DHEA is Dehydroepiandrosterone. It is a hormone referred to
chemically as a 19 carbon steroid. It is produced in the adrenal
glands in both men and women and in the gonads of men. Blood
levels of DHEA are very high at birth, decline markedly through the
early years rise again at puberty and normally peak at 20-25 years
of age. Following this, they steadily decline throughout the remainder
DHEA was first isolated in 1934 however medical researchers never really paid any attention to it until 1986 when the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that demonstrated higher levels of DHEA resulted in a large reduction in cardiovascular mortality. Since then there has been great interest in DHEA by scientists. Aside from the cardiovascular benefits of DHEA, human epidemiologic studies suggest DHEA boosts the immune system, may be beneficial in auto immune disorders, reduces the risk of inappropriate blood clotting and elevates mood, energy and sexual libido. Additionally, animal studies on DHEA have demonstrated it is beneficial in preventing obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and increases life span!
Aside from use by the general public, DHEA has become one of the wildest used supplements in exercise. Since DHEA blocks cortisol, one of the most catabolic hormones in the body; this makes perfect sense. Even more powerfully, DHEA has been shown to increase the natural amount of insulin like growth factor 1 produced by the body as well as precurse androgens in the male and estrogens in the female.
DHEA seem to have different observable effects on the body phsiogomy of males verses females. Males on DHEA gain lean tissue faster and appear more muscular. Conversely, females seem to lose body fat faster on DHEA. This is due to the fact that the hormone takes on an androgen pathway and redirects fat storage in the upper body verses that of the lower body. Since women normally prefer upper verses lower body fat storage for aesthetic reasons (Barbie doll figure), DHEA is a hot product in the female body shaping market.
DHEA is normally available in 25-50mg tablets or capsules. It is available from a number of national brands as well as fringe companies. We prefer capsules from reputable brand names for obvious reasons. Muscle and Fitness reported recently that they found some high milligram products from low end manufacturers that had very little DHEA in them. The drawback in using DHEA for some is its expense.
Betterbodz stocks over 50 DHEA products from a variety of national brands. Click here for the product we prefer based on its high quality, and very reasonable price.
For further reading:
Bellino, F.L. and others, Eds. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and Aging. Annal of the N.Y. Academy of Sciences 774, 1-350 (1995)
Biglar, B. Forever Young, The Sciences, Sept/Oct 1995, p.26-30 see also Letters in May/June 1996. p3
Sahelian, R Dhea: A pratical Guide, 1996, Avery Publishers, 1-800-548-5757.