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What is DHEA and Why Is It Important?

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What is DHEA and Why Is It Important?

The adrenal glands are responsible for producing many important hormones in our bodies, such as cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. While these hormones help regulate several vital bodily functions, the adrenal glands also produce one hormone that is often overlooked but equally important: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

Before your body can produce estrogen, testosterone, or any other hormone in the adrenal gland, DHEA is needed. Low DHEA levels can lead to hormone imbalances that may result in decreased libido, weight gain, brittle bones, and depression. 

But what is DHEA deficiency really doing to your body? Is there a solution to low DHEA levels? Can you increase DHEA hormones naturally? Keep reading to learn more.

How DHEA Works

As previously mentioned, DHEA is a hormone produced in your adrenal glands, which are found right above the kidneys. DHEA is also produced in smaller amounts in the ovaries and testes, in which its production is controlled by the brain.

Once the brain detects that your DHEA levels are low, it sends a signal to your body to produce more. When it deems that the hormones produced are enough to meet your body’s needs, the brain “switches off” the command to produce more DHEA.

 A needle with the word ‘hormone’ written on its casing

According to scientists, DHEA hormone levels reach their peak around age 25 before steadily decreasing as you age. By the time you reach 70 years old, your DHEA hormones will have decreased to as little as 10% – 20% of what is found in young adults.

To help increase the DHEA levels in your body, your doctor may prescribe supplements. However, these supplements can have side effects. As with anything you may decide to put in your body, it’s important you understand the risks and weigh them against the benefits. 

Benefits of Taking DHEA Hormone Supplements

Research has suggested that taking supplements can improve your body’s bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This happens as a result of the increased DHEA as it enhances insulin-like growth factor activity (IGF-1).

Another benefit to this hormone is that it can also regulate  your testosterone and estrogen levels. This leads to improved sexual and reproductive health, especially with aging. 

Additionally, it could also help women with fertility problems. DHEA supplements were reported to have improved the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in women experiencing fertility problems. The subjects underwent IVF before and after taking the supplements. According to the results of the study, the women taking DHEA supplements  were producing more eggs with a higher fertilization rate.

DHEA hormone assists in treating adrenal insufficiency symptoms. A study conducted on patients with Addison’s disease—a condition in which the adrenal glands are unable to produce the right number of hormones for their body—experienced an improvement in bone mineral loss and gained lean muscle mass. 

DHEA hormone supplements have been said to help fight the aging process while potentially improving overall well-being, cognitive function, and body composition. However, more research needs to be conducted to produce concrete results.

A cortisol test to determine hormone levels.

Possible Side Effects of DHEA Supplementation

Because DHEA hormones in supplements are synthetic, they can pose a risk to anyone with high cholesterol levels or heart conditions. It’s also not recommended that you take DHEA supplements if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. 

With that said, even if you don’t fall into any of the categories above, you could still experience some side effects from DHEA supplementation such as:

  • Oily skin and acne
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Unfavourable changes in your cholesterol levels
  • Hair loss
  • Facial hair in women
  • Changes in menstrual cycle in women

It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication or supplement to ensure your safety and overall well-being. 

How to Increase DHEA Naturally

In some instances, you can increase DHEA levels naturally b incorporating the following into your everyday routine:

  • Increase the amount of exercise you are doing daily—every little bit helps
  • Practice proactive stress management strategies, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises 
  • A balanced diet that includes plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources

If you choose to incorporate any of these lifestyle changes, be sure to keep track of your progress and stay in tune with your body. 

Get Expert Advice at APT Medical Aesthetics

Now that you know what DHEA is, how it affects your body, and the potential benefits of DHEA hormone supplements, you may be a candidate and can get started on your treatment plan with the experts at APT Medical Aesthetics.

We are a leading medical spa that helps our clients find solutions to their skin concerns and hormonal imbalances. Specializing in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, we will help you maintain your body’s natural hormone levels and, therefore, work to improve your general well-being and quality of life. 

Our dedicated team of industry experts can create a treatment plan that’s sure to produce long-lasting results. If you’re ready to get started, book a free consultation today!

 
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