The mother hormone of all hormones. Officially called Dehydroepiandrosterone, it’s another steroid hormone and the majority is produced in our adrenal glands (and a little in the ovaries) and derived from cholesterol. To summarise its vital role, it assists with the conversion of testosterone to oestrogens and declines as we age into menopause.

A bit more detail about this important hormone:

  • It’s an antioxidant, preventing lipid-containing plaque from accumulating, making it cardioprotective.
  • The most abundant hormone in the body
  • Levels will drop in half between 20-40 years old, decreasing more rapidly after the age of 30
  • Can increase wellbeing, mood and anxiety levels, as well as increasing overall stamina.
  • DHEA lowers insulin resistance (improves insulin sensitivity), therefore it is important in retaining muscle and reducing weight gain.
  • Studies are coming out showing DHEA improves the immune system by promoting T-cell function (white blood cells)
  • Low levels can increase symptoms of fatigue, low libido, weight gain, depression, infertility, oily skin, stomach upset and high blood pressure. Caution diets high in sugar. Often PCOS patients will have higher DHEA levels.

Did we say reducing weight gain? Let’s talk a little bit more about this. For years DHEA was marketed as a weight-loss pill. The idea is that DHEA works like a natural steroid, boosting production of natural growth hormones that help build lean muscle mass and fight fat accumulation. It works like a repair signal helping cells take up glucose for energy and this can include preventing visceral fat accumulation. It’s not just body composition that DHEA offers though, it also lowers inflammation, helps prevent autoimmune reactions, and protects against cognitive decline, mood swings and depression. Some studies have shown higher DHEA levels may lower rates of depression and improve emotional stability.

Got questions? Ask our Naturopaths.

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Want to know more about other hormones?

We talk about the good and bad of testosterone
Fun facts to become a pro in prolactin
Progesterone tips and tricks

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