Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands. It is a natural steroid with many of the same biochemical properties as testosterone and is converted to both testosterone and estrogen. DHEA is found in high amounts early in life, peaking between ages 25 and 30. Levels drop as we age.
DHEA supplements are used to help treat arthritis, lupus, erectile dysfunction and fatigue. DHEA is also used in weight training to help build muscle, and can aid in weight loss.
Energy and Imbalances
For conditions resulting from a hormone deficiency or imbalance, those who use DHEA will find almost immediate results. This includes those who are suffering from fatigue, depression, increased stress and other conditions that lower DHEA levels. DHEA is a hormone that sets off a chain reaction of other hormone production, thus once it is metabolized in the body, you will start to feel the effects.
In order to build muscle, you need to exercise and consume sufficient protein. Taking DHEA supplements can help you build muscle and lose body fat faster. DHEA boosts energy. It also helps improve overall health and wellness, which means the body can repair itself faster, and allows for a more efficient metabolic rate. But how quickly you build muscle depends on your diet and the amount of exercise you get. Most athletes on a strict routine will see results within several weeks of using DHEA.
While DHEA has many positive effects, it should be used only after consulting with your doctor. Prolonged use of DHEA may also lead to abnormally high levels of androgens and estrogens in the body. Because of its relatively new popularity as a supplement, the long-term side effects of using it are still unknown. Some studies and practical observations suggest it may increase a person's chance of hormone-sensitive cancers such as prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.