The most common steroid hormone in the body is DHEA. It is produced mainly by the adrenal glands, and to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the body (including the body’s fat cells). Having the optimal level of DHEA in the body will contribute to good health, and in contrast if the body has low levels (or is depleted) of DHEA it is associated with various diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1Is DHEA Restoration available at all Health Renewal Centres
- 2What is DHEA Restoration?
- 3How does DHEA work?
- 4Why would one replace our ageing hormones with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BIHRT)?
- 5How do our levels of DHEA decline with age?
- 6When was DHEA first introduced?
- 7What is DHEA 's role in certain diseases and how does it work?
- 8What healthy levels of DHEA should one strive for?
- 9TO SUMMARIZE: What have you learned so far?
- 10How is DHEA involved in fighting inflammation?
- 11What benefits may DHEA have in post-menopausal women?
- 12What side effects are associated with the drop in DHEA and testosterone among menopausal women?
- 13What benefits have existing studies found that DHEA may have in post-menopausal women?
- 14What benefits may DHEA have in elderly men?
- 15Is hormonal therapy contra-indicated in men and women with hormone receptor positive cancers?
- 16What are additional benefits of DHEA?
- 17How is DHEA levels managed at Health Renewal?
- 18Why should one not self-medicate?
- 19How do I get started?
- 20How is DHEA Restoration managed at Health Renewal?
- 21How often would one see the doctor at Health Renewal?
- 22What are the contra-indications to DHEA Restoration?
DHEA Restoration is available in Johannesburg at the Sandton, Bedfordview, Fourways, Parkhurst, Illovo,and Morningside branches and Pretoria at Brooklyn and Irene as well as in the Western Cape at Claremont, Constantia, Cape Quarter, Willowbridge, Somerset West and Stellenbosch and in KwaZulu Natal at Hillcrest and Umhlanga.
DHEA is metabolized from pregnenolone, which is commonly referred to as the body's “master hormone,” which itself is metabolized from cholesterol. DHEA can be metabolized into other sex hormones, including testosterone, estrogens, and up to 150 individual metabolites.
Having the optimal level of DHEA in the body will contribute to good health, and in contrast if the body has low levels (or is depleted) of DHEA it is associated with various diseases.. Bio-Identical Hormone replacement therapy aims to create balanced hormone levels in the body, which brings to light the value of DHEA. DHEA can metabolize into other hormones, which means that if you supplement with it, your body has excess available and can choose into which alternative hormone it needs to change.
There is an amazing list of benefits of DHEA, and what it can do in the body. One of its separate metabolites, 7-Keto DHEA, even has the ability of lower cholesterol, burning fat, and boosting the immune system, keeping disease at bay.
When one is young, the body naturally has high levels of hormones. Sex hormones, which are produced throughout the body, have a vital role to maintain vibrancy and good health in any person. Scientists have long since been prescribing HRT for ageing individuals to restore the hormone balance, as this includes various benefits for the patient. However, conventional HRT has been under the magnifying glass, since it has been found that in menopausal woman using these drugs, there have been increased cases of strokes & heart attack. The current major prescribed hormones are synthesized from animals (i.e. Premarin ®) or made in a laboratory (i.e. Provera ®).
After we reach 35 years of age, the body’s DHEA levels start with its steady decline. DHEA levels vary according to one’s ethnicity; women (who tend to have lower levels to start with), lose DHEA much faster than men. Men have the advantage that their DHEA levels remain about 30% higher than in woman. Once you reach the age of 70, DHEA levels may be as little as only 20% of what it was in a young-adult body.
BIHRT might well be one of the best things one can do for ageing patients due to the vast range of benefits it holds for them. Supplementing the body with Bio-Identical Hormones can support to the cardiovascular system, the ageing brain and bones. The approach of treating the body with BIHRT needs to harness the wisdom of the body, and replace the declining hormones that deplete as the ageing process continues.
In 1981, an article was published which introduced the concept of the steroid hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and the numerous anti-ageing effects it could have in the body. During those early years DHEA replacement therapy was very scarce, but has since been studies extensively to prove its various benefits. It has been founds that low levels of DHEA have implications for heart diseases conditions, high cholesterol, depression, inflammation, immune disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, HIV and osteoporosis.
Elderly people who suffer from high cholesterol levels, they have an increased risk of heart disease. In this age group, woman’s risk of heart disease rise much faster than men, and this might be due to a loss of hormones during menopause. This shows that there is a clear relationship between sex hormones and heart disease, which leads to an intriguing possibility. Because sex hormones are synthesized from cholesterol, perhaps elevated cholesterol levels represent the body's attempt to supply more of the raw materials for hormone production. One study showed that after comprehensive natural hormone therapy there was a drop in cholesterol levels!
The DHEA levels of a healthy 21-year old is optimal, and therefore a comprehensive approach should be taken to fight the diseases associated with ageing by regularly monitoring the blood hormone levels. Supplementing with DHEA has minimal side-effects and is well tolerated by individuals, even at high doses.
- DHEA is the most dominant steroid hormone in the body. It is produced from the synthesis of pregnenolone and it may be metabolized into other sex hormones including testosterone and estrogen. Low DHEA levels are associated with a range of ageing diseases. These include heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, Alzheimer's, and others.
- DHEA levels drop dramatically as people age. There are pronounced differences in the average DHEA levels of men and women, with women on average having lower DHEA levels.
- DHEA replacement therapy can restore youthful DHEA levels.
Inflammation is a sneaky condition, and there is constant new information showing how it is related to a wide range of diseases. Inflammation is caused by internal chemicals called inflammatory cytokines that are released as part of the immune system response. These chemicals are present in greater concentrations as we age. One of the goals of nutrient & hormone replacement therapy is to reduce the concentration of inflammation cytokines, which can relate to a reduced risk of serious disease.
Having optimal DHEA levels through supplementation has shown to improve several aspects of the immune system in postmenopausal women. These include:
- DHEA appears to be especially valuable against inflammatory cytokines which are elevated in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus is another chronic inflammatory condition, affecting approximately 1 in every 700 women, usually younger women. Treatment of this type of lupus with DHEA (50 to 200 mg daily) caused clinical improvement and decreased lupus flares by 16%.
- Throughout their reproductive lives, women experience higher levels of estrogen produced by the ovaries. This estrogen has a cardioprotective effect, which accounts for women's lower rates of heart disease.
- However, around age 50, women undergo menopause, or failure of the ovaries and cessation of menstruation. This period is distinguished by a rapid drop in the level of sex hormones, including estrogen, DHEA, testosterone, pregnenolone, and progesterone.
- Various diseases have been connected to this rapid loss of hormonal protection, including heart disease and osteoporosis. Many of the symptoms of menopause are caused by the loss of estrogen.
- Decreased libido
- Decreased strength
- Decreased muscle mass
- Decreased bone density
- Decreased energy
In menopausal women, DHEA therapy is sometimes androgenic. This treatment tends to raise the blood levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone, which accounts for the small risk among some women of increased hair growth. However, there is growing evidence that a modest increase in testosterone benefits women. For example, it appears to improve bone metabolism and decrease menopausal symptoms as well as increase sexual desire.
- Woman experience improved mood, and a sense of well-being.
- Their sexual appetite increases, as well as increased activity among women with adrenal insufficiency.
- There is noted increase in bone mineral density.
- The patients experience improvement sexual desire, arousal, and enjoyment.
To compliment testosterone therapy DHEA can be used as an important element in treating men. The amount of “free” testosterone (that is, the available level in the body) falls faster than the level of total testosterone. It is then evident that one has to design a HRT program that will raise the levels of free testosterone in the body.
It has been suggested that DHEA might help to raise free testosterone, which means that when treating an individual with DHEA it will not only increase the blood level of DHEA, but also that of free testosterone. Other studies also indicate that DHEA therapy can be an effective way to treat erectile dysfunction.
There are certain cancers (especially breast and prostate cancer), which may be hormone-mediated. If a person then supplements with hormones it may cause the cancer cells to multiply. As a precaution, men and woman who have a personal or family history of hormone reception-sensitive cancers, or with current tumors, will be advised to stay away from HRT that might worsen their condition.
In addition to the broad benefits as discussed above, DHEA plays an active part in fighting some of the most frightening diseases such as:
Patients with Alzheimer's disease have higher levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and a subsequent imbalanced cortisol:DHEA ratio. It was found that DHEA-S levels were significantly lower in a group of severely afflicted Alzheimer's patients. DHEA-S was shown to significantly increase the bioavailability of VEGF in the brain, which led to the conclusion that treatment with DHEA could be valuable in the treatment plan for Alzheimer’s patients.
As DHEA levels decline, the incidence of cardiovascular disease rises in both men and in women, and there is significantly greater chance of developing coronary heart disease. In men younger than 70 the risk of death is higher among those with the lowest levels of DHEA.
Atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease:
Especially in men, DHEA plays a protective role in the development of these diseases. Cortisol increases the risk of heart attack and the severity of atherosclerosis in men raising DHEA levels to increase the DHEA /cortisol ratio has promise for reducing cardiovascular risk. Unfortunately, the same associations are lacking in women.
Studies have shown that low DHEA is related to premature heart attack in men. Cardiac patients who are severely ill, and those with acute heart attack, have lower DHEA levels for as long as 3 to 4 months after the event.
This disease is characterized by several conditions, which are all associated with elevated risk for heart disease. All of these conditions may be improved by supplementing with DHEA. In addition, DHEA has the ability to assist in decreasing abdominal fat, an important characteristic of metabolic syndrome.
DHEA has been shown to improve measures of cognitive function in laboratory studies.
In patients suffering from major depressive disorders, in both adolescents and adults, DHEA levels are severely reduced in addition to elevated cortisol/DHEA ratio which predicts a delay in recovery. Women who lack detectable DHEA have an increased occurrence of depression. Taking these findings into consideration it has been found that DHEA has also been a useful remedy for depression among middle-aged people.
DHEA appears to increase insulin sensitivity.
HIV-positive men with lower DHEA levels have comparably lower CD4 cell counts and are 2.3 times more likely to progress to AIDS.
DHEA has been shown to enhance the immune response against a wide range of viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens.
DHEA appears to exert a positive role in bone metabolism by inhibiting bone re-absorption and stimulating bone formation. DHEA also seems to aid calcium absorption, and as a result has proved effective in clinical trials treating osteoporosis.
DHEA levels are very closely tied to stress. Studies have shown that traumatic events in a person’s life significantly decrease DHEA levels, testosterone, and androstenedione levels, while increasing the level of cortisol. Calmness, is associated with a higher level of DHEA, and can be obtained by practicing transcendental meditation.
7-Keto DHEA: The Perfect Partner.
This metabolite of DHEA has attracted significant attention for its unique abilities. It has the power to lower cholesterol, burn fat and improve the body’s immune system. This metabolite, known at 7-Keto DHEA, is not converted into estrogen or testosterone, so it may be safely used among people with hormone-dependent diseases, including cancer.
Because of the overwhelming evidence connecting low levels of DHEA to the degenerative diseases of aging, Health Renewal suggests that all people over age 40 begin DHEAtherapy. For most people, the starting dose of DHEA is between 15-75 mg, taken in one daily dose. Many studies have used a daily dose of 50 mg. One recent study showed that doses below 30 mg were not enough to significantly support blood levels of DHEA in young adults. Ideally, DHEA replacement therapy should begin with blood testing to establish a base range. Since almost everyone over age 35-40 has lower than optimal levels of DHEA, most people begin supplementation and test their blood DHEA levels later to make sure they are taking the proper dose.
- In men normal serum reference ranges and ideal ranges of DHEA-S are:16.2-492 μg/dL
- At Health Renewal we take ideal levels at 350-490 μg/dL
- In women normal serum reference ranges and ideal ranges of DHEA-S are 12-407 μg/dL
- At Health Renewal we take ideal levels at 275-400 μg/dL
For all health conditions, the nutraceuticals are individually tailored by the Health Renewal Doctor. The doctor will decide- based on your history, physical examination and blood tests what would be the best for you and your specific needs and/or deficiencies. Please do not self-medicate. Self-Medicating is done when a person takes prescription medication or neutraceuticals on their own without a doctor's supervision and/or consent. By not having a physical examination and blood testing done by a qualified medical practitioner, you could be not treating vital deficiencies or conditions such as elevated blood pressure and high sugar levels. In addition, there is no single supplement given to clients as there is no magic bullet that can support all the essential nutrients that one's body needs.
Make an appointment to consult with your Health Renewal Doctor and they will assist you in determining your risk factors and how best to prevent any problems or conditions that you may be susceptible to.
The initial medical consultation at Health Renewal will be approximately 45 minutes. You will have to complete an in depth questionnaire before the consultation so please arrive 20 minutes before the time. During the 45 minute consultation your Health Renewal doctor will obtain a full medical history from you to determine your personal risk. A physical examination will be done after which the Doctor will decide which blood tests need to be requested from your local pathology laboratory.
These results will then be analyzed by your Doctor and this will be discussed with you at your follow up appointment. The results will determine whether a definite deficiency exists, and you will be advised on your treatment options. These options for treatment may range from (and include more than one) prescription medications, and nutraceuticals. Alternatively bio-identical hormonal creams or tablets can be prescribed, or lastly having bio-identical implants / pellets inserted superficially under the skin, allowing for a constant slow release of hormones into the bloodstream.
After the two week follow up, the initial blood results will be discussed and DHEA Restoration may be initiated. A second follow up with more evaluation and blood tests at 6 weeks is recommended to measure serum DHEA. All individuals react differently to DHEA replacement therapy, so it's a good idea to closely monitor your blood levels and side effects. If side effects appear, it may be possible to add 7-Keto DHEA and reduce the dose of DHEA. Those with compromised liver health should use DHEA sublingual tablets, which bypass liver metabolism. Otherwise, capsules containing the more common micronized DHEA are quite effective in restoring DHEA to youthful ranges.
Do not use DHEA if you are at risk for or have been diagnosed as having any type of hormonal cancer, such as prostate or breast cancer.
1 Reviews (average: 5 out of 5)See all reviews
After feeling the effects of lowered hormones and menopause. Dr Burt thoroughly tested and explained the benefits and symptoms of the various hormone deficiencies. I have regular follow up appointments and we have finally reached the point where I am feeling my usual self again. No more hot-flushes, my weight feels under control and I feel fit and strong. Thank you.