We've learned over time the many roles hormones play in our physical and mental health. They control how we look and feel, spiking at certain points in our lives and depleting at others.
On the November 12 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed how hormones can affect weight loss, gain and management. Certain hormone deficiencies or excesses cause us to store more fat in different areas of the body that can be difficult to lose. One such hormone he has mentioned before is DHEA, suggesting supplements for individuals whose bodies may not be producing enough of this important hormone.
More About DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is produced by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. You'll have the most in your 20s, with the amount decreasing after that, which is why some people consider losing DHEA the mark of aging. Your doctor can check your blood or saliva to determine if you're deficient in this hormone and whether or not supplementation is necessary or recommended. Supplemental forms are often produced from soy or even wild yam.
Benefits of DHEA
The main responsibility of DHEA within the body is to regulate the amount of fat and muscle within the body. DHEA helps determine how much fat you lose or store and your ability to develop lean muscle mass. Dr. Oz nicknamed it the "anti-aging hormone" because it creates a feeling of youthful energy that helps you stay focused and active in your daily life. Another perk? Having adequate DHEA keeps libido at a healthy level, making it something to consider if you feel your libido has also taken a nosedive with age. Some newer research indicates DHEA may be helpful for mental health, including treatment of mild depression, although further study is needed.
Taking DHEA Safely
DHEA was available in the United States by prescription only until the mid 90s. Today, you can find it most often in capsule or tablet form, in various strengths. Looking further into his advice, Dr. Oz recommended starting with a smaller dose, between five and 25 mg per day with meals to see how you respond to it, as taking too much can be bad for your health.
As always, speaking with your doctor before adding hormone replacement supplements (and supplements in general) is crucial to prevent any potential drug interactions or negative side effects. Some of the possible side effects include acne, digestive upset, facial hair growth in women and fatigue. Your doctor should check your DHEA levels to determine if you have a deficiency and again after a month or so after beginning treatment.
If you're looking to increase your DHEA levels another way, Dr. Oz suggested looking for a relora supplement, which is known to boost DHEA within two weeks when taken in the morning and at bedtime. Relora will also reduce the amount of cortisol secreted within the body. Cortisol encourages the body to store fat (predominately in the abdomen) as a response to stress.
Used properly, DHEA can help you make great improvements in your health as you age. Shop for great deals on DHEA supplements at eVitamins to help you look and feel more youthful.
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