The human body’s production of DHEA peaks at age 25, after which levels start to decline. By age 70, DHEA levels are likely to be 75 to 80% lower. In the past few years alone, significant scientific substantiation of DHEA’s anti-aging effects has emerged. Its neuroprotective effects are now recognized as being vital in protecting memory and reducing depressive symptoms in older adults.
New research has also shown that DHEA may play an important role in weight management.
One of the ways in which DHEA plays a role in weight management is its ability to block an enzyme essential for the creation of fat known as G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase). Blocking this enzyme slows the creation of new fat, forcing the body to use existing fat as fuel. Another possible mechanism to explain the effects of DHEA is repressing activation of enzymes involved in fat synthesis. That means more fat is burned, and less fat is created and stored.
A study was published which observed 56 men and women randomly assigned to receive 50 mg per day of DHEA or a placebo over 6 months. At the end of the trial, the DHEA group lost a significant amount of both visceral and subcutaneous fat while the placebo group averaged a net gain of both subcutaneous and visceral fat. Evaluations also concluded that the DHEA group achieved a significant increase in insulin sensitivity.
A separate study involving obese postmenopausal women who received DHEA or a placebo for a period of 3 months found that DHEA led to improved waist circumference and obesity parameters including improved blood pressure, decrease in blood glucose, and a reduction in the total metabolic syndrome score.