DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is most known for being a pro-hormone which in the body gets converted to testosterone and estrogen. It is a long held view that DHEA exerts all its effects via conversion to testosterone and estrogen. However, recent studies show that DHEA also has several interesting non-hormonal actions…
Will has previously mentioned DHEA as it relates to hormonal effects and health promotion:
When it comes to health promotion and longevity, DHEA is a supplement which deserves more attention than it is getting.
DHEA levels (the main circulating form of DHEA in the bloodstream is DHEAS) decrease approximately 80% between ages 25 and 75 year.[1, 2] This large decline in DHEA has led to interest in the possibility that aging related DHEA deficiency may play a role in the deterioration in physiological and metabolic functions with aging, and in the development of chronic diseases.
In support of this, it has been reported that DHEA level is negatively correlated with mortality and risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) (i.e. lower DHEA(S) levels are associated with higher mortality and CVD risk).[3-5] More recently it has been found that a steep decline or extreme variability over time in DHEA(S) levels is associated with higher mortality, more so than baseline DHEA(S) levels.
Aging not only reduces DHEA(S) levels, but also results in an increase in arterial stiffness [7, 8], which is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and mortality.[9-11] It has been reported that DHEA levels are inversely associated with arterial stiffness (i.e. lower DHEA levels are associated with increased arterial stiffness. [7, 12, 13] Therefore, it is possible that DHEA replacement could reduce arterial stiffness, and thereby contribute to reduction in CVD and mortality…
Below is a brief discussion on DHEA as “muscle builder” and such. DHEA may have specific benefits to women, and I recommend reading my write on that topic HERE for additional info.
DHEA; The Most Underrated Supplement For Women?
Have you ever noticed if a supplement, drug, etc is tried in men, and fails to work, it’s written off as being ineffective? Although improving, it’s well known that men have been the standard subjects in research, with the results often being applied to women as an afterthought. In recent years, that situation has improved and women are viewed as the physiologically distinct people they are from men, and studies looking at specific effects in women – using women as the test subjects – has grown dramatically. That’s the good news at least. The bad news is, there’s still plenty of research out there done on men, being applied to women, sometimes to the detriment of women. Obviously, men and women are not so different that a great deal of research fails to be perfectly applicable to both sexes, but the fact remains a great deal of prior research was done looking at men, and the results, good or bad, applied to women more as an after thought.
Such is the case with DHEA in my view…
EDITORS NOTE: A recent video I (Will Brink) did HERE also discusses the fact T is just as important women as it is for men, yet continues to be ignored by most women and the medical community at large. Monica’s excellent article below give the full details!
Testosterone is popularly known as the “male” hormone. While it is true that men have much higher levels of testosterone than women, and that testosterone contributes to secondary sex characteristics that physiologically distinguish men from women (increased muscle mass and facial/body hair), this does not mean that testosterone isn’t important in women.
In the same way that men need estrogen, aka the “female” hormone, for optimal health, women need testosterone for optimal health. This article will describe testosterone physiology in women and its importance for women’s health, and refute the two prevailing myths that “testosterone is un-physiological in women”, and that “there is no research or clinical experience supporting the use of testosterone therapy in women”…. you may be surprised…!
How many times have we done or seen people at the gym doing the “wind-mill” stretch before a workout? Sooner or later every weightlifter will experience pain and tenderness in their shoulder. The pain usually lingers for weeks if not months, and the pain is usually more noticeable when performing a bench and/or overhead press, but it gets better later into the workout. Chances are someone has said that it is possibly bursitis or rotator cuff issue, and rest and “take it easy” is the best way to treat it, but taking it easy or rest isn’t going to happen.
Many studies have highlighted the importance of investigating all major hormones, and correcting deficiencies and imbalances if present.[1-8] Given the known mechanisms of testosterone and GH/IGF-1 in building muscle (and possibly also DHEA in elderly) it is reasonable that age-related low levels of anabolic hormones contribute over time to sarcopenia and frailty.[1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10]
Thus, multiple small effects in aggregate can lead to adverse loss of muscle and disability. In this scenario, if replacement was to occur, it would require lower doses of multiple anabolic hormones. An added benefit to this approach would be fewer side effects from the use of lower hormone doses . In addition, multiple anabolic hormone replacement might also have beneficial additive and/or synergistic effects.[11-13]
A notable study investigated whether supplementation with testosterone and GH together, in physiological doses, results in greater improvements in body composition and muscle performance in older men, compared to testosterone supplementation alone…
Another great article from Dr. Lopez that examines in objective detail what risks, if any, long chain fatty acids (the “fish oils” EPA/DHA would be in that category) present to the prostate. His prior article on fish oils can be found HERE.
Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Friend or Foe to Prostate?
More than meets the eye to recent controversy over omega-3 levels and prostate cancer risk—Lets take a closer look
Hector Lopez, MD, CSCS, FAAPMR
A large-scale prospective case-cohort study evaluating plasma fatty acid levels and prostate cancer risk, published in JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute) online ahead of print on July 10th, 2013 has created quite the stir amongst media, health care professionals, nutrition researchers, and the dietary supplement industry…Again! To quote the great Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu, all over again.”
Note From Will: Folks, I didn’t write this article. Dr. Lopez did. It’s an excellent review of the recent negative findings on fish oil that’s creating confusion for people. I have gotten many emails asking to clarify the issue, but Dr. Lopez’s article does it so well, I asked his permission to use it on the BrinkZone. Enjoy!
PS, Dr. Lopez will be a guest on BrinkZone Radio shortly to cover Vitamin D and other topics.
By Hector Lopez, MD, CSCS, FAAPMR
Recently, the media seems to have jumped all aboard the anti-fish oil bandwagon full stop.
A recent study published in September of 2012  stated that perhaps fish oil is not that good, and the media is already foaming at the mouth ready to start the finger shaking, and even stating that “the proof is in.” But, is that really so?
In the meantime, here is the video from ABC News to watch to give you an idea.
I have been asked for my professional opinion on the recent attention drawn to the September 2012 systematic review and meta-analysis published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Rizos EC et al . As you can imagine, the last couple of days have been very busy answering emails/calls from various stakeholders in the dietary supplement and omega-3 fish oil industries. The stakeholders range from friends and family to fellow scientists and colleagues, to high-level executives and principals of client companies. I have a few things to say about the manner (at times disingenuous) in which the meta-analysis has been misrepresented.
Multiple video segments from major media outlets have even quoted some of their experts as saying, “they would rather the public spend their money elsewhere as the proof is in with this study.” Perhaps the media would feel more at ease suggesting that the public consume another box of “whole-grain” yet low fiber, highly processed cereal, “natural fruit juice”, or better yet, “linoleate-rich vegetable oils full of omega-6 fatty acids” (hey they are polyunsaturated too, right)?
I don’t mind that the media shares their opinion, but at the very least, do what is possible to educate the very audience that they are obviously trying to persuade. I find it hard to believe the public would not be interested in some other material facts to allow consumers to make an informed decision, so here are my top 11 facts that the media ignored.
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. - Voltaire
Printer friendly pdf, 9 pages, 98 references (right-click to download and save):
For reasons that are not readily apparent, there appears to be a conservative political movement that opposes the use of testosterone in older men. This was clearly demonstrated by the report of the Institute of Medicine, which felt that testosterone is not yet ready for prime time and that there is still a need for studies to prove its efficacy 1. Along the same lines, the guidelines of the Endocrine Society on testosterone use in older men seem to be ultra-cautious 2 . But fortunately, there are also other, more liberal guidelines and recommendations 3-5.
Probably no other medical issue has been bombarded by the influx of “expert” views from all walks of life; from endocrinologists and psychiatrists to urological surgeons and gerontologists, from the lay press to the regulatory agencies and from the pharmaceutical to the entertainment industries. The dismal result of all this free-for all cacophony of opinions is a great deal of confusion, erroneous information and significant detriment to patients and physicians alike.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the reasons for the negative attitudes to male testosterone replacement therapy (I will cover post-menopausal testosterone replacement in an upcoming article), and the hard scientific data that refutes it…