DHEA is the most common hormone in the human blood. Like steroids it has also been grossly misunderstood, with it being crucially restricted in empowering the art of love making. Blood levels are highest during our late teens and these begin to decline by the time we are 25 years of age. By 70 years of age, DHEA production is only a small fraction of what it was when we were younger. This is most commonly seen in women whose libido decreases, especially after pregnancy. There are many reasons why this happens, one amongst them is the presence of DHEA.
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Research has shown a correlation between low DHEA levels and a declining immune system as well. As such, DHEA is being used in the fight against HIV, cancer, and senile dementia. But DHEA’s most overlooked but vital role may be its relationship with cortisol. DHEA has an inverse relationship to cortisol, i.e. when DHEA is low cortisol levels are elevated and vice-versa. Now what in the world is cortisol, you may well ask! Cortisol is one of the few hormones that increases with age. Known to induce stress, especially when its levels are elevated for long periods, most bodily functions get negatively affected by it. For example, the body may become more insulin resistant and damage to other systems may damage other vital organs in our body.
Maintaining Healthy DHEA Levels
Maintaining healthy DHEA levels while keeping coritisol levels under control may help slow physical aging and reduce stress. In short it may also decrease the pace at which we might observe aging signs in our body. To sum it up, DHEA, in reality is more like a growth hormone that fills in the void that gets created with the passage of time in our body. The first few signs of aging in any human, be it wrinkles, or hair loss, or even dryness in our skin is due to the shrinkage of the growth hormone. Usage of DHEA helps you revive it all over again.
The average production of DHEA from healthy adrenal glands is approximately 25mg per day. Men produce more DHEA on an average than women. This may also be so because women are endowed with the ability to give birth to a child, an activity, which in varying mannerisms drags a certain weakness in a woman’s body, even though she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.
Although there is no-known down-regulation (a situation whereby the adrenal glands would slow or stop their own production of DHEA in response to the continuous high levels caused by long-term DHEA supplementation), it is advisable to stop DHEA use for periods of time on a regular basis to prevent this possibility (or have DHEA levels monitored by blood tests). Of course you need to see your physician before you start popping in DHEA pills, but it’s advisable that you monitor your health file before doing so to avoid dangerous consequences.
Needless to mention that DHEA should NOT be used by people suffering from prostate or testicular cancer. It is best if you consult a physician before using it on yourself, as these are hormones that you are dealing with and any side effect could possibly have a serious negative effect on you! Moreover, the advancement of Science is to move you to a platter that’s most desirable not one that is most detested!
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone that’s produced naturally by the adrenal glands. The body converts DHEA into male and female sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. DHEA is also available in supplement form.
DHEA supplements are made from a substance called diosgenin, which is found in soy and wild yams. Wild yam cream and supplements are often touted as natural sources of DHEA, but the body can’t convert wild yam to DHEA on its own—it must be done in a laboratory.
DHEA supplements were taken off the U.S. market in 1985 because of concerns about false claims regarding their benefits. It became available only by prescription, but was reintroduced as a nutritional supplement after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994.
Health Effects of DHEA Supplements?
DHEA levels typically peak by the time people are in their 20s and decline with age, which is why there has been considerable interest in DHEA and its role in aging. What’s more, low levels of DHEA have been detected in some people with type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney disease. Some individuals use DHEA supplements in order to protect against these and other health conditions.
Certain medications may also deplete DHEA, such as corticosteroids, insulin, opiates and danazol.
DHEA is often taken to slow or reverse the aging process, enhance exercise performance, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve libido, fight fatigue, enhance health in people with HIV/AIDS, soothe menopausal symptoms, treat erectile dysfunction and stimulate the immune system.
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Can Taking DHEA Supplements Improve Your Health?
There are very few large, well-designed human studies testing the health effects of DHEA supplements. For example, there is not enough scientific evidence to rate the effectiveness of DHEA supplements in treating adrenal insufficiency, metabolic syndrome, depression, HIV/AIDS, Addison’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, menopausal symptoms, heart disease, breast cancer, infertility, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In addition, there isn’t enough evidence to support the use of DHEA supplements as an anti-aging remedy or weight-loss aid. The NIH also cautions that DHEA supplements appear to be ineffective for boosting libido, enhancing muscle strength in elderly people, protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and improving thinking in healthy older people.
However, some research suggests that DHEA supplements may be useful for certain conditions. Here’s a look at several key study findings:
Taking DHEA by mouth daily seems to improve bone mineral density in older women and men with osteoporosis or osteopenia, according to the NIH. Indeed, a 2002 study from the Chinese Medical Journal deemed DHEA safe and effective in the treatment of osteoporosis. After six months of treatment with DHEA, 44 male osteoporosis patients experienced a significant increase in bone mineral density (compared to 42 male osteoporosis patients assigned to a control group for the same time period).
Studies indicate that DHEA may enhance mental function and increase bone mass in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease affecting connective tissue. Many of those studies focused on the use of a form of synthetic DHEA called prasterone (Prestara).
For example, a 2004 study in Arthritis and Rheumatism found that daily intake of prasterone improved or stabilized symptoms among patients with SLE. The study involved 381 women with SLE, each of whom received 200 mg of prasterone or a placebo each day (in addition to their standard treatments) for up to 12 months. Although some members of the prasterone group developed acne and/or hirsutism (excess facial and body hair), most cases were mild and did not require the patients to discontinue their use of prasterone.
For a 2007 report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, scientists analyzed seven clinical trials (with a total of 842 participants) that tested the use of DHEA in treating SLE. The report’s authors concluded that DHEA may have a “modest but clinically significant impact” on health-related quality of life in the short-term for people with SLE.
Increasing DHEA levels may help lessen anxiety and depressive symptoms in people with schizophrenia, according to a 2003 study from the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study involved 30 people with schizophrenia, each of whom received either DHEA or a placebo for six weeks (in addition to their regular antipsychotic medication).
DHEA may also help improve mood, enhance well being and boost energy in people with schizophrenia, according to the study’s authors. It’s important to note that DHEA appeared to be more effective in women than in men.
4) Erectile Dysfunction
For people with sexual dysfunction, DHEA may improve the ability to achieve an erection. However, DHEA does not appear to benefit men whose erectile dysfunction is caused by diabetes or nerve disorders.
Some research shows that decreased DHEA levels may be common among men with erectile dysfunction. In a 2000 study from Urology, for example, researchers examined 442 men (including 309 patients with erectile dysfunction and 133 healthy volunteers) and found that DHEA levels were lower in those with erectile dysfunction until age 60.
Although few trials have tested the effects of DHEA supplementation on patients with erectile dysfunction, there’s some evidence that increasing DHEA levels may treat this condition. For instance, in a 1999 study of 40 erectile dysfunction patients, men who received a daily dose of DHEA for six months experienced significant improvement in their ability achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. Published in Urology, the study found that the 20 participants who received a placebo for the same time period had no improvement in their erectile dysfunction.
DHEA is a hormone, so it should only be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Children and pregnant or nursing women should not use DHEA. There have been no studies on the long-term safety of DHEA.
One of the more common side effects of DHEA supplements is acne. Other side effects include insomnia, fatigue, oily skin, abdominal pain, hair loss, nasal congestion, rapid or irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations.
DHEA supplements may alter liver function, so people with liver disease shouldn’t use the hormone. People with mood disorders (such as depression) should only use DHEA under the supervision of their healthcare provider, as DHEA supplementation may worsen mood. High levels of the body’s natural DHEA has been associated with psychotic disorders, so people with or at risk for psychotic disorders shouldn’t use DHEA unless under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
Since DHEA supplements may influence the production of male and female hormones, acne, greasy skin, facial hair growth, hair loss, weight gain around the waist, a deepening of the voice and other signs of masculinization may occur in women. Men may develop aggressiveness, high blood pressure, male pattern baldness, breast enlargement (gynecomastia), breast tenderness and shrinkage of the testicles.
DHEA supplements may also affect the levels of other hormones, such as insulin and thyroid hormone, as well as affect cholesterol levels. People with diabetes or hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, Cushing’s disease and other hormonal disorders should be particularly cautious.
DHEA supplements may alter the levels estrogen and testosterone, which can theoretically increase the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.
People taking DHEA supplements may be more likely to develop blood clots, so people with clotting disorders, heart disease and those with a history of stroke should avoid DHEA supplements.
It’s also not known whether DHEA supplements may inhibit the body’s ability to make its own DHEA.
DHEA rich foods
Wild yam and soybean products
Vegetables and fruits: Seaweed
contains anti-aging minerals and vitamins
example: kelp (lithium and other minerals) – recent anti-aging mineral for nerve growth
SOD is an enzyme naturally found in every cell in your body and is considered one of the most important antioxidants, according to Dr. Mark Rosenberg from the website Foodtrients. Its primary role is to protect your cells against the cell-damaging free radical superoxide. As you age, the amount of SOD in your body decreases, says Rosenberg. However, filling your diet with foods that contain nutrients needed for the production of SOD may help improve your levels.
Both honeydew and cantaloupe melon contain high amounts of SOD. Although your body is unable to use the SOD in these fruits, they are also excellent sources of vitamin C, which may help up your production of the super antioxidant. These fruits also contain small amounts of copper, zinc and manganese, which are trace minerals your body needs to make SOD.
The cruciferous vegetables broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are naturally rich in SOD. They are also excellent sources of vitamin C and contain small amounts of essential trace minerals that boost SOD production, including copper, manganese and zinc. For overall good health, you should try to eat at least 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of dark green vegetables a week, says ChooseMyPlate.gov.
In addition to the healthy food sources of SOD, be sure to include foods rich in the necessary trace minerals. Up your zinc intake by eating more oysters, lobster, chicken, chickpeas, cashews and peas. Good sources of manganese include hazelnuts, tofu, pumpkin seeds, mussels and spinach. Grains, beans, nuts and potatoes are all good sources of copper.
Phytonutrients found naturally in fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of cancer because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Aspirin was originally extracted from the bark of the White Willow Tree and is now synthetically produced has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Taxol was initially extracted from the Pacific Yew Tree and is the number one drug used for treating Cancer.
Diindolylemthane is another Phytonutrients found in vegetables such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale and Brussels sprouts used in the treatment of cancers caused the Human Papilloma Virus. The National Cancer Institute of the United States is testing this compound in the treatment of prostate, lung, colon, and cervical cancers. Phytonutrients is believed to be destroyed by cooking and by modern food processing techniques. For this reason only fresh uncooked Phytonutrients should be consumed.
Lycopene found in tomatoes is in clinical trials for Prostate cancer and Heart disease. It has been shown to improve blood flow throughout the human body. A nutritional study has shown that a diet rich and broccoli and tomatoes was more effective in limiting prostate cancer growth than any of the leading drugs for prostate cancer.
Bioflavanoids provide visible benefits to the anti-aging process such as reducing wrinkles, improving skin tone, helping to prevent sagging skin as well as improves pigmentation.
Substances called Antioxidants can neutralize free radical by pairing up or binding with the free radical elections thus inhibiting them from damaging cells in the human body. Natural Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables such as, apples, blueberries, broccoli, cherries, cranberries, Grapes, spinach, and Spirulina a blue-green algae.
Connie Dello Buono
Connie Dello Buono, health coach and health author of Birthing Ways Healing Ways
Owner of Motherhealth , Health Mobile Outpatient application (in development , http://www.careme.live
) to match, monitor and report health data, reduce chronic care costs and integrate patient generated health data to facilitate health promotion and doctor’s communication. Investors and doctors are welcome to join , email email@example.com