DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is one of the primary female hormones that is very important marker of aging. Research studies suggest that it is a veritable fountain of youth when DHEA levels are balanced and healthy in the body.
DHEA works at many levels in your body, supporting physical as well as mental and emotional functions. For example, it has been shown to lessen menopause symptoms, as well as reduce body fat.
One of the ways DHEA helps support a natural healthy weight loss is that it can influence the changes in weight and body composition that occur over time. Some researchers suggest that DHEA may decrease body fat by blocking the synthesis of fatty acids, which eventually become body fat. Others have noted that DHEA can act as an appetite suppressant and dampen the desire for fatty foods. As the DHEA story unfolds, dieters may someday find that DHEA can be an integral part of a natural weight loss plan.
In fact, in one study published in the International Journal of Obesity, 19 dogs were given increasing doses of DHEA daily. Over the six months of the study, 68 percent of these animals lost an average of three percent of their total body weight each month, without any reduction in food intake. This suggests that DHEA may affect metabolism, the process by which food is turned into energy, causing more calories to be used.
Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism monitored 10 men for body fat. The men, in their early 20s and matched for weight, were divided into two groups. One group was treated with DHEA, a 400 mg dosage four times a day for 28 days, and the other group was left untreated. The men reported no changes in their regular activities or diet. At the end of the treatment period, it was found that among the five men receiving DHEA, their average percentage of body fat dropped 31 percent. However, there was no drop in weight, suggesting that while there was a decline in fat, muscle mass increased. No change in these measurements occurred in the untreated men.
Supplementing With DHEA
While DHEA is certainly an effective natural remedy for weight loos, it is not for everyone. According to Dr. Lark, DHEA supplementation may be most beneficial for women after menopause. Beginning dosages should range from 515 mg a day, then be increased by 510 mg a day, as needed. DHEA dosages in women should not exceed 25 mg per day.
Conversely, there is no reason for women who are in premenopause or early menopause to consider taking DHEA replacement therapy. Similarly, women with normal menstrual cycles have no need for supplementing with DHEA since their bodies are making sufficient amounts of this hormone.
If you are in the later stages of menopause and decide to try DHEA, take with food. You should also take DHEA in the morning, to reflect your bodys own production of the hormone by the adrenal glands. Plus, if you take it later in the day, it can have a stimulating effect and sometimes causes insomnia.
Note: DHEA is best used under a doctors care. If you elect to use DHEA without a physicians guidance, buy the lowest-dose products available in your health food store or pharmacy, begin to use it cautiously, and do not go above 25 mg without the guidance and oversight of a physician.