Maintaining optimal levels of DHEA can help improve your health in multiple ways. We recommend optimal levels of DHEA in order to achieve this. Optimal serum levels for women are around 250 ug/dl to 300 ug/dl and for men are around 350 ug/dl to 400 ug/dl DHEAS (the measured metabolite of DHEA in your blood). If your’s are low, consider taking a DHEA supplement.

DHEA is a natural prohormone made from cholesterol. Unfortunately, as you age your body does not make as much DHEA resulting in declining levels. Thus, supplementation may be needed to maintain optimal levels. Here are some reasons why you should maintain optimal DHEA levels.

Improve Brain Health and Mood

Levels of DHEA in your brain are 6-8 times higher than in the blood, thus it has been classified as a “neurosteroid”.[1] It modulates the release and signaling of neurotransmitters in your brain and thus affects your mood and is thought to be helpful in treating depression and anxiety.[2] In addition, age-related cognitive function and memory may be linked to declining neurosteroid levels. It is thought that this natural decline may be linked to the decline of DHEA levels as we age. [3] ,[4]

Higher levels of DHEA have been associated with improved MMSE tests (which assess cognition}. Those who scored well had high levels of DHEAS, while those who scored poorly had lower DHEAS levels.[5] Taking DHEA has been associated with improved mood and memory[6] and visual spatial tasks.[7] A study in Japan showed improved cognitive scores in patients given 25 mg of DHEA while in those not treated a decline in cognitive function occurred, as is normally seen as we age.[8]

DHEA has been shown to assist in the production of growth factors that could potentially produce more brain cells or repair damaged ones, as is seen in Alzheimer’s disease.[9] It may also exert neuroprotective action to nerve cells. This may play a role in mood and depressive disorders and one sees low DHEA levels in these disorders.[10], [11] Supplementation of DHEA long-term has been shown to improve psychological well-being in both males and females.[12]

Improve Bone Health with DHEA

Osteoporosis is a degradation of your bones as you age. Low DHEAs levels have been associated with development of osteoporosis while high levels of DHEAS showed a decreased rate of it occurring.[13] Apparently DHEA promotes the building of bone (osteoblastic activity) while[14] suppressing the dissolving activity of bone (osteoclastic activity).

Age related decline in DHEA levels thus may compromise bone metabolism and promote osteoporosis.[15] However, if you take DHEA, you can increase your bone mineral density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis.[16]

Improve your Cardiovascular Health

As DHEA levels decline with age, cardiovascular disease rates rise[17] along with an increased risk of cardiac events, especially in post-menopausal women.[18] Supplementation with DHEA has been shown to improve cardiovascular health.[19] DHEA also decreases inflammation of the innermost cell layer of blood vessels, also called the endothelium.[20] This would result in less chance of plaque formation.

Falling DHEA levels is associated with increased chance of dying. Those whose DHEAS levels fell into the bottom one-third distribution were more likely to die from any cause than women whose DHEAS levels were in the upper two-third of the distribution over a 6 year follow-up.[21] Low levels of DHEA combined with other inflammatory values and low testosterone resulted in a 63-fold jump in mortality in one study.[22]

Improve Immune Function

As you age, your immune system weakens. A weakened immune system is associated with an increased incidence of certain cancers and infection.[23] Because DHEA modulates several aspects of the immune system, your immune response is boosted thus protecting your body better.[24]

An immune system that isn’t working properly causes inflammation and inflammation is the root cause of degenerative diseases. DHEA decreases inflammation as demonstrated with decreased inflammatory markers.[25], [26] It has been shown to decrease flares in patients with autoimmune diseases such as lupus.[27]

Improve Blood Sugar Regulation

When blood sugars elevate excessively, cells may become overloaded and react by not allowing insulin to bring more glucose into the cells. This is called insulin resistance and the result is elevated blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin resistance occurs and this is closely linked to obesity. Both are major risk factors for heart disease.[28] DHEA has been shown to have a protective role against diabetes.[29] Taking DHEA has been shown to reduce insulin resistance which thus improves diabetes and blood sugar.[30]

Diabetics may have high glucose levels in their blood and DHEA protects against blood vessel damage that is induced by high concentrations of glucose.[31] It helps prevent oxidative stress and production of advanced glycation end products (AGES) that can be damaging to blood vessels. Thus DHEA exerts a positive effect to help prevent progression of cardiovascular disease in patients with type-2 diabetes.[32]

Improve Your Skin

Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, DHEA improves the health of your skin. [33], [34] It may also stimulate collagen biosynthesis and improve the structural organization of the dermis.[35] It can also improve suppleness of the skin due to increase in sebum production.[36] The downside of this is that it may cause acne in susceptible individuals.

Prevention of Frailty

It is thought that declines in DHEA as we age are associated with declines in quality of life and frailty in men and women. The lower the DHEA, the more the aging process occurs.[37] Giving DHEA improved muscle strength which could decrease falling and frailty in women.[38] It also improved other aspects of physical function and well-being[39], [40]

Improved Longevity

Numerous scientific studies have found that declining levels of DHEA are associated with greater likelihood of dying from a variety of causes. In one study, those in the lower third levels of DHEA were 11% more likely to die from any cause over 9 years.[41] In another study, DHEAS levels below 140 ug/dl were associated with a 3.3 fold risk of death from cardiovascular disease. If you increased the DHEA level 100 ug/dl, you see a 36% reduction in risk of death from any cause.[42]

Numerous other studies have associated decreased levels of DHEA with an increased risk of death over time[43], [44] , [45], [46] In one study, individuals whose DHEAS levels declined rapidly were 75% more likely to die during the study period than those whose DHEAS levels declined more slowly.[47] Moreover, DHEA does not increase risk of development of cancers.[48]

In conclusion, DHEA is a great immune booster and can decrease your risks of developing degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, bone deterioration and others. It may also improve your mode and is beneficial for brain health. Making sure your DHEA level is optimized may extend your life since high levels of DHEA have been associated with longevity.

 

References:

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