What is DHEA?
Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced in our adrenal glands. It is then turned into testosterone. This testosterone impacts positively on muscle mass, muscle strength and energy. If you do not naturally release a lot of DHEA then you can take a supplement to increase your production. DHEA supplements are great as long as you take them regularly and remain patient, as the results won't be evident immediately.
DHEA is known to have some contraindications with other medication so do check before commencing the supplementation.
You may find that you experience side effects which are caused by the increase of testosterone and oestrogen in your body. Elevated hormone levels can lead to insomnia, headaches and fatigue as well as other changes in hair growth and condition of the skin.
How does it work
DHEA exists in a higher concentration in the blood than any other steroid hormone. Enzymes convert this DHEA into testosterone and oestrogen. Our DHEA production is at its highest in our twenties and then declines with age. As a result, so does our testosterone and oestrogen. This is the reason that men over 30 see a reduction in their testosterone levels.
DHEA is widely recognised in the bodybuilding community due to its ability to be converted into testosterone. Increasing your testosterone levels can lead to higher muscle mass and improved strength gains as well as reduced body fat. Testosterone can also help you to sleep better which then leads to better performance the following day, improves your mood and sharpens your cognitive performance.
Of particular interest is that studies have shown that following exercise, the free testosterone levels of the subjects increased. This indicates that taking DHEA before an intensive workout could offer a testosterone boost.
Experts are in agreement that DHEA can offer a competitive edge if you are a bodybuilder. However, this is a small part of a bigger package and you still need to be prepared to eat well, train hard and look after yourself. Reducing stress, improving the quality of your sleep and exercising regularly will also increase your DHEA levels so supplementation in conjunction with looking after yourself will produce the best possible results.