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The Benefits of DHEA Therapy in Men and Women

If you’ve been looking for a way to feel more energetic and healthy, there’s a chance you could benefit from taking DHEA supplements. This hormone has a variety of health benefits, but it only works in certain situations. To see whether DHEA is right for you, you’ll need to learn about how it works.

What Is DHEA?

DHEA Therapy in Men and WomenDHEA is short for dehydroepiandrosterone, and it’s a type of hormone that your adrenal glands naturally produce. This hormone plays a very important role in keeping you healthy. Its natural job is to create other hormones.

Your body uses DHEA to synthesize estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones. In addition to helping you build other hormones, this important chemical also acts as a steroid hormone itself.

Ultimately, scientists still aren’t sure about all the DHEA benefits for men and women. However, it’s certainly a very exciting field of research right now. There have already been many reputable studies and trials that have identified the key benefits of DHEA.

What Are Healthy DHEA Levels?

As you can probably tell, DHEA is one of the essential hormones in the body. It’s one of the most abundantly produced steroids overall. Your natural amount of DHEA tends to fluctuate with age. You start out with very low DHEA levels that rapidly increase. Then these levels eventually peak around the age of 20 before slowly declining.

Young adults may have as much as 1250 ng/dL of DHEA, while seniors can have as low as 130 ng/DL of DHEA. This natural cycle has a large impact on how your body functions. Some experts even believe that DHEA supplements help reverse the effects of aging.

Why DHEA Improves Your Bone Density

One of the main anti-aging effects of DHEA is its ability to slow down osteoporosis. As we age, our body automatically loses minerals in the bones. This can decrease bone density and cause fragile, brittle bones.

Fortunately, research indicates that DHEA supplements can help halt this problem. A 2011 study involved monitoring postmenopausal women over 15 years. The researchers discovered that those who took DHEA supplements lost less bone mass than those who didn’t. Furthermore, it discovered that increasing DHEA dosage increased patients’ ability to retain bone mass.

This seems to happen because DHEA helps the body generate other beneficial hormones. When people take DHEA, their body produces more estrogen, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor. These compounds all help to stimulate the osteoblasts that form bone cells.

When osteoblasts are more active, they can produce healthy new bone tissue rapidly enough to make up for some of the bone cells your body loses with age. The ability of DHEA to stimulate bone growth may also mean that it helps you to recover better after fractures.

Ways DHEA Boosts Your Energy

Because DHEA is involved in your metabolic process, it can affect your body’s ability to convert food to energy. DHEA doesn’t directly give you more energy. However, taking DHEA gives your body the tools it needs to synthesize androgens like testosterone.

Having good estrogen and testosterone levels will encourage your body to sleep more soundly, become more alert, and move around more often. In healthy humans, these changes might be very subtle. However, if you’re dealing with hormonal imbalances that cause fatigue, you can experience a noticeable increase in energy levels.

Research studies have found that people with adrenal insufficiency had improved levels of energy when they took DHEA supplements regularly. This seems to happen because DHEA helps replace the hormones the adrenal glands cannot produce due to illness. Therefore, it can help with many symptoms of adrenal insufficiency including fatigue. Likewise, DHEA supplements can reduce the fatigue caused by low testosterone or other similar issues.

What Other Hormones Does DHEA Affect?

dhea therapy men women

A lot of DHEA’s effects come from its ability to support other hormones. DHEA is a type of precursor hormone which means it is involved in the synthesis of other hormones. The body needs DHEA to convert various substances into important hormones like estrogen and testosterone. If you don’t have enough DHEA, you end up dealing with lower estrogen and testosterone levels.

DHEA is also able to bind to other various hormone receptors throughout the body. This allows it to temporarily fill in for other hormones. Though DHEA cannot activate an estrogen or testosterone receptor as efficiently as the real hormone, it can still be helpful when your body has low testosterone levels or other issues.

Hormone receptors that DHEA binds to include:

  • Testosterone
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors
  • Pregnane X receptors
  • Constitutive androstane receptor

How Does DHEA Support Your Immune System?

DHEA also has some very interesting effects on the immune system. 1997 research examined senior men who took DHEA supplements for over 20 weeks. They found that patients who took DHEA supplements had:

  • Higher levels of B cells
  • Improved T cell response
  • Increases in monocytes

These cells all help the body fight off foreign microbes, but they usually decrease with age. Maintaining immune system strength as you get older is highly beneficial.

Why does DHEA affect immune function? The exact mechanism isn’t fully understood yet, but it seems to be related to cortisol. DHEA is an antiglucocorticoid, which means it inhibits the production of cortisol.

This stress hormone tends to increase with age, and it can cause issues like immune suppression and heart problems. DHEA helps to inhibit cortisol effects so that the immune system can function better.

Explore Other Benefits of DHEA

High DHEA levels are mostly associated with benefits like improved bone density, higher testosterone levels, more functional adrenal glands, and enhanced immune function. However, that’s not all that DHEA does. Since it impacts so many steroid hormone types, taking DHEA supplements can impact almost every part of the body. Here are some of the other benefits associated with DHEA use.

Enhanced Mental Health

DHEA does more than make your body feel healthy. It can also impact your mood. Since DHEA reduces cortisol levels, it can help lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Doctors have also noticed it can improve symptoms in patients dealing with:

  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • PTSD

Reduced Risk of Sexual Dysfunction

Since DHEA improves estrogen and testosterone levels, it can have an impact on sexual function. Many men notice that they deal with erectile dysfunction when their testosterone levels dip too low. Taking DHEA supplements can be a great way to address this problem. Along with a healthy lifestyle, DHEA supplements help your body produce the testosterone it needs to maintain an erection.

In addition to helping with erectile dysfunction, studies have found that DHEA also enhances libido for men and women. Those who took DHEA supplements were more interested in sex and less likely to deal with physical issues during sex. These results were especially notable in patients who reported problems like painful intercourse or inability to complete intercourse.

Better Strength in Old Age

Many people assume that DHEA helps enhance muscle mass because it improves testosterone. However, this usually isn’t the case. Research has been fairly inconclusive on whether DHEA can help you get more impressive-looking muscles. Some evidence suggests it helps as long as you exercise, but it probably won’t do much if you’re inactive.

Though DHEA doesn’t do much for muscle growth in most situations, it does still have some benefits. A 2011 study found that DHEA does help increase physical performance in older adults. While there’s not a drastic increase in muscle mass, seniors who take DHEA were stronger overall. DHEA seems to help slow down the loss of physical strength many people experience as they age.

How to Improve Your DHEA Levels

To get all these great benefits of DHEA, you need to have stable, moderately-high DHEA levels. When your adrenal glands cannot produce enough DHEA on their own, it might be time to turn to DHEA supplements. These dietary supplements are typically small pills you take on a daily basis. Taking DHEA supplements can help restore your DHEA levels to the amount you had at a younger age, so they can reverse many of the issues associated with low DHEA.

For the best results, you typically need to take dietary supplements on a regular basis. Your body cannot always process a high dose taken at random times. Instead, it’s more effective to just add a small amount of DHEA to your system each day. Most studies on the benefits of DHEA find results when patients take roughly 25 mg to 50 mg of DHEA per day.

If you suspect your DHEA levels are imbalanced, it’s important to seek help. At CA Hormones, we help you take charge of your own health. Our team can assist you with testing your hormones and finding a supplementation regimen that works for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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