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What role DHEA?

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:26pm

DHEA, the adrenal gland hormone, has suffered its share of ups and downs over the years.

Initially, DHEA was held up as the fountain of youth with hopes of turning back the clock 20 years. Such extravagant dreams have not held up. But DHEA can still be helpful for your program.

All of us had oodles of DHEA in our bodies when we were in our 20s and 30s. Gradually diminishing levels usually reach nearly blood levels of around zero by age 70.

In our heart disease prevention program, of course, we aim to stop or reduce your CT heart scan score. Does DHEA reduce your score? No, it most certainly does not. But it can be helpful for gaining control over some of the causes behind coronary plaque.

For instance, DHEA can:

--Help reduce abdominal fat and increase muscle mass (slightly)
--Provide more physical stamina.
--Boost mood.
--It may modestly reduce some of the phenomena associated with the metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high insulin, low HDL, small LDL, etc.)

In my experience, people who feel better do better on their overall program. If you're always tired and run down and run out of steam by 3 pm, I won't see you riding your bicycle outdoors or at the aerobics class. But if you're bursting with energy until you put your head on the pillow, you're more inclined to walk, bike, dance, play with the kids, dance, take Tai Chi, etc.

Some downsides to DHEA: Some people experience aggression. Backing off on the dose usually relieves it. Also, sleeplessness. Taking your DHEA in the morning usually fixes it.

The dose is best tailored to your age and blood levels. People less than 40 years old should not take DHEA. The older you are, the higher the dose, though we rarely ever have to exceed 50 mg per day. If you've never had a blood level and your doctor refuses to obtain one, 25 mg per day is a reasonable dose (10-15 mg in women 40-50 years old). It's always best to discuss your supplement use, particularly agents like DHEA, with your doctor.

Track Your Plaque Members: Stay tuned to the website for a Special Report more completely detailing the hows and whys behind DHEA.

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