditions.
Even so, the medical community believes that DHEA supplements have the potential to slow down the aging process. By doing so, the person could see improvements in general wellbeing, body composition, and cognitive function. Additional research is needed to be able to definitively state that DHEA supplements do cause the improvements listed above.
One small study brought researchers to the conclusion that DHEA supplements can reverse several signs of aging. For example, DHEA supplements may be able to decrease the appearance of age spots in older adults and improve the skin’s firmness and hydration. This is one reason that DHEA supplements are becoming popular.
DHEA supplements may improve the symptoms that perimenopausal women face. These include vaginal dryness, diminished skin tone, and low libido. Some studies demonstrated that DHEA supplements had the effect of increasing some hormonal levels in post-menopausal women as well.
The medical community is beginning to study whether or not DHEA supplements improve osteoporosis. Some studies do suggest that these supplements will reduce bone loss if the patient is an older female. If the subject is younger than 70 years of age or a man, the supplements do not appear to have the same effect.
Researchers learned that DHEA supplements might create better results in the treatment of depression. This was particularly the case when the subject had low levels of DHEA.
When someone is determined to have adrenal insufficiency, the remedy is for the person to take DHEA supplements. One study, in particular, demonstrated that taking DHEA supplements will increase a woman’s libido as well as her sense of wellbeing. She may even experience less anxiety and depression.
Although someone may believe that she is experiencing adrenal insufficiency, she should not take DHEA supplements on her own. A person with adrenal insufficiency needs to be seen by a doctor so that he or she can be prescribed the correct DHEA supplements. If adrenal insufficiency is severe enough, it can be a medical emergency. This is especially the case if the person has never been diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency before.
Low DHEA levels cause the following symptoms:
The symptoms of low levels of DHEA are also related to aging, and they include the following:
Someone found to have low DHEA levels may be experiencing one of the following health conditions:
As was mentioned above, one of the diseases related to low levels of DHEA is “Addison’s disease.” A person’s immune system causes this disease to develop. It is when the immune system mistakes the body’s adrenal glands for dangerous tissues that it needs to attack, so it damages these glands. Because the adrenal glands are damaged, they cannot produce enough DHEA.
Symptoms of Addison’s disease include weight loss, patchy or dark skin, low blood pressure, fatigue that gets worse over time, and muscle weakness.
The pituitary gland exists at the base of each person’s brain. It produces growth hormones and controls the body’s other glands. When someone has a pituitary disorder, it causes there to be either too much or too little of a hormone. In this case, it would cause low DHEA levels. An injury to the pituitary gland or a pituitary tumor can cause hypopituitarism.
If you or a loved one are concerned about your hormone levels, contact us at CA Hormones. We can provide diagnostic testing to determine whether or not your levels of DHEA are optimal and where they should be. As we perform nutrient testing, we will determine your risk factors for several chronic health conditions. Contact us so that we can begin your treatment with DHEA supplements today.
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