You suspect you have low DHEA but wonder what the symptoms are and if you should be concerned. You're not alone. DHEA deficiency is more common than you think and connected to other low levels of critical hormones. This article will look at what DHEA is and the symptoms of low DHEA with the ultimate goal of helping you live a better life.
DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone is a parent hormone produced primarily in the adrenal glands. The adrenals are small triangular-shaped glands above the kidneys. While small, their function is significant for optimal health. Adrenals produce vital hormones that regulate metabolism, blood pressure, immune system, response to stress, and other essential functions.
One of these hormones is DHEA.This hormone is a precursor or parent hormone that converts to other hormones. For example, the adrenals produce DHEA, and some of this hormone converts to testosterone. Testosterone is an androgen, primarily male hormone, responsible for developing masculine features, male fertility, muscle mass, and more.
So without DHEA, it stands to reason that levels of these other vital hormones can be lower or deficient.
Your body naturally generates DHEA throughout your life, but levels decrease as people age or due to health problems. By the time men and women reach middle age, levels of critical hormones are over half what they were in adolescence. Nevertheless, it's a part of the life cycle. Low levels indicate aging. DHEA is sometimes referred to as the fountain of youth or helps fight age-related problems.
Besides age, other reasons for low DHEA can come from adrenal insufficiency or adrenal gland disorders. While this needs to be researched more, evidence suggests that when your adrenal glands aren't working correctly, lower levels of hormones occur.
Health problems can also cause low DHEA levels. These include the following:
If you suspect you have low DHEA connected to aging, adrenal disorders, or any of the above conditions, you can request a DHEA test to measure levels in your blood.
Below are some common symptoms of low DHEA.
Gaining weight can have dire consequences not only on your overall physical health but also your mental health. Excess fat can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It can be even more disconcerting when it's unexplained or not due to a poor diet or lack of exercise.
Low DHEA levels can lead to weight gain. Gaining weight relates to how DHEA helps regulate metabolism and produce other hormones that affect energy levels and mood. In conjunction with regular exercise, some research shows that DHEA supplementation helps reduce body fat, in particular belly fat.
One sign of low DHEA may be brittle bones or osteoporosis. It's a severe condition that affects both men and women but is more common for women after menopause. Estrogen helps strengthen bones, and low levels deplete bone strength and growth. DHEA helps produce estrogen.
Research has shown that DHEA may improve bone density and strength while combating age-related changes in body composition. This may also lead to better overall athletic performance and endurance.
People with low DHEA levels have reported feeling sad, depressed, and anxious. Poor mental health results in a poor appetite, feeling helpless and brings on fatigue even for the most straightforward task. In addition, it has a profound effect on professional and personal relationships.
DHEA helps provide hormonal balance, resulting in a renewed passion or zest for life. It can make you feel younger and more able to tackle daily problems. While it may not solve feelings of sadness completely, it can help you manage stress.
As you age, your sexual energy naturally decreases, but sometimes this can lead to a complete lack of interest in sex. Low sexual energy can come from a hormonal imbalance, including low DHEA.
DHEA helps build testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone— male and female sex hormones. All regulate fertility, male and female characteristics and desires. Reduced testosterone levels due to poor DHEA generation may lead to decreased sexual appetite. Conversely, supplementing with a high-quality DHEA cream can bring about a renewed interest in sex and a more robust vitality.
Adrenal fatigue, a problem associated with low DHEA, causes men and women to feel lethargic, low energy, and tired. Living each day with low energy levels lowers the quality of your life and brings about feelings of inadequacy.
If you have low energy, you could have low DHEA. In a pilot study, participants supplemented with DHEA and reported increased energy levels for those with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Dry, flaky skin can come from low DHEA levels. A DHEA deficiency can also cause vaginal atrophy or extreme dryness in vaginal tissues making intercourse painful. Vaginal atrophy is a common symptom for perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women.
Research has shown that DHEA rejuvenates and brings moisture to dry skin. It can bring back a smoother, more even coloring to the skin and may even improve the strength and thickness of the skin. Your skin thins as you age, and DHEA supplementation may improve your overall skin quality.
Extreme mood swings can come from low DHEA or a hormonal imbalance. Hormones help control everything from mood to immune function, and any deficiency can make your body feel out of whack. Now, you may think that everyone can get a little moody, but this isn't normal if you're going back and forth erratically from extreme highs and lows. Increasing DHEA can act as a mood balancer to help you "react" your best again.
One age-related consequence may be poor cognition or memory. While this can be related to different things (hereditary or medical factors), low DHEA can cause brain fogginess and poor memory recall. Research shows that DHEA can boost cognition and help stop memory decline in Alzheimer's patients. Supplement with DHEA may give you the brain boost you need to help with memory decline.
Living each day with low DHEA can lower the quality of your life. It can harm relationships and lower self-esteem. But there is a solution— DHEA transdermal supplementation. Research shows it's safe and maybe the answer you're looking for today.