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Aging and DHEA

Updated on September 24, 2011

While the name may look like that of some covert government agency, it is really just an abbreviation for DiHydroEpiAndrosterone. This crucial steriodal hormone is produced from pregnenolone by the adrenal glands, brain and gonads and is useful in helping the liver dispose of lipids. It was once thought to be a "junk hormone" due to the fact that it is so common in the bodies of both men and women and no androgenic or estrogenic affects had been directly observed. It was not until it was discovered that the body can produce estrogen or testosterone from this hormone as needed, thus catapulting it high on the list as an important hormone.

DHEA production, as with all beneficial hormones, declines as we age. This is unfortunate, when we consider that it restores energy, improves mood, increases the sex drive, enhances memory, relieves stress, reduces body fat, makes the skin softer, hair shinier, strengthens the immune system and even is a cancer fighter. That is quite a list for something that was considered to be "junk"!

So, why would such a useful hormone begin to vanish from our system as we age? There could be any number of reasons, some speculation, some guesses etc. The entire scope of DHEA's role in the body is not fully understood because its importance was overlooked for so long. Luwered levels of pregnenolone or a slowing of the adrenal glands are the most likely culprets. Considering the fact that it is produced in the brain and gonads, andropause or menopause couid assist in lowered levels of serum DHEA.

In the June 2008 Journal of the Amrican Geriatrics Society there was published a study of males between the ages of 21 and 88 who were followed between the years of 1978 and 2005. The lowered serum DHEA levels correlated to lowered lifespans and it was determined that DHEA could guage the lifespan of males. No correlation was found with women and longevity, but considering the benefits of this hormone, why would any woman not want to restore her youthful levels of it?

DHEA is available over the counter at almost every drugs store and vitamin shop in the country. It is safe, inexpensive and a must in the arsenenal that we will assemble to battle the effects of the years. Do not exceed the manufacturer's dosage; more of a hormone is not always better because you could throw off the body's natural down regulation mechanism. Effects will not be felt overnight, but as the DHEA levels rise in your body you will see and feel the effects of youthfulness returning.


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