Before we start discussing low DHEA symptoms and how DHEA affects your body, we should back up a little bit and talk about hormones generally.
DHEA is one of dozens of hormones in your body. Like most hormones, it serves a variety of purposes in your body.
Testosterone, for example, is involved in more bodily processes than simply muscle growth or the development of male sexual characteristics, just as estrogen is involved in more bodily processes than the development of female sexual characteristics.
In fact, both of these “sex hormones” play a role in critical bodily functions, like brain health, bone mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production, just to name a few.
DHEA is similar in that it seems to be involved in many different bodily functions. However, DHEA is a bit different from other hormones.
The Truth Is, DHEA Is a Complicated Hormone, and We Still Don’t Fully Understand How It Works in Your Body
Though DHEA has been known of (and even sold as a supplement) for decades now, we just don’t have very many studies that show conclusively what this hormone does and does not do.
While there are some studies showing that DHEA may help alleviate certain symptoms in women, it’s still not clear that a lack of DHEA is causing those symptoms.
In essence, you may be feeling low testosterone or estrogen symptoms, not low DHEA symptoms.
In fact, because DHEA is a precursor hormone of sorts (meaning it turns into other hormones), it’s possible that the symptoms you’re feeling aren’t coming from a lack of DHEA, but rather are coming from a lack of other hormones.
Here’s what we do know.
Of all the steroid hormones in the body, DHEA is found in larger concentrations than anything else. It seems to be involved in a wide variety of bodily functions, including:
- Certain brain functions
- Certain cellular functions
- Some sexual functions
Because DHEA seems to be involved in these bodily functions, and because a few studies have found positive effects from DHEA, it’s possible that having low DHEA could cause some symptoms. However, we’re still not absolutely certain that DHEA alone is responsible for these symptoms — other hormones may be at work here.
Nevertheless, We Can Point to Some Possible Low DHEA Symptoms
Here’s what we think might be some possible low DHEA symptoms:
- Sexual dysfunction (including erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in women)
- Heart disease
- Low bone density
Now, if these possible symptoms look familiar, there’s a reason for it — it’s because many of these same symptoms occur from low testosterone or low estrogen.
Which leads us into a deeper problem. Generally, it’s not a single hormone that’s problematic — it’s the balance of all your hormones that we look at. Heart disease, for example, has many possible causes, and low hormones may not alone be the cause.
And, though you may indeed be suffering from low DHEA or low testosterone, simply treating you with DHEA or testosterone alone may not be the answer — hormones are more complicated than that (usually).
In fairness, sometimes supplementation of a single hormone does work, but more often, you need to have your hormones balanced, and increasing your DHEA, for example, is likely going to throw your other hormones off.
One of the main reasons for this is how your body processes hormones. Many hormones are created by your body out of those precursor hormones I mentioned earlier. DHEA can transform both into testosterone and estrogen, and adding DHEA into your body can throw your other hormones off balance.
That’s why we want to look carefully at what your body is doing, determine as definitively as possible that you’re experiencing low DHEA symptoms or perhaps symptoms of another hormone being too low, and then make suggestions for treatment based off our initial tests.
Finally, we want to see how your body reacts, to monitor any changes in your health, and then to decide if more of one hormone or less of another is the direction to move.
It all starts with a consultation. Get a free consultation today so we can discuss your symptoms and possible treatment options.