DHEA – Dehydroepiandrosterone
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone secreted by an area of the brain called the adrenal cortex. The body then converts DHEA to the male hormone testosterone which is converted to female hormone estradiol. It is one of the most abundant hormones in the body and its levels vary from male to female. Testosterone also is an anabolic steroid which promotes the growth muscle mass and strength when combined with exercise and resistance training.
DHEA is traditionally used in supplements and taken by women during pregnancy, added to fish oil, used to boost energy, immunity, fertility, brain function and libido. Research indicated there may be benefit from DHEA to enhance exercise and athletic performance. Although some studies may show there is no rise in testosterone, individuals still experienced results similar to testosterone.
A very interesting fact are studies conducted in women. Research show taking DHEA had no side effects on the liver as those studies in men, but it did reveal a proportional increase in testosterone in women who used DHEA for several months. In fact, not only did just the testosterone levels increase there was not a proportional increase in estrogen. Women in fact developed acne and increased growth of fascial which is consistent with higher levels of testosterone. This raises the question as to why testosterone levels did not increase in men, but men had ie felt similar results of increased energy, higher libido, muscle gain as they would have with an increase in testosterone. Further studies need to be obtained to provide conclusive data of DHEA effectiveness, but it is clear the may be significant evidence of it’s use and relative safety. Safety: Studies have not adequately assessed the safety of DHEA.