What is DHEA?
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is produced by your adrenal glands. While one of the most abundant hormones in circulation, scientists know less about the role this hormone plays that many others. However, what we do know is this; it’s important when it comes to the body’s metabolism, weight gain and sexual function in men.
DHEA is what’s known as a “precursor” hormone. Precursors are compounds that the body converts into other necessary hormones. While research still needs to be conducted, recent studies have shown a lower level of DHEA is also a common occurrence in patients suffering from serious depression, erectile dysfunction, and weight gain.
DHEA for men is manufactured by the adrenal glands. As a form of steroid, the body converts DHEA into several other complex hormones. In men and women, DHEA is used to create forms of estrogen, androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone, and testosterone. In fact, one of the primary roles of DHEA in the male body is to be available to be converted into testosterone.
One of the benefits of DHEA is that it serves as an “activist” hormone, working on certain receptors to influence how efficiently they metabolize fat, which can affect weight loss or weight gain. DHEA also helps trigger the testosterone your body needs to become aroused and able to participate in sex. Of course, testosterone also contributes to stronger bones and the growth of strong muscle tissue. Because you can lose as much as 5% of DHEA per year as you age, this is not a hormone that should be ignored.
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Why is DHEA Important for the Male Body?
Dehydroepiandrosterone is a natural form of a steroid, produced in both women and men. In men, it helps synthesize androgens, which are the male sex hormones, including testosterone. Made naturally by the body, it is used to activate specific actions in your tissues and cells.
DHEA is produced by the adrenal gland but is also secreted in the gonadal glands (testes) and the brain. DHEA is being widely researched because there has been some promising work done regarding its therapeutic effects on a range of conditions.
This hormone has been referred to as a “super hormone,” or you may hear it being referred to as the “fountain of youth,” hormone. These terms should never be used to describe this important compound because it can be misleading.
What is important is how DHEA, when present in proper amounts, addresses some serious conditions, many of which present or become worse as we age. DHEA levels peak when we are in our 20’s and 30’s.
DHEA plays a role in many bodily functions, some of them physical, some behavioral. Research has shown that it can protect neurons from toxicity, or after an injury. This hormone is also thought to promote nerve growth, reduce inflammation and prevent cell death. It has also been shown to effectively modulate mood. Those that have the proper amounts of this compound suffer less from anxiety and depression because it enhances the connections between the amygdala and hippocampus.
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What are the Benefits of DHEA?
Research has shown that DHEA can play a part in improving symptoms of some very serious conditions. People suffering from obesity, Addison’s disease, Crohn’s disease, Lupus, erectile dysfunction and colitis have seen improvement with a small DHEA supplement. A low level of DHEA is not something that can be adjusted through diet, as this compound does not exist in food.
This hormone plays a role in the reduction of body fat because it helps to regulate your metabolism. Some studies show that DHEA activates a certain receptor at the cellular level, triggering a chain reaction that metabolizes fat. This means less fat is deposited. Because the belly area is a common area for fat to collect, people who have the proper level of DHEA tend to have less belly fat.
This hormone also plays a role in sexual function, as some of it is converted by the adrenal glands into testosterone. While the addition of DHEA in some cases does not alter the amount of testosterone, it has been effective in treating erectile dysfunction. In studies of older men, DHEA has been shown to improve orgasmic function, increase patient’s sexual desire and overall satisfaction of when having sex.
And finally, reduced bone mineral density can be found in men as they grow older, but even for men in their 40’s. In some cases, men with lower bone mineral density have seen improvement with a small amount of DHEA to supplement their natural supply.
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A system, when working efficiently, processes food into energy. What’s key, however, is how. When there are “extra” calories that the body doesn’t need for energy, the hormones tell the body where to store the excess as fat. This is a sophisticated interaction between enzymes, hormones, and receptors that work at a cellular level.
Being overweight can cause all kinds of health concerns, which is a well-known fact. Extra fat increases our risk of diabetes, heart disease, even some forms of cancer. While there has not been a ton of research about DHEA and how it might play a role in obesity because there is a direct correlation to testosterone production it is an important hormone for men to have monitored by their physician.
Little is known about this hormone as a manufactured supplement or its side effects. Because our systems are so complex and the balance of hormones so important, you want to explore hormone replacement only with the guidance of an experienced specialist. And because DHEA is responsible for testosterone production, which is the main culprit, Low T therapy is an effective way to deal with a depleted DHEA count.
Dr. Mikhail Berman is a licensed medical doctor who has studied hormone replacement therapies extensively. He has helped hundreds of patients restore their hormonal balance and achieve optimum health and wellness. Schedule a consultation today by calling (561) 841-1837 and together, you can develop a hormone health profile and determine whether hormone replacement might be the right for a solution for you.