Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), is a prohormone naturally produced and metabolized in the body by the adrenal glands, ovaries or testes and skin. DHEA plays an important role in maintaining normal bodily functions, such as cognition and memory. Until around age 25, the human body naturally produces DHEA at a consistently increasing rate, and then at about age 25, DHEA levels decrease around 2% per year.
DHEA helps the body build lean shapely muscle, improves REM sleep and improves cognitive function. DHEA increases energy, sometimes described as “a sense of well-being” or “focus,” improves memory, assists with cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of cancer by boosting the immune system.
Perhaps most importantly, DHEA counterbalances the negative inflammatory effects of cortisol. Dehydroepiandrosterone is a prohormone, and as a result, it is a base precursor to testosterone, estrogen, estradiol and 50 other androgenic and estrogenic hormones, all smaller carbon-chain molecules, depending upon which carbon chain sequence the body removes.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about DHEA out there; so read:
The truth about DHEA and aging
DHEA is not the “Fountain of Youth.” DHEA will not make you younger, or prevent you from aging. However, DHEA may help maintain health and mental function. Clinical studies suggest that DHEA may help you lead a happier and healthier life. Studies suggest that DHEA reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and diabetes. DHEA has also been shown to improve mental sharpness, strenghten the immune system, increase bone density, improve sleep, increase sex drive and improve overall mood.
Can supplementing DHEA make me younger?
No. But taking DHEA may help reduce some of the negative effects of aging and reduce the risks of many diseases of aging. Maintaining good health is much better than trying to regain good health once it is lost.
As mentioned, humans produce more and more DHEA from birth through puberty into adulthood. DHEA production peaks around age 25, when we are in our reproductive prime. Then after age 25, our natural DHEA levels decrease at a rate of about 2% per year. By age 35, our bodies produce 20% less DHEA than when we were 25; and by age 50, our bodies produce only about half as much DHEA as when we were in our prime.
Is DHEA safe?
Yes. DHEA is the most abundant naturally occurring prohormone in the human body. DHEA has not been shown to increase the risk of cancer. In fact, research suggests that DHEA may reduce the risks of all types of cancer and strengthen your immune system.
Does DHEA help with weight loss?
Medical research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that “DHEA induced significant decreases in both visceral fat (that’s the kind within the abdomen) and subcutaneous fat (that’s the pad just beneath the skin) in men and women.”*
Researchers believe that DHEA may improve insulin sensitivity, which helps the body function more efficiently, burning glucose in the bloodstream rather than storing it as fat. Studies also suggest that people with appropriate levels of DHEA have more energy and experience a better sense of overall well-being. Increased energy levels and a better overall sense of well-being combined with a positive, productive mindset makes it easier for people to lead a more active lifestyle.
Is DHEA an anabolic steroid?
No. DHEA is not an anabolic steroid. While it is a banned substance for professional athletes, it does not have any of the health risks associated with synthetic anabolic steroids. DHEA does, however, function similarly to steroids, and can help you naturally increase your lean muscle mass. Unlike anabolic steroids, DHEA has no dangerous side effects.
Studies suggest that DHEA helps with muscle recovery after workouts and helps you develop lean shapely muscle. If you want to learn more about how DHEA can improve your workout, check out our blog on DHEA and exercise.
Does DHEA cause insomnia?
No. Medical research suggests that DHEA may actually improve your overall quality of sleep by improving deep REM sleep. If you would like to learn more about how DHEA improves sleep, check out our blog.
Does DHEA actually improve cognitive function?
Yes. Studies suggest that DHEA helps neuronal cells regenerate, which boosts cognitive function and overall memory. If you would like to learn more about how DHEA improves mental sharpness, check out our cognitive function blog.
Can DHEA counterbalance negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol?
Yes! DHEA is actually the only hormone the body naturally produces to counterbalance the adverse effects of cortisol.
Cortisol is often referred to as “the stress hormone.” Cortisol is released by the body as a protective inflammatory response, but chronically elevated levels of cortisol driven by chronic stress can have a negative effect on health and appearance as we age. Cortisol is responsible for lowered energy levels, feeling tired and bloated, increased body fat and the breakdown of muscle.
While DHEA levels gradually decrease as we get older, cortisol levels gradually increase. For optimum health, it is recommended that DHEA-to-cortisol levels be maintained at a ratio of 10:1
How to use DHEA?
The skin, or dermis, is the largest organ of the human body and is where much DHEA processing actually occurs naturally in the body in both men and women. In fact, medical research shows that for post-menopausal women, more than 80% of hormones are metabolized in the skin. Daily recommended doses of DHEA for people 35 and up range from 25mg to 150mg per day depending on age and sex. The older you get, the more you need. Males have higher DHEA levels than women.
DHEA supplements are nothing new, but to actually feel and notice the many potential benefits of DHEA, it must be used correctly. The key is to provide the body DHEA in the right way — as a bioidentical skin cream — so that the DHEA can be absorbed and processed in the skin rather than the gut.
When DHEA is taken as a pill, most DHEA is destroyed by the liver; this means that only DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S) levels increase, not free DHEA. Free DHEA is what the body processes into the sex hormones. Twist 25 DHEA cream is a pharmaceutical-grade bioidentical DHEA cream developed and tested to be safe, effective and available over the counter, and it is absorbed and processed in the skin, not through the gut where the DHEA would be eliminated by the first-pass effect of the liver.
When looking for DHEA cream, remember that all supplements are not created equal. Look for a pharmaceutical-grade bioidentical DHEA cream that is tested to ensure safety, quality and strength. Additionally, be sure the DHEA supplement you use is a bioidentical DHEA cream, as this is exactly what your body makes and uses.
If you’re looking for top-quality DHEA cream, check out Twist 25 DHEA cream. Twist 25 has been thoroughly tested to ensure the best quality possible. Add a pump or two of Twist 25 to your routine each day and feel the benefits. You’ll notice a difference within a few weeks.
* Villareal DT, Holloszy JO. Effect of DHEA on abdominal fat and insulin action in elderly women and men. JAMA. 2004 Nov. 10; 292(18):2243-2248. Funding from the National Institutes of Health supported this research.