For many years DHEA, or dehydroepiandosterone, was considered a
"junk" hormone, since researchers could not attribute any
specific function to it. In the past few years, DHEA's image
problem has been totally refurbished. It is the most abundant
hormone in humans and other mammals, and it plays a critical
role in many different bodily functions. In fact, decrease in
DHEA levels is being increasingly used as an indicator of
reduced immune response, loss of libido and lack of a sense of
general wellbeing. Clinical studies over the past ten years show
that DHEA may be the most critical single chemical in predicting
health and disease.
The body produces DHEA in the adrenal
gland using cholesterol as the starting material. It is
metabolized to androstenedione, which is converted directly to
testosterone. Like testosterone (estrogen in women) and other
critical hormones, DHEA levels peak in the second or third
decade of life, after which the decline begins. In men, roughly
one-half of DHEA is lost by age 40. Reduced levels of DHEA mean
reduced amounts of androstenedione, testosterone and other
steroid hormone metabolites. It is interesting to note that as
cholesterol in general increases with age, DHEA levels decrease.
As a result, DHEA deficiency is associated with an array of
chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood
pressure, coronary artery disease, and various immune
deficiencies, including autoimmune diseases.
affects glucose metabolism. High blood glucose inhibits growth
hormone (GH) and low blood glucose stimulates growth hormone.
Stimulation of growth hormone is beneficial to DHEA, because it
suppresses insulin. By the same token, fasting increases both GH
and DHEA. Thus, the importance of DHEA in intense exercise and
endurance training can hardly be overemphasized. In fact, Dr.
William Regelson of Medical College of Virginia in his book The
Superhormone Promise calls DHEA "the superstar of hormones" and
"one of the most powerful tools" available for enhancing and
Clinical results show that oral
supplementation with DHEA can have numerous beneficial effects
Feelings of energy and wellbeing.
insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Reduced risk of
coronary artery diseases.
Lower obesity/waist-to-hip ratio.
Reduced depression and increases cognitive