For many aging adults, there is often a decline in health. And health may not be the only thing on the decline. As men age, testosterone levels can fall off. The slow decline of testosterone in aging males is clinically referred to as Andropause.
DHEA and Testosterone
Accompanied by this decrease in testosterone is a decrease in dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA. DHEA is primarily an adrenal hormone, secreted by the adrenal cortex or the outer-most layer of the adrenal glands.
DHEA is the biochemical precursor to testosterone, which plays a role in many bodily functions such as:
- muscle repair
In males, testosterone is especially important for:
- proper cognitive function
Could improving DHEA levels help improve testosterone levels, and thus, potentially assist in alleviating symptoms of Andropause? Perhaps.
DHEA and Andropause
One study observed supplemental DHEA’s effect on middle-aged men that lived sedentary lifestyles. Researchers of this study had the middle-age men exercise over a short period of time.
When the middle-aged male subjects weren’t taking supplemental DHEA, they saw a drop in their levels of DHEA-s and total testosterone. Those middle-aged men who were supplementing DHEA saw no decrease in their DHEA-s or free testosterone levels after exercise .
This study demonstrates the acute effect of DHEA on testosterone, but how does DHEA supplementation affect the aging male over-time?
Another study followed aging men over a 1-year period. During this time, the male subjects took a low dose (25mg) of DHEA daily. The researchers analyzed DHEA-s, total testosterone, free testosterone, SHBG, and dihydrotestosterone levels on a monthly basis.
With the exception of SHBG (which decreased), all of these biomarkers increased significantly with respect to their baseline levels after 1 year of DHEA supplementation . Additionally, subjects saw the progressive improvement in symptoms of poor mood, fatigue, and joint pain.
The increase in androgen levels may have contributed to the subject’s symptom improvement. Furthermore, the decrease in SHBG levels may have contributed to symptom improvement. This may be due to SHBG’s role in binding up free testosterone, which makes it unavailable for use. DHEA could be a potential therapeutic remedy for those going through Andropause.
Talk to your healthcare provider today about Sanesco’s adrenal hormone assessment. If your DHEA-s levels are low, DHEA supplementation may be beneficial for restoring androgen levels and improving symptoms of Andropause.
- Liu, T., Lin, C., Huang, C., Ivy, J. L., & Kuo, C. (2013). Effect of acute DHEA administration on free testosterone in middle-aged and young men following high-intensity interval training [Abstract]. European Journal of Applied Physiology Eur J Appl Physiol, 113(7), 1783-1792. doi:10.1007/s00421-013-2607-x
- Genazzani, A., Inglese, S., Lombardi, I., Pieri, M., Bernardi, F., Genazzani, A., . . . Luisi, M. (2004). Long-term low-dose dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy in aging males with partial androgen deficiency. The Aging Male, 7(2), 133-143. doi:10.1080/13685530412331284669