DHEA For Men And Woman – The Fountain of Youth And So Many Other Health & Fitness Benefits
Dehydroepiandrosterone aka DHEA is not only the most abundant circulating steroid hormone in humans, it's also the most underrated steroidal over-the-counter supplement your money can buy.
DHEA and longevity, overall health and quality of life
- evidence that low levels of DHEA are characteristic of both, the normal and pathologic aging process and associated with rapid and severe cognitive decline (Barrett-Connor. 1994; Kalmijn. 1998; Carlson. 1999; Moffat. 2000; Davis. 2008; Sorwell. 2010)
- evidence that low levels of DHEA are one of the proven characteristic of major depression in young and old individuals (Young. 2002; Angold. 2003) and "dehydroepiandrosterone may antagonize some effects of cortisol and may have mood improving properties" (Michael. 2000) – direct benefits have also been observed for anxiety and schizophrenia (Strous. 2003)
- evidence that low levels of DHEA are associated with an increased risk of diabetes (Yamaguchi. 1998) – an effect that is probably a direct result of the absence of the stimulatory effect of DHEA on muscular glucose uptake (Sato. 2008)
- evidence that low levels of DHEA are predictive of low libido in pre- and post-menopausal women (Guay. 2002; Morley. 2003)
Studies that investigated the protective & restorative effects of DHEA on cognitive and sexual functions, diabetes risk and overall health and quality of life in older individuals still yielded mixed results (Grimley. 2006). Flynn et al. (1999), for example, found no effect of DHEA replacement on the quality of life of postmenopausal women. Other researchers, however, found significant improvements in :
- Physical and psychological well-being for both 40-70 year-old men (67%) and women (84%) in response to 50mg of DHEA per day – probably in response to the normalization of the age-related decline in DHEA that occurred after only 2 weeks of daily supplementation,
- Symptoms of depression in 22 subjects with major depression in response to 90mg DHEA per day (Wolkowitz. 1999),
- Endothelial function and insulin sensitivity in middle aged men with mildly elevated cholesterol levels (Kawano. 2003) and elderly men and women in response to the daily ingestion of DHEA supplements (Villareal. 2004)
DHEA itself and its downstream metabolites, which include the major sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, have also been shown to induce significant improvements in bone strength in postmenopausal women and body composition in young and older individuals:
- Morales et al., for example, report significant reductions in body fat (-6.1 +/- 2.6%) and increases in muscle 15.0 ± 3.3%, as well as lumbar back strength 13.9 ± 5.4% strength in 50-65 year-old men in response to the provision of 100mg of DHEA per day (Morales. 1998) – without noticeable endocrine or neurological side effects, of course. Previous rodent studies showed similar improvements in body composition even in the presence of an obesogenic baseline diet (Hansen. 1997)
- Similar benefits as Morales et al. were also observed by Villareal and colleagues (2000) who found DHEA to be effective in improving boy composition (reduced body fat, increase lean mass) and bone density in post-menopausal women.
Figure 3: DHEA acts directily at the level of the fat cells to counteract obesity and optimize lipid
and glucose metabolism (De Pergola. 2000). Similar glucose sentitizing effects exist for muscle
cells, as well (Sato. 2008)
- Bone Density: In the so-called "DAWN" trial, von Mühlen et al. also found significant improvements in bone mineral density in their 55+ year old female subjects in response to 50mg of DHEA per day. In spite of the fact that the supplement was given for 12 months, no significant side effects were recorded (Von Mühlen. 2008).
Young Or Mature Men And Women: The previous examples already suggested that the fact that age-induced decline in DHEA makes dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) particularly useful for older individuals does not imply that there were no benefits for those of us who have passed the 50 year mark, already – for example:
- Young resistance trainees may benefit from DHEA supplements, as well. Liue et al., for example, observed significant increases in the pro-anabolic hormone testosterone (100-300% increase depending on the age and baseline levels of the subects; Liu. 2013) in a DHEA + resistance training intervention. And Liao et al. were able to show that DHEA will protect the musculature of hard training men and women from damage during super-intense workouts (Liao. 2012).
- Hamid et al. observed significant improvements in memory recollection and mood and decreased trough cortisol levels in young subjects after only 7 days on 150mg of DHEA per day (Alhaj. 2006).
- Reiter et al. saw significant improvements in all domains of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), a 15-item questionnaire that is used to rate the success of a given approach to treat erectile problems in response to 50mg of DHEA in a 24-week study without negative effects on the prostate cancer risk marker PSA (Reiter. 1999).
- DHEA has recently been identified as an effective treatment strategy for women with reduced ovarian reserve (Fusi. 2013) and may thus " represent a first agent beneficially affecting aging ovarian environments." (Gleicher. 2011) In this context it's also worth mentioning that Hyman et al. were able to show that DHEA can improve the success rates of in-vitro fertilization (Hyman. 2013).
Low levels of DHEA, on the other hand, are associated with ischemic heart disease in middle-aged men in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (Feldmann. 2001) and will severe the side effects of corticosteroid treatments in inflammatory disorders (Kalimi. 1994; Straub. 2000). Apropos, DHEA has also been used successfully to...
- improve the chronic fatique in patients with Addison's disease, a pathology that's characteried by chronically lowered cortisol levels (Hunt. 2000) and in women with non-Addisonian hypocortisolism (Arlt. 1999),
- reduce the number and severity of flare-ups in in female patients with systemic lupus, a painful systemic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body (Chang. 2002), and
- normalize sexual function and arousal in postmenopausal women (Hackbert. 2002)
Clinical Studies Support The Many Benefits Of DHEA
- Increases muscle strength, energy, and endurance
- Helps all male and female athletes build lean muscles
- Increase libido and sexual performance in men and women
- Improves Memory and thinking in older people
- Improve bone mineral density
- Improvements in female reproductive health & fertility
- Reduced risks of cardiovascular disease
- Improvement of Lupus, Alzheimer’s symptoms
- Increased longevity
- Erectile dysfunction improvement
- Improved appearance in skin for older people
- Helpful in attaining health and fitness goals