There’s been plenty of mention of DHEA in health communities as of late for its possible therapeutic properties. However, there seems to be major confusion as to what it is and what it can be used for.
You’ve probably seen this acronym used in news reports about food supplements. You may even know an influencer who has been plugging the supplement online.
So what is DHEA and why is the physical fitness community plugging it every chance they get?
Let’s dive in and see how it’s being used in the fitness world today.
For starters, DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone – what a mouthful. Fret not though because, despite its long confusing name, understanding DHEA is quite simple.
You may have also seen it referred to by one of its other names in an ingredient’s list. These are androstenolone, 3β-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one and 5-androsten-3β-ol-17-one
DHEA is actually a hormone that’s produced naturally by your body. It’s even sometimes converted into testosterone and estrogen. It’s also produced throughout our body in the gonads, adrenal glands, and our brain.
When our bodies run out of sex hormones, DHEA acts as a reserve to produce and supply more.
You may have heard that it can be found in soy and yams. While this may be true the compounds found in this food can be converted by humans.
Benefits of DHEA
As we age, our body naturally produces less DHEA. In fact, production peaks in our 20s and 30s. For this reason, it’s available as a synthetically made supplement.
Low levels have also been detected in individuals with various medical conditions. It is often used in the treatment of diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even breast cancer. However, effects on men and women with the aforementioned conditions have yielded different results. For example, it has been shown to have no effect on men who suffer from osteoporosis but can increase bone density in women.
What About Fitness?
Due to its ability to increase levels of testosterone, many males will use DHEA supplements to increase muscle mass.
However, those with normal levels of testosterone production (ie, anyone under 40) probably won’t experience much muscle gain. Although elderly adults, mostly men, who are incredibly frail or have nonfunctioning adrenal glands may see an improvement to upper and lower body strength.
If your adrenal glands work properly you’re probably not going to experience a lot of weight loss. Well, sort of…
…for men over 40, using DHEA supplements over a four-month period can decrease fat by 4%. There is another supplement on the market however that seems to be more successful.
7-Keto DHEA is a supplement that’s also made synthetically. However, it doesn’t affect your androgen glands at all. Instead 7-Keto increases the metabolic rate in both men and women who are overweight.
Beyond that, women with severe cases of depression have been found to have lower levels of DHEA, so a supplement of this compound may aid in curving it.
Because of its link to our sex hormones, it’s also been shown to increase fertility and libido.
Possible Side Effects of DHEA
Before supplementing, it’s important to seek out the advice of a medical professional. There can be incredible adverse side effects for those with cancer or who have undergone cancer treatment in the past.
Because DHEA directly alters your hormones, many of its side effects are linked to them. Users may experience symptoms similar to puberty such as hair growth and acne.
Beyond that, new users may experience some digestive discomfort when using this supplement.
Because it increases metabolic rate, some users may be more agitated or anxious. However, that’s often a result of the chest pain or abnormal heart rhythms that can also be a side effect.
Again because women and men show different side effects, symptoms may vary as well.
Correct Dosage of DHEA
The dosage depends on the user and the advice given to them by their trusted medical professional.
The recommended dosage is typically 50mg per day for at least a year before any side effects are found.
When treating depression or mental illness you should take as low as 30mg for two months along with your antidepressants.
Where to Buy DHEA?
DHEA can be found by many supplement suppliers. Be wary if you’re buying online, however. As with any online purchase you can never be totally sure what it is you’re getting. It can be easy to fall for online scams.
Legitimate businesses such as immortalaf.com can clear up any questions or concerns you may have regarding this supplement and its multiple purposes and applications.