What is DHEA?
DHEA is a hormone produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands. It improves the immune system, which protects against infections and reduces stress. It is a precursor to the male and female sex hormones and is used to treat HIV, depression, systemic lupus erythematosus. You cannot supplement through food or diet; however, foods sources like wild yams and soybeans contain the chemicals to manufacture it. You should speak to a professional before attempting to supplement your diet with a DHEA supplement. DHEA-sulfate cannot be supplemented interchangeably in the body.
Benefits of Taking DHEA
Because DHEA is a powerful hormone, it is not recommended for children. However, some users reports increased libido (sex drive). In women, estrogen production is increased. It also regulates the blood sugar level, which is perfect for those suffering from diabetes.
Bodybuilders enjoy DHEA as muscle building supplements because it converts fat into lean muscle. Men naturally have higher levels of the hormone in their body.
Also, as one ages, the body produces less DHEA naturally, which has been linked to obesity, heart disease, insulin resistant, and many other ailments that increase with age. Supplementing DHEA with older people has proven to be beneficial as it increases stamina. One study showed that when giving older people 50mg DHEA daily over a 16-week period, they were able to increase muscle and strength through exercise easier.
Another study showed that DHEA might improve libido in other men as it boosts testosterone, and cyclic GMP, a substance also in Viagra.
Side Effects of Taking DHEA
Like with many things, taking too much DHEA can lead to unwanted side effects. Some minor ones include acne, high blood pressure, and hair loss. In women, DHEA could cause changes in a woman’s period, deeper voice, and hair growth on the face. It is not recommended to take more than 50-100mg daily for more than a short period of time. Pregnant woman should not take DHEA as it leads to high levels of androgen, a male hormone, which can be bad for the baby.
Dosage of DHEA
Doses between 25 to 50 mg can be safely taken and is recommended. If you have never taken DHEA before, please consult a doctor before beginning any regimen.
Normal DHEA Levels
For women, dehydroepiandrosterone production hits its peak soon after late adolescence, and begins to wane hugely after the age of 30. During your 20s, levels should be between 65 and 380mg per deciliter. In your 40s, it could drop to 32mg, and 26mg in your 50s.