DHEA and its effects

By | November 15, 2007

DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone (what a mouthful), is a cheap alternative to HGH, and used by many people worldwide, mainly to promote muscle growth. Its beneficial effect is largely due to being able to raise the HGH or IGF-1 level in the first place…which of course points towards HGH once again, as the master hormone behind all these secondary beneficial spin-offs.

DHEA can be considered a popular “growth enhancer” amongst laypeople who do not know about its connection with HGH. Many dietary supplements which contain DHEA have been touting DHEA as a “wonder” substance, capable of wide ranging health benefits.

From what we know to date, DHEA is supposedly able to:

  • enhance the immune system
  • protect against heart disease
  • promote weight loss
  • increase muscle mass

DHEA is considered as the master steroid and it’s the most abundant steroid in the human body. It is manufactured from cholesterol by the adrenal glands and gonads, and released as DHEAS or DHEA sulfate in the bloodstream. Being a precursor of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, corticosterone, androstenedione among others, DHEA is receiving some attention amongst the medical community for its role in maintaining the body’s health.

Actually, taking DHEA has long been common practice for body builders and athletes everywhere, due to its ability to increase strength and muscle mass. Based on lab tests done on mice, it appears to control the weight of the mice given DHEA in spite of how much they ate, indicating the fat was being replaced by muscle. DHEA fat fighting abilities stem from its ability to block an enzyme called G6DPH which the body uses to store and produce fat as well as encourage production of cholecystokinin which makes us feel full. (Arthur Schwartz, Ph.D, Fells Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Temple University, PA)

In a test done in 1994 on DHEA involving 84 women and men (Dr Arlene Morales, Samuel Yen and associates from UCSM, San Diego), it was found that DHEA actually increased the IGF-1 level in the test subjects, but did not affect the twenty-four hour measurement of growth hormone levels. So that means the good benefits seen with DHEA is largely due to the stimulation of IGF-1 production caused by DHEA and not because of DHEA itself.

If you want to increase the level of HGH in your body via increasing IGF-1, DHEA may act as a cheap and milder alternative. Just don’t overdo it. It is widely available in most health supplement stores.

NB: Anyone with a history of prostrate/ovarian cancer, pregnant/nursing women, or anyone with prostrate and ovarian problems must avoid taking DHEA, because DHEA can easily change into testosterone and estrogen in the bloodstream, and thus result in an overdose of those hormones.