DHEA is the most common steroid hormone in the body. As with other hormones, our bodies produce progressively less DHEA as we age. Decreased levels of DHEA have been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, inflammation, immune disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands and is metabolized from pregnenolone, which itself is metabolized from cholesterol. DHEA can be metabolized into other sex hormones, including testosterone and the estrogens, and up to 150 individual metabolites.
Research has proven that youthful DHEA levels can be closely associated with good health, and that low levels have been connected to various life-threatening diseases. After about age 35 DHEA begins to decline. But with hormone replacement therapy, a physician is able to calibrate the body's balance of hormones. Since DHEA metabolizes into other hormones, DHEA therapy can assist the body in choosing which hormones are needed. Their body then appropriately synthesizes that hormone out of the DHEA. This may account for the astonishing range of benefits that many researchers attribute to this hormone. DHEA's separate metabolites, including 7-Keto DHEA, have also been shown to have individual benefits, including lowering cholesterol, burning fat, and boosting the immune system.
DHEA for Women
Women experience higher levels of estrogen throughout their reproductive years. Their heightened estrogen level provides their body with a strong, natural defense against cardiovascular disease. Around the age of 50 most women begin experiencing menopause. As their ovaries cease to provide menstruation, their body begins to rapidly reduce the production of sex hormones, including estrogen, DHEA, testosterone, pregnenolone and progesterone. Heart disease and osteoporosis become more common during these post-menopausal years, as well as a marked decrease in libido, strength, muscle mass, bone density and energy level.
DHEA replacement therapy in menopausal woman has been known to improve their overall mood, their sense of well-being, and a notable improvement in sexual desire, arousal and enjoyment.