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DHEA
Frequently Asked Questions


What is DHEA?
DHEA is an abbreviation for dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone produced primarily in the adrenal glands. DHEA is also produced in other parts of the body including the testicles, ovaries, and brain. After production, the bloodstream carries DHEA to tissues and cells. Some of it is converted to sex hormones testosterone and estrogens.

How is DHEA produced in the body?
In the body, cholesterol is the starting material to make all steroid hormones in the body. In the adrenal glands, cholesterol is converted to pregnenolone. Therefore pregnenolone is the very top of the hormone pyramid. Pregnenolone is converted to DHEA and a number of sex hormones including testosterone and estrogens.

What is a steroid?
Steroids are hormones. All of the steroid hormones produced in the body are made using cholesterol as the starting material. Some of the steroid hormones include DHEA, pregnenolone and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and the male hormone testosterone.

Where does DHEA come from?
The source material for DHEA powder is derived from wild yams, which are grown commercially. Plant sterols (a class of plant hormones) are extracted from the wild yams. The most common sterol is diosgenin, which has a molecular structure very similar to DHEA. In the laboratory, the diosgenin extract is converted to DHEA by clipping away a few side chains by means of chemical reactions

Will natural yam extracts increase my DHEA levels?
No. Ingestion of wild yam extracts will not increase your DHEA levels. This is because the body does not have the necessary enzymes to make the conversions. Wild yam extracts can only be converted to DHEA in the laboratory and not in the human body. Taking wild yam extracts is just a waste of money.

How much DHEA do our body make?
Some researchers estimate that humans make between 10 and 15 mg of DHEA daily, but other researchers have estimated higher levels.

Will taking DHEA supplements suppress my natural DHEA production?
The production of most steroids in the body is controlled by a feedback loop. When hormone levels get too high, the body makes less of it, and when hormone levels are too low, the body makes more. However, DHEA is an exception to this rule. Preliminary studies do not seem to indicate a feedback loop for DHEA. It is suggested that small supplement DHEA dosage will not stop our body’s natural DHEA production. However, supplementation with high DHEA dosages and for a long period could have an influence in the body’s natural DHEA production.

What is DHEAS?
DHEAS stands for DHEA-Sulphate. DHEAS is the most abundant steroid in the blood of young adult humans. Your body makes most of its DHEA in the morning. DHEA levels in the body decline fairly rapidly during the day because DHEA is quickly cleared by the kidneys. However, DHEAS is cleared slower, and the blood levels remain much more stable during the day. When you take DHEA supplements, some of it will circulate as DHEA, but the majority (90% or more) will circulate as DHEAS

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