DHEA: Miracle Hormone or Not?

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What is DHEA and should I take it?

DHEA: Miracle Hormone or Not?

When we are young, our hormones are present in high levels. As we age, however, these levels decrease and we lose some of our youthful exuberance. So, much of the focus of anti-aging medicine is on replacing hormones that the body has lost in order to regain some of our youthful good feelings.

One such hormone supplement, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is in the spotlight as a hormone to fix everything. DHEA is manufactured mainly by the adrenal glands and is the body's most common steroid hormone. As with other hormones, DHEA decreases as we age. Some experts believe replicating the DHEA level of a 21-year-old can reduce risks of certain diseases while at the same time increasing lean body mass, sexual interest and boosting the immune system.

Other doctors, however, argue that we don't have enough proof that DHEA works in all these ways. Furthermore, these experts have concerns that DHEA can have irreversible side effects we don't yet know about, such as a possible increased risk of cancer.

Experts are clearly divided on the issue of DHEA. While some people are already taking DHEA on the belief that keeping DHEA at 21-year-old levels will extend their life, this is not known to be true. DHEA is virtually unregulated and can have effects throughout the body that are not yet known. For these reasons, experts suggest consulting with your doctor before beginning any DHEA program.

   

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