Biol 4800 Section 4
Class 3 Summaries
DHEA is an endogenous hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. DHEA can be
converted into other steroid hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. It is the most
abundant androgen secreted by the adrenal gland. DHEA first appears in the bloodstream
around the age of seven.
Levels peak at age 25, then steadily decline with age.
levels in 70 year old individuals are usually 80% lower than peak levels.
considered to be an anti-aging hormone because DHEA deficiencies in the elderly have
been associated with many medical conditions.
Possible diseases/disorders DHEA
supplementation may improve are adrenal insufficiency, depression, obesity, systemic
lupus erythematosus, Alzheimer’s disease, bone density, cardiovascular disease, cervical
cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, cocaine withdrawal, and critical illness.
Research indicates that DHEA replacement therapy can restore serum levels to
those of a 21 year old. Individuals over 40 not taking a DHEA supplement usually have
serum levels below 200 mcg/dl, while many test below 100 mcg/dl.
deficiency is a risk factor for developing degenerative diseases of aging. Also, DHEA
supplements are widely used by athletes and body builders to boost muscle mass and
burn fat, but there is little evidence to support these theories.
DHEA regulates the immune system by stimulating the activity of T-cells, B-
cells, and macro-phages, thus strengthening the immune system. DHEA levels tend to be
low in individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Also, studies of men
and women have shown no change in body weight, but total fat and LDL cholesterol
levels did improve.
Studies have been done on DHEA and aids, DHEA, blood sugar and weight
management, DHEA and the brain, and DHEA and cancer. Some general side effects of
DHEA may include: fatigue, nasal congestion, headache, acne, rapid/irregular heartbeat.
In women the most common side effects are, abnormal menses, emotional changes,
headache, and insomnia.
DHEA levels peak at age 25 then decline with age, in association with increased
risk of age related diseases. Many studies show that DHEA supplementation may help
reduce or even prevent age associated and other diseases/disorders.
comprehensive studies need to be performed to learn the exact effects of DHEA
The best part of this presentation was the amount of research being
done on the subject and how interesting it is.