July 7th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

DHEA is a controversial supplement as an “anti-aging” compound. Some believe it is a crucial component in the fountain of youth, while others think it is a dangerous compound long term.

About DHEA:

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the precursor used to male and sex hormones(androgens and estrogens). After age 30 natural production starts to decline. Many prescription drugs or diseases can also cause a deficiency in DHEA.

As the precursor to so many important hormones, DHEA can play a huge role in our physical and mental health and performance.

DHEA uses for middle aged:

Due to the fact natural production declines after 30, many people postulate that it would then be important to supplement it as your natural production goes down. They believe it can be used as a anti-aging supplement to make a person feel younger by keeping youthful levels of DHEA in the body.

DHEA Controversy:

There is a lack of studies based on DHEA at this time to get real conclusive answers on it's health and anti-aging properties. In early studies, DHEA has been shown to decrease levels of good cholesterol in woman making them at an increased risk of heart attack. Due to the fact that DHEA converts to sex hormones, in theory, excess DHEA can therefore increase the risk of certain cancers related to hormones such as prostate cancer and breast cancer. However, there is no conclusive proof that DHEA will increase risk of cancers. In fact there is evidence now that it may protect against prostate cancer and breast cancer as you get older.

Some small studies have shown so far that DHEA for middle aged people: increased lean mass and strength, increased bone density in woman, reduced fat, increased libido, and a increased a sense of well-being. There is no evidence that DHEA can extend your life.

It appears we will have to wait a few more years to get more definitive answers on DHEA's long term health effects on cancer and woman's cholesterol. Based on tens of thousands of people who have taken it, it certainly does give you a improvement in the quality of your life as you get older.

DHEA's other uses:

DHEA may be showing research promise in many area's including for conditions of: depression, addison's disease, obesity, systemic lupus erythematosus, cervical cancer, crohn's disease, schizophrenia, skin aging, and many other conditions.

DHEA Known Side Effects:

Many nutritionist and Doctors do not recommend going over 5 mg a day. Acne is a common general side effect. The most common side effects in woman are moodiness, abnormal menstruations, headaches, and insomnia. Men may experience agression, high blood pressure, and testicular shrinkage. Due to DHEA's conversion to sex hormones, women may develop masculinizing effects while men may develop feminization. People taking DHEA supplements may be more prone to develop blood clots or liver damage, although this has not been studied adequately in humans. Individuals with a history of abnormal blood clots,heart rhythms, or hypercoagulability, history of liver disease, should avoid taking DHEA supplements.

DHEA supplementation may also alter production or balances of other hormones in the body. These hormonal side effects may include: higher blood sugar levels and resistance, altered cholesterol levels, altered thyroid hormone levels, and altered adrenal function. Extra caution should be taken for patients and monitored by a healthcare professional for persons with hormonal disorders such as: diabetes, hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, or other hormone disorders. DHEA is not recommended for those nursing or pregnant.