For being such a popular compound, not many people know all of the DHEA benefits. DHEA is a highly underrated tool with many positive benefits. Positive effects are most likely to be seen in individuals who have low DHEA levels but DHEA overall can boost many functions of the body that experience day-to-day issues with.
What is DHEA?
DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone and is a hormone that your body naturally produces in the adrenal glands. DHEA has been shown to slow signs of aging, boost the immune system, enhance weight loss, and reinforce libido.
Additionally, it has been determined that DHEA can help with things like cervical cancer, lupus, depression, and more. DHEA is a testosterone-based hormone. You might recognize the term DHEA from workout supplements and various weight loss supplements as well.
DHEA is converted to DHEA-Sulfate, also referred to as DHEA-S. When a DHEA-S test is run by your doctor it is to determine whether the adrenal glands are working, as they should be. The test specifically measures the level of DHEA-S in your bloodstream.
If your DHEA-S is too low or too high, you may experience various symptoms. These symptoms could also be different based on whether you are male or female. We will discuss this further later.
DHEA-S (sulfate) should not be confused with DHEA Sodano, who is Lil’ Wayne’s girlfriend. Dhea Sodano and Lil’ Wayne have been engaged for more than 7 years, but a wedding is yet to be seen.
DHEA Side Effects
Improper levels of DHEA can have varying side effects. If you’re taking DHEA supplements, it’s very important to be mindful of the dosage and not overdo it.
Here is a list of DHEA Side Effects:
- Hair loss on head
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Deep Voice
- Oily skin and breakouts
- Increased facial hair and body hair
- Excessive fatigue
Many of these side effects are mild, but if you are a female you may not be impressed with the side effects that you experience as they are mostly testosterone-related effects.
DHEA is often taken as part of a supplement used for muscle gain or weight loss. The testosterone boost it provides often provides desired results in a quick time frame. Additionally, DHEA might also be taken for obesity, lupus, depression, or erectile dysfunction.
Unfortunately, thus far there is really not a clear recommended dosage for DHEA. If a doctor advises DHEA they have clear specific examples, but in general DHEA supplements could contain anywhere from 25-200 mg per day.
Your primary care physician can test your DHEA levels. Unfortunately, there are no foods that you can work into your diet to supplement your DHEA levels. Levels must be boosted by a prescription or a DHEA enhanced supplement of some kind.
If you do take a supplement, watch for potential side effects. If you see negative side effects then your DHEA levels are most likely too high or too low and your dosage should be adjusted.
DHEA Benefits for Bodybuilding
DHEA is often taken to increase muscle strength and mass for bodybuilders. The testosterone properties are believed to be beneficial in enhancing muscles. However, much of the research illustrates that the supplements only affect muscle mass and muscle strength on a minimal level.
However, since DHEA does enhance testosterone, you are likely to feel stronger and experience positive results while bodybuilding. DHEA is a hormone-boosting supplement and therefore you will see noticeable differences from using it.
DHEA Benefits for Fertility
While DHEA is discussed more with men because it affects testosterone, it is highly miscommunicated in how it can truly affect a woman. Imbalanced levels of DHEA could often prove to cause fertility issues in women.
Taking DHEA supplementation can increase fertility because it improves the androgen levels of the ovaries. As the eggs develop and cycle into ovulation they are in an environment that has been enhanced and this results in the egg being better quality, improving overall fertility.
Remember that DHEA is a naturally produced hormone in the body. By supplementing, DHEA fertility can be much improved and a woman might be able to more easily conceive. This has been studied in more detail recently with the surge of women who have fertility concerns.
DHEA Benefits for Weight Loss
If your primary concern is weight loss, DHEA is an optional tool, but there may be better options available. DHEA can positively impact weight loss, however, it is typically a fairly minimal effect. On average, a DHEA supplement might aid in losing a few pounds.
The weight loss associated with DHEA supplements is typically related to other side effects that come with taking DHEA and the way that your hormones are affected. If you are taking a supplement specifically for weight loss, we recommend digging a bit deeper into your options.
High DHEA Levels
If your DHEA levels are too high, you will experience symptoms related to heavy testosterone levels. Here are a few effects of high DHEA levels.
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Excessive body or facial hair
- Breakouts and increased acne levels
- Decreased fertility levels
- Enlarged Adam’s apple
- Male baldness
- Increased muscle
These effects of high DHEA levels impact women more than men since the levels are due to the increase in your testosterone hormones. You should decrease your DHEA intake or see a doctor to help repair the heightened levels of DHEA.
This often points to signs of other health-related issues. Low DHEA levels are often directly coordinated to aging. Here are a few effects of low DHEA levels.
- Chronic fatigue
- Reduced libido
- Erectile Dysfunction
Low DHEA Symptoms
There are various symptoms that could trigger your recognition of low DHEA levels. If you experience these symptoms, you should take action in order to protect your health and your body.
- Weakness and fatigue
- Difficulty with weight control
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Libido concerns
- Infertility concerns
- Low blood pressure
If you notice these or any other DHEA-related symptoms and side effects discussed within this article, it is recommended that you be proactive and reach out to your doctor.