DHEA Supplementation and Healthy Aging

August 27, 2023 5 mins to read
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Title: Unlocking the Fountain of Youth: Exploring DHEA’s Role in Graceful Aging

In the quest for slowing the clock on aging, science has been uncovering fascinating connections between hormones and the aging process. One hormone, in particular, has piqued the interest of researchers and health enthusiasts alike – Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) also known as the “youth hormone”. In this article, I go over how DHEA works and it’s potential benefit as a supplement to support healthy aging.

The Science Behind DHEA

DHEA is a hormone produced primarily in the adrenal glands, and it serves as a precursor to sex hormones: testosterone & estrogen. As we age, our body’s production of DHEA significantly declines, starting in the late 20s to early 30s. By the age of 80, DHEA levels may be a mere 20% of what they were in young adulthood.

Studies have suggested that the decline in DHEA levels as we age could be associated with various age-related changes. Research indicates that DHEA plays a role in supporting: mood, cognitive function, and immune health. Part of that is likely due to DHEAs importance in testosterone and estrogen production. Supplementing with DHEA to replace the decreased production in our aging bodies can help to counteract some of the challenges that come with aging allowing us to enjoy our senior years with more energy and fervor.

Potential Health Benefits of DHEA Supplementation

  1. Brain Function: Some studies have shown a link between DHEA supplementation and cognitive performance, showing that it may support mental clarity and focus among older adults[1]. However some studies showed conflicting results, and more research is needed.
  2. Mood Booster: Some research has shown DHEA supplementation can improve mood and emotional well-being in individuals[2]. The mechanism of action behind this effect is still not fully understood, but preliminary results are promising.
  3. Immune Support: Some research has shown DHEA can bolster the immune system of older individuals, especially those who experience a decline in immune system function with age [3]. By bolstering the immune response, DHEA supplementation could contribute to overall wellness.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

It is always best to lean on the side of caution when considering any form of supplementation, including hormone-related ones like DHEA. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have pre-existing health conditions or are on medications you should consult your physician before considering DHEA. A healthcare professional can evaluate your individual health status, recommend appropriate dosage, and monitor potential interactions with existing medications.

If you are in the USA DHEA is available OTC (over the counter) and you can Book an Appointment, for me to include it as part of a nutrition plan. If you are in Canada DHEA is available by prescription only, so you’ll have to contact your physician. If DHEA is available OTC in your country, book an appointment with me for recommendations.

Potential side effects of DHEA supplementation include:

  1. Acne and oily skin
  2. Hair loss
  3. Changes in mood, including irritability and aggression
  4. Facial hair growth (in women)
  5. Deepening of the voice (in women)
  6. Changes in menstrual cycle (in women)
  7. Breast tenderness (in men and women)
  8. Headaches
  9. Insomnia
  10. Stomach upset

Side Effects

  1. Acne and oily skin
  2. Hair loss
  3. Changes in mood, including irritability and aggression
  4. Facial hair growth (in women)
  5. Deepening of the voice (in women)
  6. Changes in menstrual cycle (in women)
  7. Breast tenderness (in men and women)
  8. Headaches
  9. Insomnia
  10. Stomach upset

The Long-term effects and safety of DHEA are not yet fully understood, so it’s important to consult a healthcare provider before using DHEA, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking any medications.

Conclusion

As we age DHEA production in our bodies declines, it seems only natural that supplementing to replace that decline would provide some health benefits. And while preliminary research does support the numerous potential health benefits of DHEA supplementation, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of its benefits and potential risks. Aging is a complex and multi-faceted problem, and DHEA supplementation is just one piece of the puzzle. By staying informed and working with a holistic nutritionist, individuals can maintain vitality and a high quality of life, well into their senior years.

References

Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your supplementation routine.

  1. Yen, S. S., Morales, A. J., & Khorram, O. (1995). Replacement of DHEA in aging men and women. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 774(1), 128-142.
  2. Bloch, M., & Schmidt, P. J. (2011). DHEA treatment of depression. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1223(1), 123-133.
  3. Ravaglia, G., Forti, P., Maioli, F., Servadei, L., Brunetti, N., Martelli, M., … & Mariani, E. (2007). Effect of micronutrient status on natural killer cell immune function in healthy free-living subjects aged ≥ 90 y. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(2), 628-636.

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