Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify | Listen on YouTube

Today we’re talking about DHEA supplements. This is a popular supplement because DHEA can influence your hormones. 

Many people believe if you can enhance your hormones, you can look better, perform better, feel better, and more. That’s true because healthy living can help optimize your hormones, which has beneficial downstream effects. 

You can also affect your hormonal profile through medications, synthetic hormones, and supplements, but most of the stuff that actually works is only available through a prescription.

As far as supplements go, most “testosterone boosters” are junk. However, DHEA can raise your testosterone in certain conditions, which is what I’m going to talk about in this podcast.

Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!

Timestamps:

7:00 – What is DHEA? 

10:29 – What are the benefits of DHEA? 

15:16 – What are the side effects of DHEA? 

16:23 – What is the effective dose of DHEA? 

Mentioned on the Show:

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Transcript:

Hey there, and welcome to a new episode of Muscle For Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to hear me talk to you from a new location because last week my family and I said so long to the state of Virginia and thanks for all the fish, and we returned to. The nation’s moist dangly bits.

We returned to Florida where I’m from, although we didn’t go back to the Tampa Bay area. That’s where I grew up, at least most of my childhood. Went from California to Florida went from Florida to California back to Florida. But we are now in Ocala, Florida, in the middle of the state horse country.

And I’m not a big fan of Florida in general. I don’t like the climate and most of the state is pretty grub. Now it has great beaches, but I grew up with beaches. I lived on the beach when I was younger, so the beach just doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t care about the beach at this point. Now, Ocala is unlike most of Florida in that it is pretty.

There are a lot of farms around here. This is horse country as they say. So a lot of farms, a lot of green, Not too many people, not a lot of traffic. High speed limits. I appreciate that. I can drive like 80 miles an hour to the gym, for example, which is pretty cool and it has some undulation. It is not just the flat swamp Everglades, Florida.

Feel. So anyway, I am officially now a rural bumpkin and I love it. I much prefer this setup over the DC suburbs that I lived in. And so what are we talking about Today? We’re gonna talk about a supplement that I am often asked about, and that is d h e. A, Now this one is popular because it influences hormones and everybody knows that if you can positively influence, if you can optimize or if you can enhance your hormones, you can look better, you can feel better, you can perform better, you can be healthier, and so on.

And that is true. There is certainly a kernel of truth there because healthy living. Helps improve your hormones, and that has beneficial downstream effects. Lifting weights, eating the right amount of calories so you can maintain a healthy body composition. Eating a lot of nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, All of these things positively affect your hormones.

Of course, they do many other things as well, but the hormonal effects are significant Now. Another way to optimize your hormones or to improve your hormonal. Is to take supplements or take medications or synthetic hormones. And most of the stuff that works is only available with a prescription from a doctor.

So for example, if you’re gonna take testosterone, if you are older and you have low testosterone levels and you have symptoms of low testosterone and you have done everything you can to address it naturally, and you just can’t get your testosterone production up to where it needs to be, so you can have a good quality.

Life and you wanna start taking synthetic testosterone if you wanna get on testosterone replacement therapy, T R T, and that is something that I understand. I would say that those are the circumstances where I would look into it myself. Otherwise I would not. I would try to avoid it for as long as I could, but again, if I had done everything I can naturally to bring my testosterone up to a healthy range and it is just not happening, it is probably.

Worse to leave testosterone in a low range than it is to get on t R t because there are a number of negative health effects associated with low testosterone. But anyway, the point is to get synthetic testosterone, you should work with a doctor. You should work with an endocrinologist. Ideally of course you can just buy the stuff online, but I would not recommend doing that because you don’t know what you’re getting.

Now, as far as supplements go, supplements that you can legally buy anywhere online, in supplement stores, in big box retailers and so forth, most of them. Don’t work. Tribulous Terrestrials, for example, which is the most popular, the most best selling testosterone booster. I put that one in scare quotes. It does not work.

Multiple studies show that while it has promise in rats, it does not. Have the same effects in humans. It does not raise testosterone levels in men. And dias spartic acid is another one you’ve probably heard of. And research shows that actually can work for a couple of weeks. It can significantly improve testosterone production for a couple of weeks, and then it stops working.

So that’s not very useful. And then you have D H E A, That is another one that is often sold as a testosterone boost. And that’s not an honest way to characterize it. For example, I have d h a in one of my supplements called Vitality, one of legion’s supplements. If you don’t know that, I have a sports nutrition company, but I do not sell it as a testosterone booster.

That said, it can raise testosterone levels. Under certain conditions, and that’s what I’m gonna be talking about in this podcast. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, Bigger, leaner, stronger, and.

Thinner, leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores.

And I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100. Free when you sign up for an Audible account. And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to www.buy Legion, that’s b u y legion.com/audible and sign up for your account.

So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time, And evidence-based strategies for losing fat, building muscle, and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women, and the Shredded Chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipes.

So what is D H E? Let’s start there. It’s an acronym of course, and it stands for, This is a mouthful. Dehydro Epi. Androsterone. Dehydro. Epi Androsterone. And that is a steroid hormone that’s mainly produced. By our adrenal glands. There are small amounts also produced by our digestive organs, our reproductive organs in our brain, but most of it’s produced by our adrenal glands.

And as with other steroid hormones like testosterone and estrogen, d h e’s natural production peaks in our young adulthood. So it’s gonna be in our twenties and then starts to decline. 10% each decade until we reach about 70. And at that point, our D H E production has bottomed out. Now, synthetic forms of D H E are created from chemicals found in wild yam and soy, and then those molecules are sold as dietary supplements.

And when you take those supplements regularly, they raise your body’s levels of D H E. Scientists have known about D H E A for a while now. It was discovered back in 1934, but they still don’t fully understand its role in the body, mostly because it is something that can’t be patented. So that means that pharmaceutical giants are not interested in looking into it.

They don’t wanna support research into its potential uses if they can’t make a bunch of money. And it’s also something that is mostly unique to humans, and so that makes it difficult to study in other animals, which is an important step when scientists are researching new substances. But enough research has been done on D H E to show that it.

Is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. So the body uses D H E A as raw material for making testosterone and estrogen, and that’s why many people on the internet rave about many of its purported health benefits and why it is often sold as a hormone enhancer or a testosterone booster or an estrogen booster that would be to women.

And that’s why many bodybuilder. Fleets who are not just on drugs. The stuff that really works will supplement with D H E A. Now, if you look into the research that is available on D H E A, it can be kind of confusing because you can find studies that would indicate that it can help with many different types of health conditions.

Stuff ranging from obesity to coronary heart disease, type two diabetes, lupus, osteoporosis, anorexia. Vaginal atrophy. Yep. There is a study that shows that D H E A can help combat vaginal atrophy as well as erectile dysfunction, depression, Alzheimer’s, hiv, and that when you supplement with D H E A can also improve your wellbeing.

It can improve your sexual function, it can have anti-aging effects and all that stuff. Sounds pretty great. And if I were to just leave the conversation at that, and you were to take my word on the face, You would be rushing over to legion athletics.com to buy your vitality. But the problem is, for every study that supports one of those claims, there’s another one that shoots it full of holes and that can make it hard to know what’s true and what’s not.

So d h e really is a great example of that scientific axiom that you can find a study to prove just about anything. That said, when you scrutinize the research, you can winnow out at least a few useful bits of information. For example, studies do consistently show that D H E A does have one valid benefit.

It boosts the production of other steroid. Hormones in the body. Now, that does not mean that D H E A is basically a steroid. It is if we’re talking about the technical definition. But when people hear steroids, they think of the drugs used by bodybuilders and Hollywood actors and fitness influencers, including some of your favorites.

If they look just a little bit too, They are almost certainly on steroids because those drugs are very powerful. Their effects are very marketed in the body. Whereas a steroid hormone like D H E A is not nearly as impactful as testosterone, for example, and many of the other drugs used to enhance body composition and performance and so forth.

And addition. If you’re young enough to have high levels of D H E A supplementing with it is not going to have any sort of additive effects. It’s not going to produce any meaningful benefits. So it is not a supplement for guys who are in their twenties or thirties, for example, certainly not twenties, when they’re in their hormonal prime.

And the same thing would go for women that. It’s a different story in older people. That’s where D H E A can shine because as we get older, we have naturally lower levels of D H E A and research shows that when somebody with naturally lower levels supplements with D H E A, It does increase the production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women.

Those things can have many health benefits. It can improve bone density. They can lessen cognitive impairment. They can improve strength and muscle gain and body composition. For example, in one meta-analysis that was conducted by scientists at majority Malaria hospital researchers parsed through 25 studies involving almost 1400 participants between the ages of 23 and 84, and they concluded that supplementing with D H E A has a significant positive effect on body composition for those of us who are slightly longer in the tooth.

That is, while D H E A doesn’t seem to do much to help younger people, twenties, thirties, possibly forties, now we are reaching the age range where supplementation would be appropriate. So it doesn’t seem to do much for those people. It clearly helps people who are in their fifties and sixties and beyond, and it helps them gain muscle and lose fat faster, which is.

D H E A is not just for men either. In a study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Connecticut Health Center, the researchers took 99 women in their seventies and early eighties who had low levels of D H E A naturally, and they also had low bone mass, and they were classified as. Frail and they split them into four groups.

They had a couple of groups who were taking 50 milligrams of d h E per day, and one group was doing yoga. The other group was doing chair aerobic sessions. And then you had a couple of placebo groups doing the same types of workouts. And after six months, this was a pretty lengthy study. The researchers found that the women who were supplementing with D H E A gained more muscle.

They gained more lower leg. And those things helped them perform better on balance and mobility tests than the other groups. And of course, lower body strength, lower body muscularity, lower body mobility, lower body balance, those are all very important things as you get older to prevent falls. What you really do not want to happen when you’re in your seventies and beyond is you don’t wanna fall and break.

Particularly your hip. Another useful benefit of supplementing with D H E A that has been observed in several studies is it can help improve insulin sensitivity levels, and that’s very important because the more sensitive your cells are to insulin, the less likely you are to develop symptoms related to diabetes or develop diabetes itself.

Type two diabetes and the. Insulin sensitive you are. The better your body is going to be able to process the food that you eat, and that means that you are going to get more from your training. You are going to gain muscle faster. You are probably going to lose fat faster. There is research that shows that higher levels of insulin sensitivity may.

Aid the fat loss process. Of course, fat loss is still driven by a calorie deficit and that will never change. But there is a point of efficiency in terms of your body’s fat burning machinery, and it definitely seems to run best when insulin sensitivity levels are high. Now, what about side effects?

Many people ask me about potential side effects of D H E A because they hear that it’s a steroid hormone, and of course they just associate that with steroids that bodybuilders use. And we all know that those drugs have pretty harsh side effects. And on the whole, most research has found that moderate doses of D H E A, the amounts that you would take if you were going to supplement with it are safe and they.

Few to no side effects, which is great. That said, studies do show that large doses can cause some side effects. They can cause oily skin, acne, increased body hair growth, particularly on the face and in the armpits and the pubic region. . The merkin can grow. Fun word, but those side effects do tend to be rare and temporary, and again, are associated with large doses, larger doses than you would generally take.

One other point of note though with DHA supplementation is it is not recommended if you are also being treated for a form of cancer that is made worse by higher levels of sex hormones such as prostate, ovarian. Or end endometrial cancers. So what is an appropriate dose then? What is the clinically effective dose of D h E?

The amount used in studies that have shown benefits? It’s in the range of 500 to 200 milligrams per day. I know that’s a wide range, but that’s what we have from the research. And so anything between 50 and 200 milligrams per day is appropriate. Between 50 and 100 is probably where most of the benefits are going.

It is not likely that going from 100 to 200 milligrams per day is going to double the effectiveness, for example. But that’s it. That’s the range. And again, age matters. If you’re in your twenties or thirties, you don’t have any reason to supplement with D H e unless you have low testosterone or low estrogen levels, then it may be able to help you.

But the vast majority of people in their twenties and thirties do not have such issues. However, if you’re in your forties or beyond, then you should. Because it is basically all reward and no risk. Now, if you’re gonna take it, you gotta make sure that you get D H E A and not seven Keto, D H E A. That’s a totally different substance that does not produce any of the benefits of D H E A.

And as far as brands or individual products, you can get it as a standalone supplement. I would recommend checking out Now Foods or Jro. Those are my two Go-to brands for standalone ingredients. Single ingredients that are not in my Legion supplements. Or you can get d h e in my. Legion supplement, which is called Vitality.

You can check that out [email protected] It has d h e a hundred milligrams per serving, along with clinically effective doses of several other ingredients that make you feel fitter and livelier and calmer, including Rodeo, Rosea, Bill Berry Extract, and Vitamin 12. And again, you can learn about that over at Legion Athletic.

Com. Now, one final caveat is if you are a professional athlete and you have to abide by the world Anti-Doping Agency or the United States Anti-Doping Agency protocols, then you don’t want to take d H E. It is classified as an anabolic agent. All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.

And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from, in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility, and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.

And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com. Just muscle o r life.com and share your thoughts on how I can do this better.

I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it. Criticism, I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.

That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at most for life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

View Complete Transcript

+ Scientific References