The Many Benefits of DHEA – The Fountain of Youth

dheaDHEA is considered by some people to be the “fountain of youth”.  It is a hormone made by the adrenal glands which are located right above our kidneys.  The actual name for this hormone is dehydroepiandrosterone so you can see why it is usually referred to as just DHEA.  Our bodies produce this hormone naturally, but it is highest early in life and production decreases as we age.  After the hormone is produced it travels through our bloodstream and eventually goes into cells where it is converted to the hormone androgens in males or estrogens in females.  Many people as they age decide to take additional DHEA in for form of supplements.

Benefits of DHEA are said to include help with metabolic syndrome which causes increased waist lines as we grow older.  Metabolic syndrome can also contribute to increased cholesterol levels and development of diabetes.  Of course,  a proper diet along with exercise is needed in addition to the DHEA to help with the metabolic syndrome.  Other benefits of DHEA are said to include help with depression, help with inflammation which may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis or heart disease, increased sexual interest and libido, as well as a feeling of well being, alertness and stamina.

Taking too much DHEA comes with a risk of some side effects.  Among the side effects are breast swelling, thinning hair, acne eruption, problems with heart rhythm, heart palpitations, cardiac arrhythmias,  sleep problems, and changes in menstrual cycle.  In woman too much DHEA may cause facial hair growth since the hormone is converted to testosterone and in men too much DHEA is converted to estrogen so libido may be decreased.

Although DHEA supplements are available over the counter it is wise to take this hormone under the direction of  a health care professional who is familiar with its use and proper dosages.  It is probably best to start this hormone supplement with a low dose amount until you know how your system reacts to it.