DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a metabolite of cholesterol that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands. DHEA is the most abundant, naturally-occurring hormone in the human body, and is often referred to as the “Mother Hormone” because it acts as a precursor that the human body can convert DHEA, upon demand, into a host of other vital health-enhancing hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and corticosterone.
DHEA is an important raw material from which the body manufactures hormones which are very important to normal physiological functions. DHEA levels normally decline markedly with age, so researchers are very interested in knowing if supplemental DHEA may have health-enhancing or anti-aging properties.
DHEA blood levels reach their peak around age 20, then decline in a linear fashion, making it one of the most reliable markers for measuring biological aging. By age 80 DHEA blood levels have declined as much as 95%, signaling the onset of the aging process.
“DHEA is most abundant in the human bloodstream. Research has found it to have significant anti-aging effects. DHEA levels naturally drop as people age, and there is good reason to think that taking a DHEA supplement may extend your life and make you more youthful while you’re alive. Additionally, DHEA may be an important player in cognitive enhancement.” ( Ward Dean, M.D.)
More than just a precursor for the synthesis of other hormones, scientists have also identified specific body cells designed to bind to DHEA. This receptor function indicates that DHEA plays a far more direct role in human health than was previously recognized. There have been over 2,500 published papers documenting DHEA’s multiple benefits, but the most recent paper studied the quality of life enhancing effect of this natural hormone: “DHEA will improve the quality of life over a longer period and will postpone some of the unpleasant side effects of aging, such as fatigue and muscle weakness.”
The report also stated that those patients receiving DHEA supplements slept better, had more energy and were better equipped to handle stress compared to the placebo group not receiving the DHEA.
The potential benefits of DHEA have been known to the scientific community for over 20 years, but this is the first placebo controlled human study conducted that sought to assess the therapeutic benefits of DHEA replacement therapy.