Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone that’s produced by the adrenal glands. The body inherently and miraculously converts our DHEA to the specific male and female sex hormones we need, such as estrogen and testosterone. This is important to note because anything, in my opinion, which can be used an as adaptogen that has a pivitol function of causing the body to create and utilize its own hormones, I am totally in. DHEA when supplemented, with the help of an experienced provider, can be very safe and effective for many various aging related health conditions, not to mention fertility, cardiovascular disease, obesity and endocrine disorders.
DHEA levels usually cap out in our 20’s and much like other hormones they begin to decline quickly with age. DHEA supplements have been touted as having a “fountain of youth type” effect because lower levels of DHEA have been seen clinically in patients that have been diagnosed with various types of cancer, diabetes, viral infections, low libido, chronic fatigue, cardiovascular disease and adrenal burnout. Many types of dietary, lifestyle choices and/or prescriptions may also deplete DHEA. These can be things such as steroids, medications for diabetes, pain management and others.
8 Helpful Benefits of DHEA:
- Aging related Diseases
- Depression and Improved Overall Sense of Well-being
- Hormonal Imbalances (men and women) & Menstrual Irregularities & Infertility
- Sexual Drive & Libido
- Improved Strength and Memory
- Osteoporosis & Kidney Health
- Heart Disease & Diabetes
Using DHEA & It’s Safety:
DHEA-S or DHEA-Sulfate (also known as (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) is the standard lab test to evaluate the amount of DHEA in the serum of ones blood. We recommend the DHEA-S levels be evaluated approximately three to six weeks after beginning DHEA supplementation. This helps to accurately and effectively determine optimal dosing for symptom elimination and/or reduction.
When having your levels re-checked by the lab, the blood should be collected approximately 4 hours after taking your last dose.
There is a plethora of overwhelming data and research that correlates lower levels of DHEA to many of the medical issues associated with age. One of my favorites companies which spearheads some amazing research, Life Extension suggests that all people over age 40 should begin DHEA therapy. For most people, the starting dose of DHEA is between 15–75 mg, taken in one daily dose. Depending of the patient and the symptoms I will not usually recommend beyond 25mg of DHEA daily. More isn’t always better.
Always start DHEA supplementation after a base line level of this hormone has been obtained via your blood at the laboratory. Just about everyone much over the age of 30 will have less than ideal amounts of circulating DHEA in their bloodstream.
Ideal Serum Ranges of DHEA-S:
Men 280-640 μ/dL 500-640 μ/dL
Women 65-380 μ/dL 250-380 μ/d
DHEA Precautions in Men:
As with testosterone supplementation men should always have their serum PSA (prostate specific antigen) level checked. Men with prostate cancer or any degree of prostate disease are advised to avoid DHEA since it can be converted into testosterone (and estrogen). All men are advised to have a PSA and digital rectal exam before initiating DHEA to be certain we do not need to address the prostate disease first before initiating any of the hormone replacement therapies. Please do freak out with an elevation in your PSA levels. We are one of the few countries that rely solely on the diagnostic criteria of the PSA level and the possibility of unnecessarily obtaining the label of prostate cancer is very common. Due to the decline in testosterone, men at some point in their lives will develop prostate cancer. Maintaining proper and healthy levels of bio-identical hormones, when needed, has been shown to decrease the incidence of cancer, drastically. If testosterone elevations were really the root culprit of prostate cancer in men then the highest risk group would be young boys ranging in age from about 15-30 in their prime sexual vigor years.
Other nutrients for men to consider when taking DHEA:
■Selenium 200 mcg daily
■Saw Palmetto Extract 160 mg twice daily
■Pygeum Extract 50 mg twice daily
■Nettle Extract 120 mg twice daily
■Boron 3–10 mg daily
A product I highly recommend for men and their prostate health is called Prostate Supreme from an incredible company called Designs for Health. Another great product for men, who are also experiencing any type of sexual dysfunction, is Libido Stim. A product like Prostate Supreme also has the ability to help minimize the conversion of the hormones into other hormones that aren’t beneficial for males. Prostate Supreme has many health benefits to keep your hormone levels optimal and your prostate happy and healthy. It will at the very least help to boost your sex drive and reduce your risk substantially for cancer of the prostate. Those seem like a pretty good benefits to me.
It is important for guys over 40 to have PSA and DHEA-S serum levels evaluated approximately one time per year after the levels have been normalized via supplementation. It is also vitally important for men to have their blood levels checked for free testosterone and estrogen to make sure that DHEA is working correctly within your body. The beauty of using the DHEA hormone is often times the need to use exogenous testosterone decreases drastically as this is one of the master hormones which can regulate so many of our precious bodily functions.
DHEA Precautions in Women:
Estrogen, progesterone and occasionally testosterone testing should be evaluated for DHEA use.
Women who have been diagnosed with an estrogen-dependent cancer should consult their physicians before beginning the DHEA therapy.
Other nutrients for women to consider when taking DHEA:
■Indole-3-carbinol 80 mg daily (or just eat lots of cruciferous vegetables such broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts)
■Vitamin D3 2000-5000 IU daily
It is more preferential for both men and women to NOT dose their DHEA in the evening, as it could interfere with sleep by boosting your energy levels.
Do not use DHEA if you are at risk for or have been diagnosed with any type of hormonal cancer, such as prostate or breast cancer without first having levels checked and discussing the validity and usability in your specific health concerns.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products/services/therapies/education information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any hormonal supplementation should always be piggy-backed with a healthy diet/lifestyle and regular exercise program. Results may vary with each patient and a physician should be consulted before trying any hormone replacement therapy. Please review our disclaimer by clicking here.
Please give us a call if you would like to explore DHEA as it relates to your specific health concerns. Our office line is 972-530-4609 or send us a secure message.