Hey folks, hormones can be tricky business! As we get older, many of us start experiencing changes that just don’t feel right. Low energy, low libido, depression – sound familiar? For a lot of guys, the culprit is declining testosterone levels.
But popping prescription testosterone pills or slathering on gels comes with some not-so-fun side effects. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a natural way to bring your T-levels back up? That’s why lots of men are giving DHEA supplements a try.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about DHEA benefits for men:
- What is DHEA and how does it work?
- What are the top 5 science-backed benefits?
- Can DHEA supplements increase testosterone levels?
- Why does DHEA decline with age?
- How to optimize your DHEA levels.
- Potential side effects to watch out for.
- Additional tips to boost T naturally.
- Healthy alternatives if DHEA isn’t for you.
- And more!
Let’s dive in.
What Exactly Is DHEA And How Does It Work?
DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone. Man, what a mouthful! Let’s just call it DHEA. It’s a steroid hormone that your body makes naturally. But it’s not made in your testes like testosterone. Nope, DHEA comes from your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys.
The adrenal glands also produce hormones that help regulate your body’s stress response, metabolism, immune system, and more. In addition to DHEA, they also pump out other steroid hormones like cortisol and aldosterone.
DHEA is actually the most abundant steroid hormone in your body. Levels are highest around age 20, then decline pretty steadily as you get older. By the time you hit 70 or 80 years old, you only have 10-20% of the DHEA you had in your prime.
For both men and women, having healthy DHEA levels is important. But since we’re talking testosterone here, let’s focus on DHEA’s vital roles for guys:
- It’s a building block for making testosterone and other androgens.
- It helps balance brain chemistry.
- It supports nerve and immune function.
- It helps maintain strong bones and muscles.
So in essence, DHEA serves as a handy precursor that your body uses to produce vital hormones like testosterone.
But as we age, DHEA production drops off drastically, leading to problems. Supplementing with extra DHEA might help pick up the slack and give your body the raw materials it needs to keep churning out hormones for vitality and performance.
Science Behind DHEA
To really understand how DHEA does its handy work, we gotta take a science tour through your insides! Here’s a quick journey:
- It starts in the bloodstream with LDL cholesterol (remember, it has some value!).
- Cholesterol floats to the adrenal glands and is converted into DHEA.
- DHEA then cruises around your tissues and transforms into sex hormones.
- For men, the end products are testosterone and DHT which support masculinity.
In the brain, DHEA also lends its protective, mood balancing effects. And in the bones, it helps keep your skeleton strong and sturdy.
This versatile little precursor hormone really does it all! Athletes have even used it as a performance enhancer. But for us regular folks, taking it as a supplement remains legal and well-studied for anti-aging.
Alright, now that we know the biology – what does the research actually say about measurable benefits?
The Top 5 Science-Backed Benefits Of DHEA For Men
While more research is still needed, early studies suggest DHEA supplementation may provide advantages in these areas:
1. Stronger Bones
Adequate DHEA levels are associated with better bone mineral density over the lifespan. Postmenopausal women especially may benefit. If you already suffer from brittle bones or low T, discuss with your doctor. More clinical trials are underway.
2. Balanced Mood
By influencing neurotransmitters and hormones that govern mood, DHEA shows promise for alleviating depression – especially milder cases. It helps provide mental/emotional resilience in the face of stress. But more data is needed before DHEA becomes standard therapy.
3. Adrenal Support
Adrenal insufficiency means these important glands don’t produce enough hormones. Supplementing directly with DHEA can help resolve symptoms like fatigue, anxiety and low libido.
4. Improved Body Composition
Early findings indicate DHEA may help shift the balance of body fat and muscle towards more lean mass. This is a key marker of vitality and metabolism.
Likely, any effects on body composition stem largely from DHEA’s downstream metabolism into androgens like testosterone. But directly replacing DHEA as the body’s reservoir declines appears beneficial.
5. Libido, Performance & Vitality
This brings us to the million dollar question: Can DHEA supplementation increase testosterone levels and revive a man’s virility?
Can DHEA Supplements Increase Men’s Testosterone Levels?
Buckle up gents!
Multiple studies suggest the answer is YES – restoring declining DHEA levels with supplementation does translate to improved testosterone status for men, with only minor side effects:
- Men’s testosterone significantly increases, on average, when taking supplemental DHEA daily vs placebo over weeks or months.
- A dose over 50mg daily works best for boosting T with minimal sides.
- Healthy young men, middle aged men, elderly men and even men with clinically low testosterone levels can all benefit.
- Women also experience increased testosterone from DHEA, likely because they start with lower baseline levels. So the relative improvement is more drastic.
Of course, severe male hypogonadism requires proper medical treatment. But restoring DHEA levels appears an effective way to assist moderate low T issues as part of aging.
Let’s explore why DHEA tends to decline drastically for men entering their later decades…
Why DHEA Production Declines With Age
DHEA peaks around age 25, then drops about 10% per decade as men get older. By 70+ years old, you may only retain 10-20% of the DHEA (and resultant testosterone) that you had in your virile youth!
A variety of age-related factors contribute to this decline, including:
- Oxidative Stress – Free radical damage wears down the adrenals over decades.
- Inflammation – Chronic inflammation taxes the adrenals’ capacity.
- Declining Nutrients – Key building blocks get depleted over time.
Maintaining as much DHEA as possible promotes ongoing virility, vitality and protects against chronic disease.
How To Naturally Optimize Your DHEA Levels
You can take exogenous DHEA supplements to pick up the slack. But also implementing key lifestyle strategies optimizes your own endogenous production:
|Ask your doctor to check your DHEA-S blood level.
|Timed Release DHEA
|Match your body’s circadian rhythm.
|Adrenal Support Nutrients
|Vitamin C, B vitamins, minerals.
|Rhodiola, ashwagandha, ginseng.
|Diet & Exercise
|Control blood sugar, inflammation and cortisol.
Taking 50-100mg DHEA with glandular/nutrient support promotes robust levels. Now a quick look at potential issues with long term supplementation.
Potential Side Effects Of DHEA
While existing research shows DHEA as mostly safe for short term use, potential side effects do exist – though not usually dangerous:
- Liver strain if already compromised.
- Lowered HDL “good” cholesterol.
- Acne/oily skin from raised androgens.
- Rare heart palpitations.
- Psychiatric medication interactions.
Discuss with your doctor, Start low and slow with dosing, and monitor body changes. Now let’s move on to bonus Evidence-backed lifestyle tips for pumping up low testosterone.
Additional Natural Tips To Boost Low Testosterone
Restoring DHEA as the precursor reservoir is wise for supporting healthy masculinity. But also implementing these key strategies bolsters T production from the testes directly:
|Lift Heavy Weights
|Squats, deadlifts, bench – build muscle, spike T.
|High Intensity Interval Training
|Sprints, circuits tell body to crank out T.
|Vitamins D, K2, zinc, magnesium, ashwagandha.
|Massage, meditation, nature lowers cortisol.
|7-9 Hours Sleep
|Deep rest allows optimal T production.
|Avoid Estrogen Foods
|Cut soy & plastics that mimic female hormones.
Using several angles of attack kickstarts multi-faceted virility!
A Closer Look At How DHEA Impacts Testosterone
Alright gents, let’s zoom in on precisely how supplemental DHEA translates to more T:
- Your testes produce testosterone.
- Your adrenal glands produce DHEA.
- DHEA floats around until enzymes in your testes convert it into testosterone.
It goes like this:
- DHEA → androstenedione → testosterone
So without enough DHEA as the starter material, your testes can’t output optimal testosterone. DHEA also converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the supercharged turbo version of T that amplifies male traits related to muscle, body hair growth and libido.
This androgen combo gives men their masculine edge. But as DHEA drops off from age or other factors, all this biological mojo suffers…thus the symptoms:
- Loss of libido.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Mental fog and fatigue.
- Weight gain and shrinkage of muscle mass.
In addition to low T, directly low DHEA causes:
- Mood issues like anxiety or depression.
- Nervous system dysfunction.
- Immune challenges.
Clearly, keeping your DHEA tank filled as you age is crucial! Let’s discuss how to make the most of your supplementation…
Optimizing Your DHEA Supplementation Protocol
When supplementing, some key factors influence results:
|Get tested so you know your starting DHEA-S level.
|Take in the AM since DHEA peaks early morning.
|Begin with 25-50mg daily before increasing.
|Take for 8-12 weeks, then take a break.
|Pair with supporting nutrients:
|Enhance diet, exercise, sleep, stress management.
Following these best practices helps you maximize benefits from DHEA while minimizing any side effects. Now let’s examine healthy alternatives if direct DHEA supplementation isn’t for you…
Additional Natural Alternatives To DHEA
Some men understandably take a conservative approach when it comes to hormone precursors. Luckily, science shows certain plants and nutritional compounds can safely optimize male virility and performance. Consider these options:
|How It Works
|Herb to boost T and sexual health.
|Ayurvedic adaptogen, lowers cortisol.
|Incan superfood improves fertility.
|Horny Goat Weed
|Herb spikes nitric oxide for blood flow.
|Zinc & Magnesium
|Essential minerals for robust masculinity.
|Amino acid to stimulate luteinizing hormone.
You can purchase these solo or look for combinations in quality male health stacks without exogenous hormones added.
The Testo Booster Supplement
The supplement product called Testo Prime contains science-backed ingredients shown in human research trials to naturally boost testosterone and enhance male sexual health.
In placebo-controlled studies on the nutrients in Testo Prime, participants experienced:
- Improved erectile function.
- Heightened libido and arousal.
- More muscular fitness.
- Better physical performance.
Testo Prime works with your body’s natural biology to amplify masculine drive and prowess. It’s the healthy, sustainable way to reclaim your prime vitality.
As we’ve explored, maintaining youthful DHEA status as you age appears crucial for protecting testosterone levels, libido and energetic vitality.
Research suggests that for many men, direct DHEA supplementation can safely help salvage declining levels, thereby supporting optimal masculinity. But prudent nutrient support, lifestyle measures and alternative supplements provide additional ammunition for combatting low T woes past your prime.
We hope this comprehensive analysis gives you confidence to reclaim the vigorous manly health that is your birthright – no matter your age!
Here’s to thriving testosterone and flourishing function, fellas!
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- Rejuvenation Res. (2013) -A Review of Age-Related Dehydroepiandrosterone Decline and Its Association with Well-Known Geriatric Syndromes: Is Treatment Beneficial?2013 Aug; 16(4): 285–294. doi: 10.1089/rej.2013.1425
- Arch Gynecol Obstet. (2022) – A systematic review of the impact of 7-keto-DHEA on body weight.Published online 2022 Dec 25. doi: 10.1007/s00404-022-06884-8
- Drug Metab Rev. (2006) – THE BIOLOGICAL ACTIONS OF DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE INVOLVES MULTIPLE RECEPTORS. Published in final edited form as: Drug Metab Rev. 2006; 38(1-2): 89–116.doi: 10.1080/03602530600569877