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DHEA: Watching the ‘Mother Hormone’ in Action

DHEA: Watching the 'Mother Hormone' in Action

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands. It is called the “mother hormone”because it acts as a precursor to other hormones in the body such as estrogen, progesterone, cortisone, androgen and testosterone, to name a few. The fetus manufactures DHEA, which stimulates the placenta to form estrogen, thus keeping a pregnancy going. Production of DHEA stops at birth, then begins again around age seven and peaks when a person is in their mid-20s. From the early 30s on there is a steady decline (about 2 percent each year) until around age 75 and older when the level of DHEA in the body is about 5 percent of peak. It activates the immune system and promotes building up tissues.

Eating an extremely low fat or no fat diet can wreak havoc with your hormones. A balanced diet with 20-30% of your total caloric intake derived from predominantly HEALTHY fat sources can prove very beneficial to your hormonal profile.

DHEA Levels 

Though the normal DHEA levels are 25 – 220 mol/L, or 1.9 – 7.6 ng/ml, a sharp decline in these levels can be observed along with aging. Mostly DHEA is produced early in the morning by the adrenal gland, gonads and the brain, and DHEA levels start declining as kidneys start clearing it up. Adrenal Stress Profile -salivary Test needs to be undertaken to measure the hormone level over a period of 24 hrs. 


DHEA has been touted as an “antidote for aging” and a “superhormone” that can help burn fat, build muscle mass, boost libido, strengthen the immune system, prevent heart diseasecancer, osteoporosis and non-insulin dependent diabetes, ease the effects of menopause, retard memory loss, help in the treatment of lupus, limit burn damage, combat stress and prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases.       

  Low DHEA Level Symptoms

Enhancing DHEA Naturally 

There are very few large, well-designed human studies testing the health effects of DHEA supplements. For example, there is not enough scientific evidence to rate the effectiveness of DHEA supplements in treating adrenal insufficiency, metabolic syndrome, depression, HIV/AIDS, Addison’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, menopausal symptoms, heart disease, breast cancer, infertility, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

In addition, there isn’t enough evidence to support the use of DHEA supplements as an anti-aging remedy or weight-loss aid. The NIH also cautions that DHEA supplements appear to be ineffective for boosting libido, enhancing muscle strength in elderly people, protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and improving thinking in healthy older people.

While the studies are on, you can begin working on natural ways of  boosting DHEA in the body.

Take care of your body if you want all the body organs to function properly. A balanced diet, regular exercise and sufficient rest are the key factors which can dramatically influence your health.  

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