DHEA is an abbreviation for dehydroepiandrosterone. It’s a hormone that the adrenal glands synthesize so that estrogen and progesterone can be made from it. DHEA levels are highest when you’re in your 20s and starts to wane after you hit the age of 30. By the age of 70 and 80, levels are only 20-30% of what they were when you were in your 20s.
DHEA helps you in these ways:
- Builds bone density
- Boosts immunity
- Helps you deal with stress
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Keeps you in a good mood
- Keeps your brain functioning at a high level
- Decreases your risk of getting cancer
- Decreases your risk of having a heart attack
DHEA naturally declines with ages as it tends to peak out somewhere between 25 and 30 years old (depending on the research) much like testosterone. In addition, the birth control pill, Pulmicort, Seroquel, dexamethasone, and Metformin are all known to lower DHEA levels.
There are several reasons for elevated DHEA levels (not on supplementation) with the first being stress. As DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands, stress may be triggering the release of extra hormones. In addition, ADD medications such as Ritalin, Xanax (alprazolam), Wellbutrin (bupropion), Arimidex, Norvasc (amlodipine), Procardia, diltiazem, and alcohol will raise DHEA levels.
For those who use supplements, it is important to understand that it is an androgen therefore can worsen acne, hirsutism, sweating, male pattern baldness, prostate issues, and cause more irritation/anger. This is especially true if they push that 5 alpha reductase activity (which means more DHT is being made at the cellular level).
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