is a weak androgen* produced in the adrenal glands, and it's one
of the main precursors of testosterone. You may have heard that
DHEA is 2 steps away from testosterone. What this means is just
that DHEA first converts into either Androstenedione or Androstenediol,
which is then converted into DHEA. Hence, it's 2 steps from testosterone.
However, DHEA can also convert into estrogen, progesterone, or cortisol.
*androgen is a male sex hormone responsible male
With age, DHEA levels can decline up to 90%, and
it peaks in your 20's. Because DHEA is a main precursor of testosterone,
it's often used to boost sex hormone levels, and used by athletes
to boost testosterone levels. Studies have shown that supplementing
50-100mg of DHEA per day helped increase muscle mass and improve
overall health condition in 40 to 70 year old subjects.
DHEA Supplement and DHEA Research
Many athletes use DHEA to increase androgen levels
such as androstenedione and testosterone; however, its effectiveness
as an anabolic agent still lacks thorough and long term research.
Despite this, there have been some research which had shown DHEA
to have some anabolic and anti-catabolic effects.
In a study done by Medical College of Virginia,
male participants weighing 170lbs with 16% body fat took 1600mg
of DHEA per day for 4 weeks. The DHEA group did not change in body
weight but their body fat percentage decreased by 31% down to 11%,
and gained the lost fat weight in lean muscle mass. The placebo
group show little or no improvements in body fat to lean mass ratio.
Don't be fooled though... In a similar study done at the University
of Rochester, a group of healthy men took 1600mg of DHEA for 4 weeks,
but the researchers found no improvement in body fat to lean mass
composition, suggesting that DHEA did not help lose fat and gain
So what's the verdict on DHEA? Does it work or
not? Researchers believe that DHEA has more positive and noticeable
effects on older individuals who naturally have lower levels of
DHEA. Take a look:
In a study done by University of California, 30
participants with average age of 54 took 50mg of DHEA per day for
3 months. At the end of the research, they found no changes in composition
of body fat and lean body mass, or metabolism. However, most of
the participants had an improved sense of well being. They reported
better sleep, more energy, and better ability to handle stress.
DHEA Supplement Verdict
So what's my view on DHEA? From the DHEA research
results, there's little evidence to support or qualify extensive
use of DHEA supplements to help you lose fat and gain muscle. It
lacks extensive research to prove it to be an effective supplement
with noticeable anabolic effects.
Especially when you consider the fact that in
the first two studies above, the subjects took 1600mg of DHEA per
day, whereas normal DHEA supplements contain only 50 to 100mg. So
in short, the studies used 16 times as much dosage to generate some
noticeable effects of DHEA on body fat composition, and even then,
there are studies contradicting the positive results.
If you're thinking of taking DHEA to help gain
muscles and lose fat, think again. I'm sure you'll find better results
with other supplements. Take a look at andro, and more specifically
Androstenediol type of products - they are shown to be more effective
than Androstenedione supplements.
On the plus side, most studies have shown supplementing
DHEA to give a boost in DHEA levels in older individuals. Even though
DHEA had little effect on body fat composition, it did significantly
improve the participants' overall sense of well being.