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The Fell Good Anit-Aging Supplement!

The Fell Good Anit-Aging Supplement!

What is DHEA?

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the most abundant androgen (male steroid hormone) secreted by the adrenal glands (small hormone producing glands which sit on top of the kidneys), and to a lesser extent, by the ovaries and testes. DHEA can also be converted into other steroid hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Considerable interest in DHEA has developed in recent years with reports that it may play a role in the aging process. Circulating levels of DHEA peak at age 25 and then steadily decline with age. DHEA levels in 70-year-old individuals tend to be roughly 80 percent lower than those in young adults. This hormone is available synthetically as a nutritional supplement from

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Where does DHEA come from?

DHEA is a hormone produced in the body and is not obtained through the diet.

Most DHEA supplements are produced in laboratories from diosgenin, a plant sterol extracted from Mexican wild yams. Some extracts from wild yams are marketed as "natural DHEA." Advertisers claim that these "natural" extracts of diosgenin are converted into DHEA by the body. However, it takes several chemical reactions to convert diosgenin into DHEA, and there is no evidence that the body can make this conversion. For this reason, it is best to look for labels that list DHEA rather than diosgenin or wild yam extract. Also, it is important to select products that state it is pharmaceutical grade.

Some Uses of DHEA?

Aging: Given that DHEA levels decline with advancing age, some researchers have investigated whether DHEA supplementation may slow or prevent age-related declines in mental and physical function. Preliminary results from the DHEAge study in France suggest that the hormone may slow bone loss, improve skin health, and enhance sexual drive in aging adults, particularly women older than 70 years of age. Animal studies that have shown a boost in memory for older rats taking DHEA supplements. Results from human studies, however, have been conflicting. Some studies have shown that DHEA improves learning and memory in those with low DHEA levels, but other studies have failed to detect any significant cognitive effects from DHEA supplementation. Further studies are needed to determine whether DHEA supplementation helps prevent or slow medical conditions associated with the aging process.

Adrenal Insufficiency: As mentioned earlier, DHEA is one of the hormones made in the adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands do not make enough hormones, this is called adrenal insufficiency. Women with this condition who were given DHEA supplements reported improved sexuality and sense of well-being (including decreased feelings of depression and anxiety). Only a doctor can determine if you have adrenal insufficiency and if DHEA, along with other hormones, is needed. Adrenal insufficiency can be a medical emergency, particularly when first diagnosed. This is especially the case if your blood pressure is low, which can cause you to experience dizziness or lightheadedness. Another reason to seek medical attention right away in the case of adrenal insufficiency is swelling of the ankles or legs.

Athletic Performance: Although DHEA supplements are widely used by athletes and body builders to boost muscle mass and burn fat, there is little evidence to support these claims. There are no published studies of the long-term effects of taking DHEA, particularly in the large doses used by athletes. Plus, the building blocks of testosterone, including DHEA, may adversely affect cholesterol in male athletes by lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Other uses of DHEA are as follows: Impotence, Osteoporosis, Anorexia Nervosa, Lupus, HIV, Depression, Obesity, Menopause, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). DHEA has been used in conjunction with all these ailments but farther testing study is need to determine it effectiveness with each.

How to Take It

DHEA is not recommended for people under the age of 40, unless DHEA levels are known to be low (<130 mg/dL in women and <180 mg/dL in men). DHEA supplements should not be used in children.

Adult: Dosages for men and women differ. Men can safely take up to 50 mg/day, but women should generally not take more than 25 mg/day, although up to 50 mg has been used for women with anorexia, adrenal insufficiency, and other medical conditions under medical supervision. DHEA is produced by the body primarily in the morning hours. Taking DHEA in the morning will mimic the natural rhythm of DHEA production. Positive effects have been noted at dosages as low as 5 mg/day and the lower the dose the better.

Recent Studies

Some researchers consider DHEA a possible anti-aging hormone because DHEA deficiencies in older individuals have been associated with a number of medical conditions including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, impaired memory and mental function, and osteoporosis. In addition, population-based studies have suggested that people with higher DHEA levels tend to live longer, healthier lives than those with lower levels of DHEA. However, low levels of DHEA being linked to certain diseases does not necessarily mean that DHEA supplements will reduce the risk or improve the outcome of these conditions.

Precautions: DHEA is not recommended for people under 40 years of age, unless DHEA levels are known to be low (less than 130 mg/dL in women and less than 180 mg/dL in men). People taking DHEA should have their blood levels monitored every 6 months.

Because DHEA is a precursor of estrogen and testosterone, patients with cancers affected by hormones (such as breast, prostate, ovarian, and testicular cancer) should avoid this hormone supplement.

High doses of DHEA may inhibit the body's natural ability to make the hormone and also may be toxic to liver cells.

DHEA increases the production of the male hormone testosterone, so women should be aware of the risk of developing signs of masculinization (such as loss of hair on the head, deepening of the voice, hair growth on the face, weight gain around the waist, or acne), and men should be aware of the risks of excess testosterone (such as shrinkage of the testicles, aggressive tendencies including sexual aggression, male pattern baldness, and high blood pressure). Notify your health care provider if any of these symptoms occur.

Other adverse effects that have been reported include high blood pressure and reduced HDL ("good") cholesterol.

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