DHEA: Anti-Aging Hormone

DHEA

The aging process affects everyone. Regardless of a healthy diet and exercise, somewhere around the age of 35 our bodies begin to fatigue more easily and gradually lose muscle mass as we get older. It is thought by many that much of this effect can be attributed to declining DHEA hormone production. However, scientists and doctors have not reached a conclusion and continue to debate whether or not DHEA has any real anti-aging benefits.

DHEA, which is short for dehydroepiandrosterone, is the most abundant biological steroid in humans. Our adrenal glands produce it naturally and it is synthesized by our brains. Declining DHEA is thought not only to be related to the loss of stamina and muscle mass, but also associated with increase in body fat, weakened sex drive and a higher susceptibility to disease.

Studies of DHEA Anti-Aging Benefits are Inconclusive

While some studies have shown evidence suggesting beneficial effects from DHEA, other studies have contradicted the findings. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Higher DHEA levels have been associated with longevity in both people and primates. But no experimental data are available to show that maintaining peak DHEA levels in older adults can prolong their lives.”

Those who take and advocate the use of DHEA supplements for anti-aging properties claim its benefits include less fatigue, increased energy, improved memory, relaxation, and a enhanced ability to handle stress. In one study at the University of California Medical School at La Jolla, women between the ages of 40 and 70 who took 50 mg of DHEA per day reported sleeping better, feeling more relaxed, and handling stress more easily, where those taking placebo in the same study did not.

Should You Try DHEA?

While doctors debate the actual benefits of DHEA, most agree that it is safe to use as a dietary supplement. Officially, DHEA is not recommended for people under 40 years of age unless your DHEA levels are known to be low. As with any dietary supplement, if you do choose to try DHEA, it should be taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

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