Understanding the benefits of DHEA – An initial review

By | April 20, 2009

I’m currently taking DHEA. I daresay it is the best (anti aging supplement) I’ve taken thus far. Notwithstanding the fact that I don’t take any injections of growth hormone, I am quite positive DHEA combined with a HGH releaser (and regular exercise program) is just about the best anti aging program anyone below age 60 can manage to have, without too much cost.

A few weeks ago I started my own DHEA program and I can already feel (and see) a definite difference. I’m discerning a better sense of well-being. I feel more energetic and less liable to be fatigued. My eyesight seems to have gotten a little better because I can read text on the TV from where I’m sitting now, although it was harder to make the text out (previously). My facial skin is less dry, and I have also gained more weight; previously I believe I was a little underweight.

The downside is that my sleep seems to have been affected, as I find it harder to fall or stay asleep. And initially, I found myself waking up a little more thirsty than usual, but this has disappeared since.

dhea-natrolI must stress that I only take 75 mg of DHEA per day, and no more; this is also in line with our current collective understanding of DHEA. The optimal dosage for DHEA appears to lie somewhere between 25-75 mg, with 50 mg being a common dose. The recommended way of taking DHEA is to divide it into several doses per day. Thus, with 75 mg, taking 25 mg in the morning, afternoon and early evening is best. I’m also planning to cycle my DHEA intake, just like you do with HGH releasers; meaning you go off it periodically.

As you might see, the brand I’m currently using is Natrol but this is not intended to be a Natrol DHEA review.

Do NOT under any circumstances exceed 75 mg unless you have the specific go ahead from your doctor. DHEA is only now being understood better after several decades of research. In almost all lab tests done on mice, the results have been positive, with increases in lifespan and healthier appearance of the mice being noted in all cases. But that does not mean it can or should be abused in humans. Children, teenagers, pregnant and nursing women, and men with prostrate problems should NOT take DHEA. Women should not take more than 50 mg per day, as it can lead to facial hair growth.

A possible side-effect of DHEA is elevated estrogen and testosterone levels in men and women, respectively. Our body can and does convert DHEA to either androgens (testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstenedione) or estrogens (estrone, estradiol). This can lead to other spin-off side effects, like depression, acne, facial hair growth in women, or enlarged breasts in men. Too much DHEA may also damage the liver or cause insulin resistance. Like melatonin, more is not necessarily better.

A more improved version of DHEA called 7-Keto DHEA is believed to exhibit less side effects because it does not convert into testosterone or estrogen, being in itself a metabolite of DHEA. It is also believed to be more effective than conventional DHEA. That’s why the dosages needed are smaller (25-50 mg/day). I am going to try 7-keto next, once my current supply runs out.

One of the things to remember when taking DHEA is to increase your intake of herbs that help the liver, as well as antioxidants like polyphenols and OPC Factor, and additional vitamin E and C. Currently, I’m taking grape seed extract because of its high content of antioxidants. DHEA promotes free radicals in the liver and extremely high doses have resulted in liver damage in lab test animals, which were mitigated when antioxidants were given to them.

While in no way a 100% substitute for HGH, DHEA has been hailed by some as the “mother of hormones,” and I’m starting to see why some people rave about it. The truth is – DHEA levels plummet in tandem with growth hormone around middle age (and even before that). In fact, some doctors recommend DHEA for anyone above 40.  I’ll update here with more details as I progress with DHEA.

Note: DHEA is not permitted for over-the-counter sales in a number of countries outside USA – unfortunately.

August Update: I have dropped my DHEA intake to around 25-50 mg a day or every other day (currently), since replacing with 7-Keto DHEA.