What’s the Story Here?
We have mentioned DHEA in the “Pregnenolone” article but it might be good to go over a bit more.
DHEA is commonly used as a hormone replacement therapy for energy enhancement and anti-aging. Supplementation with DHEA can improve well-being, energy levels, moods, and libido for many people. DHEA acts as an androgen with anabolic activity that is converted to hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. (“Anabolic” refers to the building or synthesis of tissues).
These have some important uses, including:
- Improving resistance against viruses, bacteria, candida, parasites, allergies, and cancer by,
- Reversing the unfavorable effects of excess cortisol including suppression of the immune system,
- Stimulating bone production to prevent osteoporosis,
- Lowering total cholesterol and LDL levels,
- Increasing muscle mass and decreases body fat.
Much of DHEA is formed in the brain (from pregnenolone), but it is also produced in other organs, including the skin. However, the brain contains a much higher concentration of DHEA than the blood does.
We mentioned that, as we age, DHEA levels can decrease. Pregnenolone is largely converted into two other “youth-associated” protective hormones, progesterone and DHEA. Both pregnenolone levels and DHEA naturally peak during youth and begin a long, slow decline with age. By the age of 50, our production is only half of our youth. At 75 our bodies produce 70% less pregnenolone and DHEA than the levels produced at thirty.(9) As we get even older, we can produce as little as about 10% as much as we do when young. (U. of O. Medical Dept.)
Taking DHEA orally will usually restore the level of DHEA in the blood to a youthful level. It is important to avoid taking more than needed, since some people can turn the excess into estrogen or testosterone and large amounts of those sex hormones can disturb the function of the thymus gland and the liver.
Supplements of pregnenolone are a safer way to optimize DHEA production. However, we have also added a small amount of DHEA to make sure there is some direct supplementation.
Keto DHEA, also known as 7-Keto, is a derivative of DHEA. The advantage of 7-keto-DHEA is that, unlike its “parent” hormone, it does not affect sex hormone levels in the body. It does not convert to estrogen or testosterone.(2)
Because 7-Keto does not break down into the sex hormones estrogen or testosterone, many of the side effects associated with the parent product are avoided. (The “old Fashioned” DHEA can raise blood levels of testosterone by much as 10 times above normal.) Studies have demonstrated that 7-Keto does not accumulate in the body over time and is free of unhealthy side effects.(3)
However, 7-Keto has also been shown to be effective when used for weight loss. Studies have shown that 7-Keto DHEA increases the levels of the more active thyroid hormone T3, which helps to regulate your body’s metabolism.
7-Keto produces fat loss through the process of thermogenesis. This term refers to the creation of heat, which is one of the forms of energy produced when the body’s cells metabolize the food we eat. Greater amounts of thermogenesis boost the body’s metabolic rate which increases the conversion of stored fat into energy.(4-5)
In fact, 7-Keto was 2.5 times more active than DHEA at inducing the activity of thermogenic (calorie burning) enzymes in later work by Marenich.(6)
On an even nicer note, unlike caffeine and ephedrine, 7-Keto does not have a central nervous system stimulating effect caused by nor-adrenalin release – nor does 7-Keto increase heart rate or blood pressure! (Let’s get rid of those coffee jitters.)
One study involved people split between a control group that received a placebo and a group that received 7-Keto daily. At the end of the eight week study, the patients who received 7-Keto lost an average 6.34 pounds, while those receiving the placebo lost only 2.2 pounds. That may not sound like much – but it adds up to an extra 24 pounds a year!
By offering many of the advantages of DHEA supplementation without conversion to estrogen and testosterone, 7-Keto affords older adults the opportunity to further promote their health and longevity. Even when their levels of the “downstream” hormones are already optimal, the feelings of youth and actual weight loss continue.
If a person feels so led, from their age and needs in life, to add more DHEA than we have in our formula, they should consider using the 7-Keto form.
9. Havlikova H, Hill M, Hampl R, Starka L. Sex- and age-related changes in epitestosterone in relation to pregnenolone sulfate and testosterone in normal subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 May;87(5):2225-31.
2. Jaliffa CO, Howard S, Hoijman E, et al. Effect of neurosteroids on the retinal gabaergic system and electroretinographic activity in the golden hamster. J Neurochem. 2005 Jul 11.
3. Davidson M, Marwah A, Sawchuk RJ, et al. Safety and pharmacokinetic study with escalating doses of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone in healthy male volunteers. Clin Invest Med. 2000 Oct;23(5):300-10.
4. Bobyleva V, Kneer N, Bellei M, Battelli D, Lardy HA. Concerning the mechanism of increased thermogenesis in rats treated with dehydroepiandrosterone. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1993 Jun;25(3):313.21.
5. Bobyleva V, Bellei M, Kneer N, Lardy H. The effects of the ergosteroid 7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone on mitochondrial membrane potential: possible relationship to thermogenesis. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 May 1;341(1):122-8.
6. Marenich LP (1979). “[Excretion of testosterone, epitestosterone, androstenedione and 7-ketodehydroepiandrostenedione in healthy men of different ages]”. Probl Endokrinol (Mosk) (in Russian) 25 (4): 28–31.