DHEA for weight loss: miracle drug or unproven experiment?

Monday, June 27, 2005 by: Dani Veracity
Tags: DHEA, diet pills, weight loss

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In a study exploring DHEA-replacement therapy as a weight loss technique, researchers gave test animals large doses of both DHEA and the drug fenfluramine. According to Dr. Ray Sahelian's DHEA: A Practical Guide, "Even a hot fudge sundae with fresh bananas and dark chocolate syrup couldn't get [the test animals] interested." If you're like most sweet-toothed adults, you probably can't imagine not being interested in a hot fudge sundae. You're probably thinking, "There's something that can make me not interested in a hot fudge sundae? Give me some of that!" But if your taste buds haven't entirely taken over your mind, you might also be asking whether animals would normally be interested in a hot fudge sundae. Unlike the researchers, you might conclude that the animals' lack of interest in ice cream doesn't necessarily prove there are weight-loss properties in DHEA and fenfluramine.

If you have come to the conclusion above, you have also inadvertently realized the problem that is inherent in most DHEA-replacement therapy research. Scientists performed most of this research on animals, and what works for animals may not work for people. This leads to an obvious discrepancy between results from animal-based and human-based DHEA studies. As Dr. Sahelian writes, "[A study] done at the University of Rochester in New York evaluated the administration of 1,600 milligrams of DHEA for four weeks to eight healthy men. The researchers did not find that this steroid had much of an influence on weight loss or energy and protein metabolism. Epidemiological studies also do not support the theory, as had been proposed based on animal studies, that high serum DHEA(S) levels protected against obesity and diabetes."

It is important to note that even human DHEA studies frequently contradict each other. In PDR for Nutritional Supplements, Sheldon Saul Hendle and David Rorvik wrote, "A report in 1988 that high-dose DHEA could favorably affect lipids and induce weight loss in young males was not confirmed in two subsequent trials. In another trial, using the same 1,600-milligrams daily dosage of DHEA used in the 1988 study but this time in women, there was, again, no weight loss."

Contrary to the findings of the University of Rochester-based study, however, in a Temple University-based study, DHEA-supplements enabled adult men to lose 31 percent of mean body fat, as cited in Joseph B. Marion's Anti-Aging Manual. Furthermore, Marion writes that a Temple University researcher, "…reported that DHEA can help a person lose weight by blocking an enzyme known to produce fat tissue." Although the results of human-based and animal-based studies differ for obvious reasons, how can these equally reputable, human-based studies be so contradictory?

Perhaps the discrepancy can be attributed to the questions posed by the researchers, rather than the resulting answers. Researchers who specifically try to label DHEA as a diet pill will be unable to do so. Contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies formulating DHEA supplements as a prescription drug would like you to believe, DHEA supplements are not diet pills. DHEA is not a "quick-fix" cure to obesity.

In order for you to grasp how DHEA supplements sometimes promote weight loss, you must first understand the role of DHEA in the human body. DHEA, or Dehydroepiandrosterone, is an important steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands from cholesterol. DHEA levels decline with age. As Marion's Anti-Aging Manual details, "DHEA levels are known to fall precipitously with age, falling 90 percent from ages 20 to 90. DHEA is like the hub of a wheel and is the central hormone that is a precursor to the numerous sex hormones (including estrogen and testosterone)." In other words, if your DHEA levels are falling -- if the hub of your hormone balance is breaking -- then your body will feel and show the effects. The symptoms that postmenopausal women know all too well, for example, result from these decreased levels of hormones, including that of DHEA.

If you know anything about middle-age weight gain, it should come to no surprise that "body mass index (BMI), a measurement of obesity, was higher in those with low DHEA-S levels," according to Life Extension Foundation's Disease Prevention and Treatment. With this in mind similarly, the fact that DHEA sometimes aids in weight loss should also come as no surprise.

If you're wondering why DHEA isn't 100 percent effective in combating weight loss, ask yourself this: Are any young adults, who presumably have high DHEA levels, obese? The answer is: Yes, of course. Obviously, there are multiple paths to obesity, and DHEA supplementation only helps reverse obesity when that obesity is caused by a DHEA deficiency -- which rarely occurs in the young.

At any age, however, you can still lose body fat safely and naturally, without the use of DHEA supplements. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle, including following a healthy diet and exercising regularly, is a sure way to lose body fat. It's not a magic pill, but it works.

The experts speak on DHEA and weight loss

Note: in the citations below, you will find conflicting statements on DHEA and weight loss. This is no mistake. Even in the natural health community, there are conflicting opinions on the efficacy of DHEA for weight loss.

A landmark study of 242 men, 50-79 years old, based on 12 years of research, stated that a small supplementation of DHEA (100 mcg/ml) corresponded to a 48% reduction in death from heart disease and a 36% reduction in death from any cause (other than accidents). A Temple University medical researcher reported that DHEA can help a person lose weight by blocking an enzyme known to produce fat tissue. In one study, DHEA supplementation enabled men to lose 31% of mean body fat with no change in body weight in 28 days. Another study, involving 16 middle-aged to elderly men, showed that taking DHEA for one year led to a 75% increase in their sense of well-being—they coped better with stress, felt more physically mobile, and slept better.
Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 377

DHEA is a precursor to both estrogen and testosterone. It has been proposed as a treatment for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, fatigue, osteoporosis, and HIV.
Complementary Cancer Therapies by Dan Labriola ND, page 192

Besides helping to maintain proper neurological function, DHEA appears to have a very broad range of positive effects. It is widely believed that DHEA slows the biological symptoms of aging, and helps protect the body from cancer, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, viral and bacterial infection, and hypertension. Therefore it is understandable that many researchers regard DHEA as a "wonder drug."
Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. with Cameron Stauth, page 402

Whenever doctors talk about the safety of a medicine they separate it into short-term safety over a few days or weeks, and long-term safety over months and years of use. Dr. Nestler, a researcher at the Medical College of Virginia/ Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, gave 1600 mg of DHEA a day for 4 weeks to healthy young men without any serious side effects. At this dosage there was a lowering of cholesterol and a decrease in body fat, with a greater response in obese individuals. Most DHEA supplements on the market are less than 50 mg.
DHEA by Ray Sahelian MD, page 9

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone chemically related to testosterone and estrogen. It is made by the adrenal glands from cholesterol. DHEA levels in the human body peak in the mid-20s and steadily decline beginning about the mid-30s. Researchers have studied the actions of DHEA for over 20 years and have found that it may have beneficial implications in many areas, such as improving immunity; reducing meno-pausal symptoms; preventing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and chronic inflammation; improving longevity; and aiding weight loss. DHEA should only be taken under the supervision of a physician who can monitor blood levels of steroids and cholesterol and existing health conditions. DHEA is contraindicated in both men and women who have hormone-related cancer.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 793

In fact, the benefits of DHEA supplementation may extend well beyond an anti-aging effect. Over the last decade, a number of studies have demonstrated that declining levels of DHEA are linked to such conditions as diabetes, obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. In addition, DHEA shows promise in enhancing memory and improving mental function in the elderly as well as increasing muscle strength and lean body mass, activating immune function, and enhancing the quality of life in aging men and women. Further research will be required to determine whether DHEA supplementation will be a useful therapy in all of these conditions.
Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine by Michael T Murray MD Joseph L Pizzorno ND, page 171

Several experimental studies have suggested that 7-oxo-DHEA might enhance thermogenesis. Some researchers have concluded that it is a more effective inducer of thermogenic enzymes than its parent steroid, DHEA. In large doses, DHEA has been shown to induce weight loss in genetically obese and in some normal animals without affecting food intake, but similar effects in humans have not been reliably confirmed. Similarly, there is no credible evidence that 7-oxo-DHEA significantly decreases weight or increases lean muscle mass in humans.
PDR For Nutritional Supplements by Sheldon Saul Hendle and David Rorvik, page 10

Another disease frequently associated with aging is mature-onset diabetes. Here, too, DHEA may be an effective preventive treatment. Dr. Nestler, of the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond, hypothesized that the age-related decrease in DHEA and DHEA-S levels may be attributed to the typical age-related rise in insulin levels in the human body. This rise in insulin is a significant phenomenon on its own, as it can lead to obesity, hypertension and most commonly, diabetes.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 68

Administration of DHEA prevented the development of obesity in genetically obese mice. However, studies in humans have so far failed to demonstrate a role for DHEA in the treatment of obesity.
Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, page 11

DHEA is produced in far greater abundance than any of the other adrenal hormones, yet for years its functions were unknown. It was believed to be only a storehouse from which the body could produce other hormones, rather than having functions of its own. Recent research, however, has pinpointed DHEA as an extremely powerful hormone in its own right. It counteracts the detrimental effects of stress and boosts immunity. Low levels of DHEA are associated with a variety of medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, lipid disorders, immune dysfunction, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, and cancer.
The Memory Solution by Dr Julian Whitaker, page 199

DHEA and DHEA analogues do, in fact, look promising in some preliminary experimental cancer work. DHEA has protected against and slowed the progression of some cancers in animal work. Human work has only recently begun. There is also some animal work suggesting that DHEA might, indeed, have some favorable impact on obesity.
Vitamin And Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler MD PhD, page 371

DHEA DeHydroEpiAndrosterone(-Sulfate), the most abundant body hormone by thousands of times, an Androgen precursed from Dihydroxy-cholesterol to Pregnenolone in the Adrenal cortex gland to its most plentiful steroid DHEA (also produced by the ovaries), found 6.5 times more concentrated than in blood, in the brain hypothalamus and nervous system (DHEA-S), and high in peripheral tissues. DHEA-S inhibits GAB A and Glycine receptors, and stimulates the Sigma-1 receptors forNMDA, increases nerve firing, improves memory and sleep, mood, lowers stress, tempers violent behavior, type-A personalities have low DHEA-S; increases Serotonin in the hypothalamus and frontal cortex for antidepressant, anti-obesity effects; lessens neuron deaths (DHEA sulfate), enhances Astrocyte differentiation, counters Alzheimer's (tested 48% less DHEA), Parkinson's disease, and multi-infarct dementia. May reduce hair loss, and restore hair color.
Anti-Aging Manual by Joseph B Marion, page 1100

These researchers recruited 13 men and 17 women who ranged from 40 to 70 years of age. Using a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial, they provided 50 mg of DHEA nightly for 3 months. During the study period they measured blood levels of many hormones and nutrients including androgens, lipids, and insulin, as well as body fat, libido, and sense of well-being. Within two weeks of treatment, the DHEA(S) levels in the bloodstreams of those receiving supplements reached those found in young adults. ...Interestingly, no changes were noted in libido or body fat. Changes in blood lipid levels such as cholesterol were not significant.
DHEA A Practical Guide by Ray Sahelian MD, page 29

Weight- DHEA by itself does not seem to play a large role in weight loss, but perhaps, in the future, we will find it useful in combination with other weight-loss medicines or natural nutrients.
DHEA by Ray Sahelian MD, page 75

A fall in serum levels of DHEA is associated with a higher incidence of atherosclerosis and obesity. An association has now been made with diabetes. These observations suggest that DHEA may play a protective role in diseases that gain a stronghold when DHEA levels become low.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 677

Over the last decade, it has been demonstrated that declining levels of DHEA are linked to such conditions as diabetes, obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, arthritis, and other age-related conditions.
Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine by Michael T Murray MD Joseph L Pizzorno ND, page 229

Rudman's experiment demonstrated that more than one factor is involved in aging. There are a whole host of hormones that affect the aging process. At 45 years of age, men produce lower quantities of testosterone and the general state of their health often deteriorates. If these men receive testosterone injections their sexual impulse increases, their muscles are strengthened, and they fight anemia more effectively. Another hormone that helps slow down the aging process is the adrenal hormone, dehydroepiandrostrone (DHEA). The body converts it into other hormones related to the sexual impulse, immune system and memory. It prevents obesity, diabetes and arteriosclerosis. In our youth, our bodies produced this hormone in great abundance. At age 30, this production begins to diminish. This is one of the reasons why people tend to gain weight more easily as they advance in age. A deficiency of DHEA can cause breast cancer and heart attacks. Melatonin is another "mother hormone," our body will convert into any hormone that it needs at that time.
Health In The 21st Century by Fransisco Contreras MD, page 239

Interestingly, levels of DHEA also tend to be lower than average in women with breast cancer. That's what first tipped off the Temple University researcher Arthur Schwartz to its potential importance. Schwartz has since investigated the role of DHEA in a wide variety of age-related conditions, including cancer ("It inhibits many different kinds of tumors," he says) and obesity ("A very effective anti-obesity agent," he finds). In turn, Schwartz's work has helped inspire what amounts to a flood of DHEA studies, which suggest that in lab animals the hormone and its metabolites can help protect against diabetes, improve memory retention, fight certain infectious diseases, and help extend the lives of mice with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Longevity by Kathy Keeton, page 264

In human studies, the hormone dehydroepiandros-terone (DHEA) has led to a loss of body fat by blocking an enzyme that is known to produce fat tissue.
Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A Balch CNC and James F Balch MD, page 546

Current research suggests that DHEA may be of value in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, other memory disturbances, immune system disorders including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and chronic fatigue. DHEA may also enhance the body's immune response to viral and bacterial infections.
Preventing And Reversing Osteoporosis By Alan R Gaby MD, page 159

Some menopausal and postmenopausal women experience a decline in testosterone production, which can cause persistent vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes. A study found that an increase in testosterone and DHEA-S levels seemed to protect against vasomotor symptoms of menopause. This study also found that the body mass index (BMI), a measurement of obesity, was higher in those with low DHEA-S levels.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 772

Large doses of DHEA and fenfluramine and found their intake of calories to decrease only slightly. However, when they combined both the steroid and the drug, there was a profound effect. The lean animals decreased their caloric intake by two-thirds while the obese animals nearly stopped eating. Even a hot fudge sundae with fresh bananas and dark chocolate syrup couldn't get them interested. The researchers conclude, "DHEA and fenfluramine form a synergistic anorectic combination that diminishes profoundly the caloric intake of the Zucker rats, both lean and obese. The effect does not show tolerance over 28 days and can cause significant weight loss in obese animals."
DHEA A Practical Guide by Ray Sahelian MD, page 75

DHEA is a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands, in the family of male sex hormones. Currently there is great medical interest in DHEA (dehydro-epiandrosterone), as well as a push from the supplement industry to promote it as an antiaging, antiobesity, anticancer remedy. Smart-drug enthusiasts think it can also protect brain cells from the degenerative changes of old age. A lot of claims, but not a lot of conclusive science yet.
Ask Dr Weil by Andrew Weil MD, page 77

I have not noticed any effect of DHEA on muscle mass or weight loss when a person has been placed on physiologic replacement dosages. I don't treat patients with DHEA alone. I use it, along with other hormones such as pregnenolone, growth hormone, progesterone, and testosterone, to replace low levels of hormones back up to youthful numbers. They all work together and a balance is crucial.
DHEA A Practical Guide by Ray Sahelian MD, page 37

DHEA has exhibited anti-obesity effects in mice, and can modify food selection in rats leading them to consume diets low in fat. DHEA taken four times daily led to a substantially mean body fat reduction of 31 percent after twenty-eight days. No changes occurred in overall weight, and LDL levels also fell by 7.5 percent. DHEA can stimulate the activity of T-cells, B-cells, and macro-phages, thus strengthening the immune system. In a study of mice infected with encephalitis, DHEA was able to significantly slow the rate of disease onset and mortality. Topical use of DHEA has proven effective in restoring immune function in burned mice. DHEA can significantly reduced the risk of atherosclerosis in rabbits. Low DHEA levels have been associated with the risk of acute heart attacks, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction. DHEA has been found to benefit symptoms associated with menopause and lupus, and enhance the efficacy of vaccination against influenza in the elderly as well.
Ultimate Anti Aging Program by Gary Null PhD, page 170

Suggested mechanisms for DHEA's possible anti-cancer, anti-obesity effects include its hypothesized ability to inhibit an enzyme that is involved in the production of fat and of substances that may promote chemical carcinogenesis.
Vitamin And Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler MD PhD, page 371

When Dr. Schwartz gave DHEA to five normal-weight male rats over a period of 28 days, controlling their diet and activity, he found that four of them lost an average of 31 percent of their body fat. These animals did not lose weight; rather, their metabolisms had shifted from producing fat to creating muscle and energy. Scientists are now doing research into the possibility of treating obese humans with DHEA.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 71

A report in 1988 that high-dose DHEA could favorably affect Iipids and induce weight loss in young males was not confirmed in two subsequent trials. In another trial, using the same 1,600-milligram daily dosage of DHEA used in the 1988 study but this time in women, there was, again, no weight loss. The women subjects suffered androgenic effects and developed insulin resistance and adverse changes in lipoprotein.
PDR For Nutritional Supplements by Sheldon Saul Hendle and David Rorvik, page 131

In animal studies, supplementation with DHEA leads to an increased life span, reduced risk of degenerative diseases, and reduced body fat. DHEA is also known to be a factor in weight reduction. Other uses of DHEA include enhancing immunity by increasing the antibody effect. It also reduces undesirable blood clotting. DHEA increases levels of sex hormones in men and women, which may help to activate sexual libido.
Optimum Health by Stephen T Sinatra MD, page 250

Research suggests that DHEA replacement therapy can have a number of highly beneficial effects. In a 1986 study based on twelve years of research involving 242 middle-aged and elderly men, small doses of DHEA appeared to be linked with a 48-percent reduction in death from heart disease, and a 36-percent reduction in death from other causes. In a twenty-eight-day study, DHEA therapy enabled men to lose 31 percent of mean body fat without changing body weight. DHEA is thought to have caused this loss of fat by blocking an enzyme that is known to produce fat tissue and promote cancer cell growth. In another study, middle-aged and elderly men taking DHEA for one year experienced a markedly greater sense of well-being, including a better ability to cope with stress, increased mobility, decreased pain, and higher quality sleep. Research also indicates that DHEA supplements can help prevent cancer, arterial disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's disease; treat lupus and osteoporosis; enhance the activity of the immune system; and improve memory. Laboratory studies in animals have indicated that DHEA can increase lifespan by as much as 50 percent.
Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A Balch CNC and James F Balch MD, page 705

Other researchers went on to find that DHEA was involved in converting the body's excess glucose to energy— without DHEA, the glucose turned to fat. Too much fat can lead to obesity, and obesity can be a key factor in premature death. Recently, DHEA has been proven to play a role in protecting the thymus gland so that it can do its job in fighting disease. Put them all together—protection against obesity, infectious disease, and many forms of cancer (in laboratory animals)—and you have a hormone and a gland that are obviously very important in the ongoing internal battle against aging. Significantly, levels of both melatonin and DHEA decline markedly with age.
Longevity by Kathy Keeton, page 55

DHEA, growth hormone, and testosterone are hormones that can restore aged muscles to a youthful anabolic state. In fact, growth hormone does something no other weight-loss regimen does: It recontours the body, melting away fat and building muscle. In many cases, people look like they've shed years away along with the fat they have lost. Even better, the greatest loss occurs in deep belly fat—the area associated with increased risk of heart attack. In every study of growth hormone's effects on "normal" people who are aging, GH reduced body fat and increased lean body mass. In a 6-month placebo-controlled trial at Thomas Hospital in London of 24 adults with GH deficiency, the hormone-treated group had no net change in weight, but lost an average of 12.5 pounds of fat and gained an average of 12.1 pounds of lean body mass. Although scientists have been exploring the use of high doses of nutrients to restore GH to younger levels, the most effective way of boosting GH blood levels is regular injections. Disease Prevention
And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 1086

What we do know is that DHEA has a significant anabolic effect, which results in stronger bones and muscles and decreased body fat. It may protect health in a variety of ways. I've seen good results with DHEA in patients with autoimmune diseases like lupus. I also think it might help people with other diseases, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, who have become dependent on prednisone, since it may allow them to wean their bodies off that more dangerous hormone. DHEA is sold as a prescription drug and by several mail-order pharmacies.
Ask Dr. Weil by Andrew Weil MD, page 77

A lack of DHEA appears to be a primary cause of insulin resistance (likely because a DHEA shortage interferes with insulin's ability to regulate blood glucose). Since insulin is one of the hormones that affect fatty acid metabolism, insulin resistance is often observed when fatty acid metabolism is abnormal. Illustrative of this, rats fed a diet containing 0.3% DHEA (ages 5-25 months) had about 25% less body fat than animals not supplemented. Concurrently, the rate of glucose disposal was 30% higher in the DHEA-treated group due to greater insulin responsiveness.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 677

The standard reference ranges for free testosterone and DHEA show that very low levels are perfectly "normal" for aging men. It is no coincidence that these same aging men (with low levels of testosterone/ DHEA) have high rates of depression, memory loss, atherosclerosis, senility, impotency, high cholesterol, abdominal obesity, fatigue, and a host of other diseases related to low blood levels of testosterone and DHEA.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 1058

Various studies have shown low levels of DHEA to be associated with obesity. For example, a 1964 study found that DHEA was completely absent from urine samples of 32 elderly, obese diabetics. Obese people were also found to excrete less DHEA than people of normal weight.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 70

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. It controls our metabolism, or the rate at which food is burned to create energy. Thyroid hormone is required to convert cholesterol into the vital anti-aging steroidal hormones pregnenolone, progesterone, and DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone). Pregnenolone converts to progesterone and DHEA in the body. Progesterone and DHEA are precursors for more specialized hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. The anti-aging steroids are responsible in part for the prevention of age-related diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, senility, and obesity.
The Enzyme Cure by Lita Lee with Lisa Turner & Burton Goldberg, page 242

They found that DHEA levels decreased in these men with age. Those with histories of heart disease had particularly low levels. And lower levels, in general, were consistently associated with increased risk of death from any cause—even after adjusting for age, blood pressure, serum cholesterol level, obesity, fasting plasma glucose level, smoking and history of heart disease. This important study certainly suggests—but does not prove—that DHEA may confer some protection against several—and perhaps all—degenerative processes.
Vitamin And Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler MD PhD, page 372

Animal studies suggest that DHEA may be effective in treating obesity. In a strain of mice that has a genetic predisposition to obesity, administering DHEA at a dose of 500 mg/kg of body weight, three times a week, prevented the development of obesity. DHEA did not cause any toxic effects and did not suppress appetite, indicating that its effect was to speed up the metabolism. In another study, administering DHEA (0.6% of the diet) decreased body weight and body fat in both lean and obese Zucker rats. The decrease in body fat was primarily due to a decrease in the number of fat cells in lean rats and to decreases in both the number and size of fat cells in obese rats.
Preventing And Reversing Osteoporosis By Alan R Gaby MD, page 161

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, as it is more often called, is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. DHEA levels are known to fall precipitously with age, falling 90% from ages 20-90. DHEA is like the hub of a wheel and is the central hormone that is a precursor to the numerous steroid sex hormones (including estrogen and testosterone). Although there is an apparent lack of any direct hormone action for DHEA, it has been suggested that it may serve the role of a buffering hormone, which would alter the state-dependency of other steroid hormones. Although the specific mechanisms of action for DHEA are only partially understood, supplemental DHEA has been shown to have antiaging, antiobesity, and anticancer influences, as well as significant immune-enhancing functions. DHEA has demonstrated a striking ability to maintain immune system synchronization. Oral supplementation with low doses of DHEA in aged animals restored immuno-competence to a reasonable level within days of administration. DHEA supplementation in aged rodents resulted in almost complete restoration of immune function.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 925

This study compared DHEA-S levels in the blood of 423 people who practiced Transcendental Meditation as compared to 1,253 healthy people who did not. The ages ranged from 20 to 81 years. Results were gathered in five-year age ranges. The effects of diet, obesity, and exercise were statistically ruled out. The results were consistent with Dr. Wallace's study. Depending on the age range, people who practiced Transcendental Meditation had levels of DHEA-S that were as high as members of the control group who were five to ten years younger.
Freedom From Disease by Hari Sharma MD, page 191

Consider the biological results of growing old: a greater susceptibility to the "aging" diseases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's; a tendency to gain weight and a gradually increasing proportion of body fat; a general weakening of the immune system. DHEA appears to respond to each of these conditions, yet levels of this vital hormone begin falling drastically after the age of 25. It would seem logical that restoring DHEA levels would help to restore a biological condition of youth.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 72

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is naturally produced by the human adrenal glands and gonads with optimal levels occurring around age 20 for women and age 25 for men. After those ages, DHEA levels gradually decline. DHEA is an antioxidant, hormone regulator, and the building block from which estrogen and testosterone are produced. Low DHEA levels have been associated with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, obesity, AIDS, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and immune dysfunction illnesses. Excess DHEA (more than 15 mg daily) in the body can convert to estrogen and thus contribute to hormonal imbalance. The safest way to raise DHEA levels is by supplementing with its precursor, the hormone pregnenolone.
The Enzyme Cure by Lita Lee with Lisa Turner & Burton Goldberg, page 243

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a natural hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands, and has been used in anti-aging regimens, since one of its properties is that it can "de-excite" the body's processes and thereby slow down the production of fats, hormones, and acids that contribute to aging, is no longer available as a supplement. It has been found to also contain anti-cancer and weight loss properties and is currently being formulated as a prescription drug.
Vitamin Bible By Earl Mindell, page 290

Research has shown that DHEA has many functions in the body pertaining to health and longevity. Among other things, it helps to generate the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone; increases the percentage of muscle mass; decreases the percentage of body fat; and stimulates bone deposition, thereby helping to prevent osteoporosis. As the production of DHEA declines with age, the structures and systems of the body appear to decline with it. This leaves the body vulnerable to various cancers, including cancer of the breast, prostate, and bladder, as well as to atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, nerve degeneration, and other age-related conditions.
Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A Balch CNC and James F Balch MD, page 705

Many researchers believe that DHEA's antiobesity effects are due to its ability to block a specific enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD). Scientists believe that DHEA, by inhibiting G6PD, actually blocks the body's ability to store and produce fat.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 70

Second, numerous animal studies have shown that administration of DHEA prevents obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease; enhances the functioning of the immune system; and prolongs life.
Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, page 695

Studies have shown DHEA to work against obesity by encouraging weight loss by raising metabolism and decreasing appetite and fat storage.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 70

Blood serum DHEA levels have been documented to be lower than normal in patients with autoimmune disorders. Dr. Davis Lamson, a naturopath practicing in Kent, Washington, has found DHEA to be helpful in treating patients with two autoimmune diseases—ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis—as long as the initial DHEA blood and saliva tests show that the DHEA level is on the low side.
Lupus by Sharon Moore, page 78

Dr. Edmund Chein is a strong supporter of DHEA supplementation and is the founder of the Palm Springs Life Extension Institute. He reported that his patients respond with comments such as "I've never felt this good," and "I can't believe how much weight I've lost." Dr. Chein believes that this weight loss and increase in muscle strength can lead to greater personal independence and freedom as we age.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 70

Over the last decade it has been demonstrated that declining levels of DHEA are linked to such conditions as diabetes, obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, arthritis and other age-related diseases. In addition, DHEA shows promise in enhancing memory and improving cognitive function.
Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, page 1075

Claims for 7-oxo-DHEA include metabolic enhancements that help promote weight loss and increase lean body mass, favorable effects on immunity, improved memory and various anti-aging effects. These claims are largely extravagant extrapolations from very preliminary animal and in vitro studies. Some claim that 7-oxo-DHEA is superior to DHEA itself because 7-oxo-DHEA appears not to be converted to sex hormones.
PDR For Nutritional Supplements by Sheldon Saul Hendle and David Rorvik, page 10

Many hormones have the effect of restoring muscle mass and reducing fat, and DHEA is no exception. It seems to behave similarly to thyroid hormone in regard to weight loss, by indirectly enhancing thermogenesis and declining mitochondrial metabolic efficacy.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 70

A number of studies have shown that DHEA has important effects on health, including possible roles in preventing breast cancer and obesity, while increasing youthful appearance. One study of 242 men, 50 to 79 years old, reported that the DHEA levels in those who died were only one-third that of the survivors.
The Enzyme Cure by Lita Lee with Lisa Turner & Burton Goldberg, page 261

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Hormone produced by the adrenal glands; appears to aid in the regulation and production of steroidal hormones; appears to help in reducing cholesterol levels and body fats; seems to be involved in increasing muscle mass.
Stopping the Clock by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, page 322

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