One of the hormones that diminish as we age, like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid, is DHEA. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is made in the adrenal glands and converts to testosterone if you are male or estriol, one of the estrogens, if you are female. Depending on what country you are in, DHEA is either purchased over the counter or by prescription only in other countries. Some countries classify it as a nutritional supplement. As you age, the levels of DHEA decline.
DHEA levels can also decrease in persons with kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, anorexia, adrenal burnout, and AIDS. DHEA can also be affected by taking corticosteroids, insulin, danazol and opiates.
Health Benefits of DHEA
The correct dosage of DHEA will increase testosterone, decrease body fat, increase muscle mass, decrease feelings of depression, improve memory loss and assist the immune system by cortisol and adrenaline levels. It also protects against arteriolosclerosis because it lowers cholesterol and insulin levels if you are following a healthy diet. Known as a antidote to high cortisol levels which will, along with insulin levels soar upwards at night, it can assist with achieving a better night of sleep.
DHEA should be used under the guidance of your bioidentical hormone doctor and should be used in conjunction with other bioidentical hormones. Since DHEA is a precursor to other hormones (testosterone and estriol), taking too much DHEA can lead to overly high levels of estrogens or testosterone in the body which can increase the risk of certain types of cancers such as breast, ovarian and prostrate cancers. Hormones should be balanced in the body and when one hormone is depleted or in excess, all hormones are out of balance and your health can be effected severely. The goal is to achieve balanced hormones in menopause.
Speak with your doctor and if you are concerned about your hormone levels and are suffering from the symptoms of menopause or andropause, have a hormone panel done by your doctor. Blood or saliva testing will show the levels of each of the hormones in your body. Your doctor will then determine which hormones you need to replace with natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.