DHEA – The Antidote for Stress?
Stress has become a part of our lives on every level, so it should not be surprising that a supplement like DHEA has become extremely popular over the last few years. DHEA is promoted for everything from improving moods and energy, to the body’s natural answer to weight loss. While DHEA supplements can be exceptionally beneficial for health, not everyone should be taking DHEA. So how do you know if DHEA will benefit you? The answer lies in the proven health benefits of DHEA and the role that DHEA plays in your body. What is DHEA DHEA is one of the most abundant compounds in the body, depending on your age and lifestyle factors that affect you. Your body produces DHEA in the brain, heart, and the adrenal glands, although most of the production is limited to the adrenal glands. Your body uses cholesterol to produce DHEA, and DHEA is used to produce estrogen and testosterone. Your body uses DHEA to produce the hormones necessary to balance the endocrine system. DHEA and cortisol work synergistically to ensure hormonal balance in the body. Your body needs a healthy balance of these hormones to regulate many of the other systems of the body. When hormones are unbalanced, the results can be seen on both emotional and physical levels. DHEA and cortisol balance one another, and this is where lifestyle and stress become important. DHEA, Cortisol, and Stress The adrenal glands regulate the fight or flight, or stress response. When you experience stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol into the body. Cortisol mobilizes glucose to provide the energy to fight or for flight. Cortisol increases heart rate and blood pressure to mobilize blood to your muscles to provide you with the strength to fight. Cortisol affects the immune system and essentially directs resources away from the immune system to the organs that are vital for survival. The stress response evolved to keep you safe from danger and harm, but it was not designed to function in our modern world. The body cannot differentiate between a real threat – like a truck about to kill you on the road – and the lifestyle threats we face today – like missing a deadline at work. Consequently, the adrenal glands can become depleted, and the resulting adrenal fatigue can severely affect your overall health. DHEA counteracts the effects of cortisol. In other words, DHEA balances the amounts of cortisol in the body and reduces the effects of cortisol. Stress has been associated with many of the modern lifestyle diseases we face, and excessive cortisol primarily accounts for many of these diseases. Stress has been associated with depression and the increase of mood swings. Stress increases your risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Stress is an underlying cause of metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by an increase in abdominal fat and an increase in insulin resistance. Stress has been found to play a role in chronic fatigue. Stress has also been implicated in the rise in obesity levels. If you take a look at the health benefits of DHEA, then it’s not surprising to find that many of these benefits correlate with the symptoms and diseases mentioned above. Health Benefits of DHEA According to various studies, DHEA offers the following health benefits: 1. DHEA supplementation helps to decrease abdominal fat and reduce insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome. 2. Studies have shown a link between low levels of DHEA and increased risks of developing heart disease. 3. DHEA has been shown to be effective for treating some forms of depression. 4. DHEA supplementation has been found beneficial for individuals suffering from adrenal fatigue. Studies show that DHEA improves mood, promotes healthy energy levels, and promotes a sense of well-being in individuals suffering from adrenal fatigue. 5. DHEA was found to promote healthy sex drive in older women, but was not effective in younger women. DHEA Supplementation – Is DHEA for You? As mentioned above, DHEA supplementation can be highly beneficial for certain individuals, but it is important to realize that DHEA is about balance. For individuals with low DHEA levels, DHEA supplementation can be extremely beneficial to help restore balance to the hormonal system and the body. There are a number of factors that can affect DHEA levels, including age and stress. But taking DHEA when your levels of DHEA are sufficient may be detrimental. DHEA supplements like the 7 Keto DHEA supplements by Jarrow Formulas, make DHEA supplementation simple once you have consulted with your physician.