DHEA and Exercise: The Benefits
The article gives a detailed analysis of DHEA and Exercise: The Benefits. Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a steroid hormone that is secreted by the adrenal cortex found on the adrenal glands, which are located at the top of each kidney. Ninety percent of DHEA is converted into Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, its stable metabolite. DHEA can be converted by the body into other hormones such as testosterone, and estrogen and has been used to boost libido in both men and women.
It is also responsible for the growth of hair in adolescents experiencing puberty. It is most well-known for its role in metabolism, the process of converting food into energy, and bodybuilding. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned the use DHEA. Many athletes used the hormone to help build muscle mass because at high doses it can have the same effect as injectable steroids.
DHEA has several health benefits. It decreases the reaction of the body to stress. This lowers cortisol levels which decreases the storage of fat by the body. It also increases fat metabolism by a process called thermogenesis, or the production of heat. It is a significant part of the metabolic process, and can be used to increase energy disbursement and the oxidation of fat cells. This would be beneficial for anyone attempting to lose weight, especially with exercise. Exercise increases DHEA levels, thereby increasing thermogenesis.
DHEA has also been shown to decrease the desire to eat, most likely because of its effects on insulin. It can decrease high levels of insulin by improving its efficiency, and helps burn fat around the belly lowering the risk of type II Diabetes. DHEA supplementation is effective in older individuals since the levels of this natural hormone decline with age. By the age of 70, DHEA levels have decreased to about twenty percent of the typical level in a young adult. Increasing the levels of this hormone has shown to help prevent insulin resistance, the accumulation of belly fat and even Alzheimers disease. It can also decrease HDL cholesterol levels.
Because DHEA is a steroid hormone, it is beneficial for those who suffer from chronic inflammation. This can, in turn, lower high blood pressure and alleviate pain associated with arthritis. Many sufferers of lupus have benefited from DHEA supplementation. Its effect on pain has helped many lupus patients require less medication. For those with osteoporosis, DHEA has been shown to help with calcium absorption.
DHEA amplifies the glucose and lipid-lowering effects of exercise, making it an excellent supplement for those who hit the gym regularly. It may also increase the development of muscle because of its steroid effects, but this has only been shown in animal testing. Anyone considering DHEA supplementation should have their blood levels checked prior to starting the supplement. If DHEA levels are normal, taking a supplement may cause adverse effects such as facial hair growth and acne in women and gynecomastia, growth of the breast tissue, in men since it can be metabolized into estradiol. DHEA supplements should be strictly monitored by a physician and dosages should not exceed 50mg.