DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands, organs that lay just above your kidneys. This hormone is a precursor to many essential hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. However, levels of DHEA start to drop after the mid-20s, with people in their 70s having only small amounts in their systems. This has led some people to take DHEA supplements to optimize their health. Many take DHEA supplements in pursuit of various benefits, including anti-aging, prevention of some health conditions, weight loss, and muscle gains.
DHEA and Athletic Performance
DHEA has been shown to provide a variety of benefits, from anti-aging to increased athletic performance. If you are considering adding a DHEA supplement to your diet, consider which benefits you value most when making a supplement decision.
- Testosterone levels – DHEA is a necessary precursor to testosterone and natural DHEA levels decrease throughout life. For this reason, people supplement with DHEA to boost muscle gain and strength.
- Body fat reduction – as we'll touch on later, DHEA can reduce body fat, which is often an important aspect of physical fitness.
DHEA supplements for Health Conditions
Low levels of DHEA are associated with a number of health conditions. Some research supports the use of DHEA supplements to improve these conditions.
- Depression and schizophrenia – DHEA supplements have been associated with some symptom improvement in patients with depression and schizophrenia.
- Alzheimer’s – Low levels of DHEA and testosterone have been associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A supplement may help prevent the occurrence of this disease.
Although research into the benefits of DHEA is limited, anecdotal evidence also suggests taking a DHEA supplement may help prevent and improve various health conditions. Please consult your doctor or nutritionist for more information.
DHEA and Weight Loss
Some research has provided evidence that DHEA could promote weight loss.
- 7-Keto - this specific supplement version of DHEA could reduce your body fat and increase your metabolism. It does not interact with sex hormones, so if you are worried about increased testosterone or estrogen levels, this supplement is a good option.
- Reduced fat storage - some scientists believe that DHEA reduces the amount of fat that is metabolized by the body. This may lead to decreased fat storage and weight loss, particularly in the abdominal area.
- Increased metabolism – DHEA may also increase your metabolism. This will help you burn more calories and lose weight.
To make a decision between 7-keto DHEA and DHEA, please consult your doctor or nutritionist.
DHEA supplements for Anti-Aging
Some research has shown that 50-90 mg a day of DHEA may:
- Improve memory, decision-making, and concentration, helping people keep their brains sharp and functioning well.
- Boost bone strength – in several studies, women who took DHEA supplements had higher levels of bone density.
Specifically, DHEA-s (the sulfated form of DHEA) has been shown to have particular anti-aging benefits. We encourage you to consult your doctor for more information.