DHEA is a naturally produced compound in the human body. We know that any naturally occurring compound in the body usually has multiple functions. According to medical experts and researchers, DHEA for men has special significance altogether, especially as they age.
The DHEA levels in both men and women are at their peak in their 20’s. As people age, these levels decrease. Obviously, as any such important bodily substance, its decreasing levels can cause many adverse health effects on the body. Some questions you might be asking yourself are: What is this DHEA? Why is it important? What are the symptoms of low DHEA in men? Is using a DHEA supplement for men worth it or not?
To have all these questions answered, read on and discover why it is important to have balanced levels of DHEA for men.
What is DHEA?
DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone is a naturally occurring steroid hormone in human bodies. The hormone is also known as androstenolone, 3?-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one and 5-androsten-3?-ol-17-one. DHEA occurs in the body in the form of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS).
Men and women both have this important hormone, which is involved in more than 140 metabolic functions. DHEA is secreted in adrenal glands, the brain, and the gonads.
This hormone helps in the production of sex hormones in both men and women. It is a necessary precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. DHEA is also a neurosteroid and affects neuronal excitability. The hormone is also helpful for athletes and can increase their athletic capabilities. Many agencies around the world like the World Anti-Doping Agency or WADA have deemed its use illegal in sporting events. That alone tells you how effective it can be in strength training.
DHEA is so important that it is referred to as parent hormone, super hormone, and even fountain of youth hormone. The hormone is also available in supplement forms and can be made synthetically.
DHEA supplements for men are getting increasingly more popular each day due to their benefits such as help with depression, sexual dysfunction, and even weight loss, among many others.
What are the Benefits of Taking DHEA?
DHEA scientific functions include increased anti-aging effects like bone density, relief in depression, weight loss, increase in body mass index, adrenal sufficiency, prolonging youth, help with sexual dysfunction, increased muscle strength, protection against cancers, neuroprotective properties and so much more. Studies show numerous benefits of DHEA in the human body when taken in forms of medication, supplements, topically or orally. Clearly, there is a growing need for supplementation.
DHEA in the Brain
DHEA in the brain is formed independently of peripheral steroid sources. That is why this hormone is also called a neurosteroid. Due to the dual nature of this hormone, its level can differ in blood plasma and the brain. Studies show that neurosteroids are involved in learning and memory processes. DHEA has been shown to improve memory in aged rodents. The same effect may also be achieved in humans, according to medical researchers.
Other studies have looked into how DHEA can potentially protect neurons from toxins and injuries, including strokes. According to some researchers, it may also contribute to the reduction of inflammation and cell death. It can have protective and positive effects on nerve growth.
DHEA also enhances connections between two different regions of the brain; the hippocampus and the amygdala. It also decreases activity levels in these regions, this can be a reason for which it can be used as a mood enhancer. It has also shown to reduce memory for emotional events through the same mechanism of action.
Awesome 6 DHEA Benefits for Men
NOTE: These are only some of the natural functions of the hormone DHEA. With supplemental DHEA results may vary.
DHEA for men has special significance, not just DHEA in general. DHEA benefits for men are tremendous. Men can use this hormone for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:
DHEA is a precursor to testosterone that is essential for normal sexual functions in men. In a study, published in Urology Journal, it was seen that men whose erectile dysfunction is linked with lower levels of testosterone, might use DHEA to improve the condition.
2. Improved Brain Function and Mood
Lower levels of DHEA in the aging body has been linked with degenerative diseases like neurological and metabolic disorders. Studies have shown that higher levels of DHEA are linked to less mental confusion, less negative mood, and lower levels of anxiety. It was also observed that in people with major depression, higher levels of DHEA can trigger remission, and return to normal self.
3. Abdominal Fat Loss
DHEA has shown to decrease abdominal fat in people. In a study, it was seen that men who took 50 milligrams of DHEA daily, reported 7 percent of abdominal fat loss. Though it may not seem like much, most of the complications associated with obesity are usually linked with abdominal fat. Scientists believe that DHEA changes the way the body processes fat so that a lower amount of fat is deposited around the abdominal area.
4. Muscle Strength
As we age, muscle strength in the body declines along with decreasing DHEA levels. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, it was seen that DHEA replacement therapy for 10 months along with weight training increased muscle strength and muscle mass. This was true for men and even women. The researchers believed that DHEA increased the levels of serum insulin-like growth factor concentration, which in turn enhanced muscle mass and strength in the body.
Studies have shown that the immune system can decline with age. However, it was seen that DHEA supplementation with 50 mg of dose daily, significantly activated immune function in men of old age. How this hormone works to increase immunity is, however, not known yet. Scientists believe that it may be linked with increased IGF-l, in the body due to DHEA supplementation.
6. Heart Health
Scientists believe that DHEA supplementation may help with hypertension, coronary artery disease, and atherosclerosis.
What are the Symptoms of Low DHEA in Men?
There are many low DHEA symptoms for men. This hormone exists in a very delicate balance with other hormones in the body; especially cortisol. The low DHEA symptoms for men can be very similar to high levels of cortisol. The symptoms to look out for include:
- Loss of strength
- Loss of muscle mass
- Psychological stress
- Reduced mental function
- Painful joints
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Diminished levels of testosterone
- Impaired immune system
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
- Increased risk of heart disease.
Is DHEA for Men Only?
Women may also be benefited by the use of DHEA supplements, studies show that women (especially postmenopausal) may benefit and have restored adrenal sufficiency. It has also been seen that women who use DHEA can have increased bone density and such supplementation may help with osteoporosis. Women with cancer and vaginal symptoms, when given DHEA, have reported some benefits too, like increased hormone concentrations. Some studies have also shown that DHEA may inhibit the proliferation of cervical cancer cells in women.
NOTE – see risks below: These situations absolutely warrant the overseeing of a trust physician. We strongly advise consulting your doctor before supplementation of any kind, when such disease is present, suspected or part of the patient’s history.
IMPORTANT – Who Should Not Use DHEA?
Though DHEA can be used by anyone and every one, some groups should seek the advice of their healthcare provider before they use any DHEA supplements like:
- People on heart medications like beta-blockers, people using metformin for diabetes, anti-depressants, birth control pills, clozapine or other anti-psychotics, anti-seizure medications, people who just had BCG vaccination, are on sedatives, people on GABA binding agents or morphine.
- People who regularly use steroids, or herbs with antiplatelet effects like ginseng. Or herbs that affect heart rhythms.
- Men taking testosterone should also avoid DHEA, as it can lead to lowering of sperm count or increased breast size.
- People with cancers associated with sex hormones
- Women on estrogen should avoid DHEA as it might cause nausea, headache, and insomnia
- People with serious heart conditions or a history of stroke
- Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding
- Children should not use DHEA supplements of any kind.
The Right DHEA Dosage for Men
People who are starting to use DHEA now may be confused as to how much they should take. DHEA dosage for men and women may differ according to what they are taking DHEA for. Usually, the dosage between 25 milligrams to 200 milligrams per day is generally considered safe.
In studies, it was seen that 50 mg per day can be safely used for a year and 25 mg per day could be safely used for two years. Again, check with your doctor to be sure your use of DHEA supplementation fits with your personal, health profile.
Sources of DHEA
The body produces its own DHEA. However, if you have low levels of DHEA you may consider taking it from outer sources. There is no food that can provide you with DHEA directly. However, here are some ways you can increase your DHEA levels.
1. Natural sources of DHEA
DHEA concentrations in the body have been seen to increase naturally if a person is on a caloric restricted diet. Regular exercise has also been associated with increased levels of DHEA in the body.
2. DHEA Supplement for Men
The best way of increasing DHEA in the body is to consider specially designed DHEA supplements for men. They are readily available in the market and have produced wonderful results for men suffering from erectile dysfunction and lower muscle strength.
DHEA supplements have been seen to be safely used in people for as long as two years without any serious adverse effects.
Side Effects of DHEA Usage
Minor side effects of the DHEA use can be greasy skin, increased hair growth in armpits and pubic area. For men, overuse can lead to severe side effects such as frequent urination, tender or enlarged breasts, and smaller testes. Women may experience side effects like smaller breasts, larger genitals, or abnormal menstruation.
More is not always better. Check with your doctor and do not use more than is commonly understood as safe. Allow time to heal. DHEA converts into other hormones. So it needs time to do so. Adding more to your regimen will not necessarily bring out the desired results more quickly but instead can backfire and cause adverse reactions. When used safely and smartly DHEA can be just what the doctor ordered.