Dehydroepiandrosterone

From Academic Kids

DHEA
Full name:dehydroepiandrosterone
Synonyms:3-Hydroxy-5-androsten-17-one
Empirical formula:C19H28O2
Molecular weight:288.43
CAS No53-43-0
Melting point (K)419.15 to 424.15 K
Melting point (C)146 to 151 C
Missing image
Dehydroepiandrosterone.png
chemical structure of DHEA

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a natural steroid hormone produced from cholesterol by the adrenal glands found atop of the kidneys in the human body. DHEA is also produced in the gonads, adiopose tissue and the brain. DHEA is structurally similar to, and is a precursor of, testosterone and estrogen. In blood, most DHEA is found as its derivative dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, DHEA-S.

Only in humans is DHEA the dominant steroid hormone. Humans produce DHEA in greater quantity than any other species. Even non-human primates have not much more than 10% the relative serum level of DHEA seen in humans. The fact that rodents produce so little DHEA makes the results of experiments based on these laboratory animals very controversial.

DHEA production peaks in early adulthood, around the age of 25, and declines afterwards to approximately 10% of peak levels by age 80. It is theorized by some that this decline may be due to reduced oxygen and glucose supply to the adrenal glands as a result of age-related atherosclerosis.

Contents

Disputed effects of DHEA

The significance of the hormone in health and disease is not fully established. It is postulated that DHEA supplements are beneficial in the prevention of:

It is also commercially advertised that DHEA:

  • helps decrease insulin resistance
  • improves fat metabolism
  • increases immune system function
  • has anti-aging properties
  • increases lean muscle mass

Precautions

Some assert that DHEA should not be supplemented outside specialist centres under careful observation of experts in the field of endocrinology.

Side effects may include:

Other useful information

Regular exercise is known to increase the amount of DHEA in the body. (Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1998 Oct;78(5):466-71), (Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001 Jul;85(1- 2):177-84), (J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002 Apr;57(4):B158-65). Caloric restriction has also been shown to increase DHEA in primates (Exp Gerontol. 2003 Jan-Feb; 38(1-2):35-46).

See also

Steroid hormone

Further reading

Nutrition through the Life Cycle, Judith E. Brown, ISBN 0-534-58986-3

External links

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