Unveiling the Wonders of DHEA: A Hormone Essential for Abundant Health - Thriven Functional Medicine Clinic
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Good morning, and welcome to an insightful discussion on Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) with Dr. L Anderson. As a hormone enthusiast, Dr. Anderson sheds light on the significance of DHEA, exploring its dual role as both a sex and stress hormone. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of DHEA, its role in the body, and how its levels impact our health. Additionally, we’ll discuss the symptoms of both deficiency and excess, the importance of testing, and how to responsibly incorporate DHEA supplementation into your routine.

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Understanding DHEA:

DHEA, short for dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone primarily produced by the adrenal glands. Dr. Anderson emphasizes that while we often associate adrenal glands with stress regulation, they also play a pivotal role in sex hormone production, making DHEA a hormone with diverse functions. DHEA exists in two forms: the main or active form (DHA) and a sulfated or eser form, considered a storage form.

Age and DHEA Levels:

DHEA levels peak in our early 20s and gradually decline as we age. This decline affects both men and women, with men generally maintaining slightly higher levels. Fascinating research has established a connection between lower DHEA levels and accelerated signs of aging, prompting some to label it as an “anti-aging hormone.”

Symptoms of Excess DHEA:

Dr. Anderson highlights the importance of understanding the symptoms associated with excess DHEA, especially when considering supplementation. Androgenic symptoms, such as acne, facial hair growth, scalp irritation, and sleep disturbances, may manifest when DHEA levels are too high. These symptoms are crucial indicators to monitor, especially if considering over-the-counter supplements.

Symptoms of DHEA Deficiency:

On the flip side, deficiency in DHEA has been linked to serious health issues, including metabolic diseases, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, obesity, and compromised immune function. Dr. Anderson emphasizes that chronic stress is a primary contributor to DHEA depletion, leading to symptoms like feeling overwhelmed and an inability to handle stressors.

Testing and Responsible Supplementation:

To determine whether DHEA supplementation is necessary, Dr. Anderson recommends testing DHEA levels through blood or saliva analysis. Stress regulation, quality sleep, and good nutrition are natural ways to support adrenal health, potentially alleviating the need for supplementation. However, when supplementation is warranted, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it is crucial. The dosage varies from person to person, emphasizing the importance of individualized approaches.

Monitoring and Adjusting DHEA Levels:

Monitoring how your body responds to stress and how well you handle stressors can serve as valuable indicators of DHEA’s impact. Dr. Anderson encourages a cautious approach to supplementation, advising individuals to pay attention to changes in energy levels and stress response. Adjusting the dosage as needed, based on how you feel, ensures a personalized and effective approach to maintaining optimal DHEA levels.

In conclusion, DHEA emerges as a fascinating and essential hormone with a profound impact on our overall health and well-being. Dr. Anderson’s insights provide a valuable guide for navigating the complexities of DHEA, emphasizing the importance of testing, responsible supplementation, and individualized care. As you embark on your journey to abundant health, understanding and optimizing your DHEA levels can contribute significantly to a vibrant and balanced life.

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