Marla Ahlgrimm on DHEA

Marla AhlgrimmDehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, a common steroid hormone. It is available in creams and oral supplements. As evidenced by some studies, DHEA is useful in treating or preventing a number of potential health problems. Keep reading as Ahlgrimm opens up on this difficult-to-pronounce but potentially beneficial supplement.

Q: Is DHEA made by the body?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, it is produced in the adrenal glands. Unfortunately, the synthetic form, which is widely available over-the-counter, is produced from a compound found in yams and soy. This may have very few health benefits. Bioidentical DHEA, however, might.

Q: What does DHEA do?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Men and women each have DHEA in their bodies. In part, it’s converted into the male and female sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen respectively. It is reasoned that people with low levels of DHEA may be more at risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. This is because many people with these health concerns have markedly low levels of the hormone.

Q: If DHEA affects testosterone, can it increase muscle mass?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It’s possible. Some people claim that taking a DHEA supplement improves their sports performance, helps them lose weight, and makes it easier to gain muscle mass.

Q: Bottom line: Does it work?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Honestly, that all depends on the study and the form of DHEA used. One study from 2008 in Osteoporosis National found that DHEA supplements improved bone density in women. Other studies indicate that supplementing with DHEA may prove valuable in treating depression. There is also some evidence that DHEA can also help with the symptoms of menopause, fibromyalgia, erectile dysfunction, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Anyone considering this should know that, because it is a hormone, may cause oily skin, high blood pressure, itchy skin, testicle shrinkage, and other unwelcome side effects. The best advice would be to consult with a healthcare professional and use a high-grade, bioidentical formulation.

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