DHEA, a testosterone and estrogen precursor hormone (don’t worry, I’ll explain that bit in a minute), is the most common hormone in your body.
This is true no matter your sex.
So, what does that mean? Why does it matter? And how does it relate to any hormone imbalances you might be experiencing?
DHEA — Testosterone or Estrogen Replacement Therapy Does Not Require DHEA
So, the main thing I want to get across here is that we really don’t know a whole lot about DHEA, and, when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy or estrogen replacement therapy, I’m not sure it matters how much we know or don’t know.
DHEA is a precursor hormone or prohormone, which basically means that DHEA generally doesn’t stay as DHEA in your body, but rather transforms into something else — in this case, that something else would be testosterone or estrogen.
In theory, increasing DHEA might help those who suffer from low estrogen or low testosterone to get their hormone levels back to normal, but there’s really no need to rely on DHEA — testosterone or estrogen can be supplemented directly, which will result in a larger positive impact in your body anyway, and more immediately.
DHEA has been studied for a long time, and while some results have been promising, others have been less so. Several studies point to the idea that DHEA supplementation doesn’t necessarily do much, but other studies suggest it may have the potential to help with depression, sexual desire, bone density, and obesity.
But, as far as hormone replacement therapy is concerned, DHEA probably shouldn’t be high on your list.
Low DHEA — Testosterone or Estrogen Is More Likely to Be the Culprit
When it comes to hormones like DHEA, testosterone or estrogen seems to take a backseat (when they should both be considered first).
It’s not uncommon for folks to become a little bit over-focused on these lesser-known hormones and to not realize that it’s their major sex hormones that should be considered first.
It’s almost always the case that testosterone or estrogen supplementation is going to address the symptoms that you’re feeling. In fact, the symptoms of low testosterone or low estrogen look very, very similar to the symptoms of low DHEA.
Something else to keep in mind — there are a lot of DHEA supplements out there, and supplements designed to increase your hormone levels generally don’t do what they’re advertised to do.
Additionally, such supplements can actually be very bad for you, so even if you think that your DHEA levels are low, taking a DHEA supplement is probably not the best idea.
So start by looking at testosterone and estrogen levels. Have a complete test done of all your hormone levels, and let your medical provider determine what the appropriate treatment should be.
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