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  Dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, the brain, and the skin. It is the most abundant steroid hormone in the body. DHEA has its own hormone effects. However, it is also converted over to estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. For many years, DHEA was felt to have no particular value other than a precursor to our sex hormones. Researchers then discovered that DHEA dropped steadily as we aged and then discovered that the DHEA could be used as a biomarker to measure the aging process itself.

     Since then, doctors have been prescribing DHEA to patients on a regular basis. Patients reported that this supplement restored them to the younger, energetic healthier and sexier person that they were in their youth. This is because DHEA corrects and reverses much of the deterioration that occurred since reaching middle age. DHEA not only makes people feel terrific, but it does stimulate every important body system.

     DHEA rejuvenates the immune system, improves brain function, relieves stress, and has been shown to be a very potent anticancer drug. DHEA also increases energy, reduces body fat and cholesterol, thereby preventing heart disease.

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Most of these effects are a result of a shift from a catabolic state to an anabolic or protein building state. There has been a significant amount of research published on its critical role in our health and well-being, which is why it is the focus on some of the most exciting medical research in this country.

     DHEA has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which means that less insulin is required. This in turn results in not only protection against diabetes, but in greater control for those that do have diabetes. It has also been shown to have significant effect in treating connective tissue disorders such as lupus, which is a disease that tends to have minimal improvement from standard therapy.

     Most of the tremendous effects seen from DHEA are based on its ability to stimulate protein syntheses from the cell which in turn results in an increase in cell regeneration, increase in protein synthesis and an improvement of immune function which forestalls any disease process.

     DHEA is the ultimate antioxidant, as it appears to prevent the formation of free radicals. Insulin-resistance has lead to over 14,000,000 Americans having some form of diabetes. Insulin-resistance or inability of insulin to do its job results in increased glucose, increased weight, obesity, and heart disease. DHEA has now been discovered to be the missing link between insulin-resistance and atherosclerosis. It is the decline in DHEA that precipitates the insulin-resistance that can lead to damage of the cardiovascular system. Diabetics that have been given DHEA have noted marked decrease insulin resistance that prevents the harmful effects of insulin on the vasculature.

     The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1995 stated that there are over 2500 published papers documenting DHEA's multiple benefits. This important paper documented that we produce half of the DHEA at age 40 that we did when we were 20. Some elderly people produce no DHEA whatsoever. DHEA was shown to improve the quality of life and postpone many of the unpleasant effects of aging such as fatigue and muscle weakness. Patients receiving DHEA slept better, had more energy, and were better equipped to handle stress compared with a placebo group not receiving DHEA. Other potential benefits of DHEA include immune enhancement, anti-cancer effects, anti-atheroscterotic effects, anti-depression, life extension, and cognitive enhancement.

     Recently, the FDA has stepped in to criticize supplementation of DHEA. They state that there is no evidence that these hormones prevent aging in humans. This may be true; however, there are multiple studies done showing the anti-aging effects in animals. Unfortunately, these studies in humans have not been completed and probably will not be for many years to come. The FDA also cautioned that DHEA might cause liver damage. There was only one study showing that rats given 3000 mg of DHEA sustained liver damage. This is a dose 1000 times more than what an average human would take of with the 100 mg/day. After hundreds of published articles on the safety of DHEA and after millions of people that have taken DHEA successfully over that last 20 years without any problems, it is inappropriate for the FDA to criticize the use of DHEA. The only admonition is that I agree that DHEA should be prescribed and monitored by a physician familiar with monitoring hormone replacement.

     Prostate cancer patients are urged to avoid DHEA, which is due to the misconception that it will raise levels of testosterone and thereby aggravate prostate cancer. DHEA has been found to elevate testosterone in women but has not been found to elevate testosterone in men. In fact, evidence indicates that prostate cancer might initially be caused by a deficiency of DHEA. DHEA has been shown to provide significant protection against cancer. If DHEA is taken, the PSA and testosterone levels should be monitored to assure that there is no increase in these values. DHEA is available over the counter. Unfortunately, many of the over-the-counter products from Hong Kong do contain contaminants and therefore are not entirely pure pharmaceutical grade. The half-life of DHEA from over-the-counter sources is approximately 6 hours, which would require that one take the supplement three times a day. Youth Tech Wellness and Anti-Aging Center will prescribe DHEA in a sustained release micronized form which allows for complete absorption as well as a sustained level over a 24-hour period, thereby foregoing the need to take the supplement three times a day. In addition, Youth Tech will prescribe only pure pharmaceutical grade DHEA that is compounded by a pharmacy to assure a 100% pure pharmaceutical compound.

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