Dhea Supplements

Written by Emily Ledbetter
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DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, is the most abundant adrenal steroid hormone in the body. Naturally produced and released by the adrenal glands, DHEA is ultimately converted into estrogen (the female sex hormone) and androgen (the male sex hormone). Estrogen and androgen are responsible for regulating fat and mineral metabolism, endocrine and reproductive function, and energy levels. Small amounts of DHEA are also created by neurons in the brain.

DHEA levels rise during puberty, reach a peak around age 30, and then drop off dramatically in both men and women as they age. By age 80, most people are manufacturing only about five percent of the DHEA they were producing at age 30.

Benefits of Supplementation

Supplements help those who have adrenal deficiency and low levels of DHEA. The benefits from DHEA supplements, commonly made from wild yams, include improved sense of well-being, more alertness and stamina, increased immune function and enhanced libido. Women who have low DHEA levels typically have low sex drive. Research also indicates that DHEA supplementation may result in the following positive effects:
• Helps reverse bone loss and some of the emotional disturbances associated with anorexia nervosa.
• Improves blood vessel function and insulin sensitivity in middle aged men.
• Effective and safe in patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
• Improves mental function in patients with advanced HIV infection .

Experts recommend that natural DHEA levels be tested before introducing supplements to the system as those with normal levels who supplement with high doses may experience side effects including acne, menstrual irregularities, hair thinning and heart palpitations.

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