DHEA — The Age Gauge

Life Enhancement with Dr. Michael Lang, ND, ABHRT


            The problem with conservative medicine is that many doctors believe if you don’t have a disease, why seek treatment? This thought process leaves us sitting ducks, waiting for an illness instead of taking a proactive approach to preserve the precious terrain of our bodies. 

            The fundamental concept of hormone replacement therapy is replacing hormones to optimal levels. The key is to replenish all deficient hormones back to a more useful balance. Which were meant to be replenished, how much to replenish, and how to adjust the levels to achieve a more optimal level is the science of the specialty field of bio-identical hormone replacement. Individual hormones are not performing their own monologue. Rather, all hormones perform with each other, taking cues and signals on when to act or react.

            DHEA, or Dehydroepiandrosterone, is another big player in the hormone symphony, along with Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, Thyroid, Cortisol, Pregnenolone. DHEA may be a marker for our biological age. By the time we hit 80, the adrenal gland, where DHEA is made, has atrophied to the point where only 10 to 20% of DHEA remain of the DHEA levels we once had in our mid 20s.

            Along with affecting our sex drive, sense of well-being, and physical appearance, DHEA is thought to be a sort of age gauge, a hormone to dictate the quality and quantity of our lives. All major journals have published impressive articles on the importance of DHEA in preventing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The New England Journal of Medicine stated that overall morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) are directly related to the levels of DHEA. High levels of DHEA are associated with increased longevity where low levels are predicted of early mortality. 

        Study after study confirms DHEA is a veritable treatment for the aging immune system. With proper supplementation of DHEA, our levels remain youthful, strengthening our immune system for years to come. DHEA prevents deterioration; rather than restoring lost organ mass associated with certain aspects of aging. As always, prevention is the ultimate key to longevity.

            DHEA should be considered an important hormone for controlling the side effects of excess cortisol (read stress). Too much cortisol (stress) destroys our immune system, causes diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, fatigue, loss of energy, and rapid aging.

            Cortisol and DHEA are inversely related; when cortisol rises, there is a compensatory fall in DHEA.            The loss of DHEA results in shortened longevity due to increased deterioration and heart disease. DHEA is required to counter stress and therefore, maintain a less detrimental cortisol level.

            Basically DHEA, maintained at youthful levels, keeps bodily systems working in sync. DHEA is one of several hormones that may prevent type-two diabetes. DHEA has been proven to lower insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity.

            There are good studies that show DHEA induces a sense of mental and emotional health, while promoting stamina. DHEA has been shown to help with midlife dysthymia (minor depression). 

            After 40 years of medical studies, there are no studies to show DHEA is harmful. There is though, 40 years of studies demonstrating the harmful effects of low DHEA levels. (Thus it’s important to test levels, to make sure one is taking adequate amounts for protection.) Side effects may include acne, hirsutism (excess body hair in men or women).

            BOTTOM LINE: When DHEA levels go too low, it can contribute to obesity, diabetes, immune deficiencies, cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Restoring DHEA levels can help reverse all these effects. It may also help improve our learning and give us more energy.  

            Call Dr. Lang for an appointment at (406) 586-1100. To learn more about services, visit TheVitalLife.net. Office at 19 N. 10th Ave., Suite 2, in Bozeman.

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