Low DHEA Levels?
There are two substances that fall into the category: Fountain of Youth.
They are Vitamin D and bioidentical DHEA.
Erin Chamerlik, MS, MT(ASCP)
Vitamin D is associated with bone strength, improved mood, physical performance, even reduced rates of certain cancers. Many diseases of aging are associated with low vitamin D status including Alzheimer disease, osteoarthritis and hypertension. I will dive more into Vitamin D in another post.
DHEA stands for Dehydroepiandrosterone – the medical world is rife with acronyms, now we know why.
Funny thing is both Vitamin D and DHEA are made from cholesterol. In this country we are accelerating the aging process by dosing everybody with cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. DHEA is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands and is a building block for 50 other hormones including the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.
“DHEA is the most abundant base for hormones in our body. It is not a foreign substance. We make it and have it in our systems. So it just makes sense to keep our DHEA level where it is when we are healthiest.” – Dr. Fagin, MD Dallas, TX
Here are some quick facts about DHEA:
- DHEA peaks by age 25 then drops each year after
- The aging process is tied to a decrease in hormones like DHEA and growth hormone and it is tied to an increase in cortisol (stress hormone) and insulin
- DHEA has a multitude of benefits backed by scientific studies.
- When DHEA is applied to the skin it is about 90% more active than when we take it as a pill.
- DHEA is converted to other hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
Estrogen has skin benefits, nice for anti-aging because it increases moisture, increases collagen. When collagen is increased not only does the skin look more youthful but there are the benefits to joints and even blood vessels. DHEA studies show that skin pigmentation and sebum production improves (oily/waxy substance in the skin that lubricates the skin).
Benefits of DHEA
- Critical for lean muscle development
- Fat burning and weight loss
- Bone growth
- Skin health
- Boosts immunity
- Reduces menopause symptoms
- Prevents cancer
- Prevents heart disease
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
- In men there are cardiovascular benefits
- In women we see improvement in mood, libido, skin and bone strength. Less anxiety and depression
- Improved sense of well being
- DHEA opposes the aging effects of cortisol and is an anti-stress hormone
If you are over 35, your DHEA levels have been dropping.
A DHEA deficiency significantly increases the risk of getting certain cancers (including breast, ovarian, prostate, and bladder), atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, nervous system degeneration, and other age-related conditions.
The best anti-aging plan is a comprehensive approach that involves nutrition, supplementation, exercise, stress reduction and sleep.
Nutrition is foundational to any wellness plan or anti-aging plan.
One way to get more wrinkles and have less energy is to eat the Standard American Diet (SAD).
How to eat to speed aging:
- Load up on processed food, refined sugar, flour food like bread, pasta, bagels and cereal
- Follow the government recommendation to eat 8-10 servings of grains at every meal.
- Eat low-fat (eating a low-fat diet damages hormones, is unhealthy for your brain
How to slow the aging process:
- Real Food Nutrition
- Supplementation and hormone balance
- Stress reduction
- Eat real food, as close to the way it was created as possible (meat, chicken, eggs, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole dairy from organically raised/grass-fed cows, and some fruit).
- Eat 3 meals and include protein, natural fat and veggies.
- Eat natural fat (like butter, olives, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and fat naturally occurring in animal foods). Mankind has survived for thousands of years quite well eating natural fats, including saturated fats. These much maligned fats are important for cell structure, building the brain, protecting the liver from toxic substances, bone structure and it reduces LP(a) a bad dude associated with heart disease risk. Oh, and eating healthy fat is essential for healthy hormones and optimal DHEA.
- Drastically reduce or eliminate processed food.
- Stop eating sugar and food made from flour
- Limit or eliminated grains, especially wheat, barley, rye and oats. All grains have gluten and raise blood sugar quickly. When we eat sugar, bread, bagels, pasta, and other starchy foods we increase blood sugar and insulin. High insulin leads to lower DHEA production in the adrenals.
I recommend supporting Progesterone levels with bioidentical Progesterone.
I recommend supporting DHEA and Pregnenolone levels with bioidentical options, more info here.
“Of all the bioidentical hormones I have used in my practice, the one that gives the biggest bang for the buck is DHEA. It is inexpensive and has proven to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions. If I only had one adrenal hormone to use, it would be DHEA.” Dr. Brownstein, MD