November 25, 2020



For the most part, weight gain is a normal part of life and directly connected to diet and exercise. But sometimes, there may be other factors at work that people don’t usually talk about— hormones. The most well-known hormones are progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.


But underneath these powerful chemicals is the "mother of all hormones"— DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA plays a role in many crucial bodily functions, and one of them is metabolism. Some people  ask, "Can DHEA cause weight gain?" The quick answer is no, it doesn't.


What is DHEA?

DHEA is a steroid hormone generated primarily in the adrenal glands for both men and women. The adrenal glands are close to the kidneys in the abdomen. It plays a vital role in the hormone pathway as a precursor hormone, meaning small amounts of DHEA are converted to the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Our bodies rely on DHEA for hormonal balance.


Like most hormone levels, DHEA declines as one becomes older. Even though the aging process lowers DHEA levels, they can become too low, resulting in different health concerns, including:


  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Diabetes
  • Low sex drive
  • Osteoporosis or brittle bones
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Infertility
  • Obesity



The exact connection between DHEA and the above conditions isn't exactly clear, but one reason is that the adrenal glands may not be functioning correctly. The adrenal glands also produce other vital hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.


If the adrenal glands are working overtime to produce cortisol, the stress hormone, they may not be producing enough DHEA. When this happens, one reaction may be weight gain.


DHEA & Metabolism

Adrenal fatigue may result in weight gain, and one reason may be the lack of DHEA in the body.

Some evidence has shown that 7-Keto DHEA increased weight loss in mice. Some researchers showed that it reduced weight for older men with metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.


The thought is that 7-Keto DHEA has thermogenic properties. 7-Keto DHEA is created from DHEA and doesn't interact as strongly with the sex hormones as DHEA does. This means that when you take a 7-Keto DHEA supplement, it may not increase the sex hormones in your body. Instead, it has a more substantial thermogenic quality that produces heat to burn calories.


Research indicates that  7-Keto DHEA had twice as much thermogenic ability as it's parent hormone DHEA. Another short study reported that participants taking 100 mg of 7-Keto for eight weeks lost a lot more weight than those taking the placebo. 


Researchers in another study stated participants burned almost an extra 100 pounds per day, resulting in close to 700 calories burned at the end of seven days. They think it was because 7-Keto increased the participants' metabolic resting heart rate despite the low-calorie diet. When you lower your calorie intake, your body naturally lowers its metabolism in compensation.


DHEA & Weight Loss

Weight gain is a distressing sign for anyone. One reason may be adrenal fatigue or low amounts of DHEA. Taking 7-Keto may encourage weight loss.


In a two-month study, overweight participants took 200 mg of 7-Keto per day and lost 6.3 pounds compared to the placebo group, which lost 2.1 pounds. Both groups had a calorie-reduced regiment and exercised three times a week.


In other studies, 7-Keto was combined with other additives, and people did lose weight, but it was unclear how important the other additives were to the result. There is some evidence that 7-Keto can help you burn more calories and fat. It can help you lean down and increase lean muscles.


Risks and Side Effects

7-Keto DHEA and DHEA are thought to be safe and have a low risk of side effects. In some studies, men and women reported some nausea, metallic taste, and heartburn. It's also important to note that the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) has listed DHEA as an anabolic agent or steroid. If you're involved in professional sports, then taking DHEA isn't recommended. Even though side effects are minor and studies have shown participants taking DHEA safely for up to two years, speak to your doctor before starting treatment.


Types of DHEA Supplements

DHEA comes in oral and cream form. Pills can be hard to swallow, making topical creams easier while providing even distribution. DHEA transdermal supplements come in the parent hormone DHEA with added natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter. All of which helps rejuvenate the skin while boosting DHEA levels.


7-Keto DHEA topical cream is available as well with similar added natural ingredients. Both forms also come in different strengths. For example, each pump comes in 25 mg to 50 mg. The right amount for you will depend on your body and health condition.


Usually, you apply once a day at the same time, and your skin must be clean and dry. Skin experts recommend using after a shower to ensure your skin is free of any oils and particles. Remember to rotate the application area and that the undersides of the arms and thighs are more sensitive, making ideal application locations.


Using DHEA for Weight Loss

DHEA has been proven to aid weight loss. While no supplement is ever guaranteed to reduce fat, using DHEA for weight loss is safe and effective. But weight loss supplements of any kind work best when they are part of a broader weight loss program.


If DHEA helps you reduce 5% of your total body fat, but you don't make changes in your diet and exercise routines, the weight may come back once you stop taking the DHEA. Any weight loss supplement must be paired with a healthy diet and daily exercise. This way, the investment is worth it.


The question of whether DHEA can cause weight gain is a good one. While more in-depth research needs to be done, the current studies support that DHEA doesn't cause weight gain but encourages weight loss.