Key Hormone for Healthy Aging
It is commonly believed that our body withers and deteriorates with age. As we get older most of us struggle to maintain muscle mass, skin elasticity, & bone mass. We develop conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, varicose veins, etc. New research has shown that our DHEA levels are the critical player in how successfully we age and by boosting DHEA naturally we can turn back the clock on the aging process.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is one of the critical hormones that scientists are calling the `fountain of youth.` This hormone is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to 18 steroid hormones including the commonly known sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Healthy DHEA production is critical for lean muscle development, fat burning, bone growth, skin health, and immunity.
Cholesterol (statin) lowering medications reduce DHEA content and therefore accelerate the aging process. This is one of the reasons why cholesterol lowering medications have been linked to all-cause early mortality. A DHEA deficiency significantly increases the risk of getting certain cancers (including breast, ovarian, prostate, and bladder), atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, nervous system degeneration, and other age-related conditions.
Our DHEA production naturally peaks between 20-25 years of age and then steadily declines. Many in our society see a sharp decline due to overburdened adrenals that are unable to synthesize adequate DHEA. This adrenal insufficiency syndrome is becoming more and more common due to an overstressed and malnourished American lifestyle.
High sugar and carbohydrate consumption increases blood sugar and insulin levels. Elevated insulin causes a decreased production of DHEA in the adrenals. Blood sugar imbalances also create critical vitamin and mineral imbalances that stress the adrenals and reduce DHEA production. Alcohol and caffeine consumption also decrease DHEA levels.
High stress and poor sleeping habits also cause increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels. When these issues become chronic they cause a phenomenon called `pregnenolone steal.`
Pregnenolone is a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism that is necessary to produce both cortisol and DHEA. High stress causes this process to shift towards cortisol production. This shift essentially `steals` the necessary pregnenolone from the DHEA production pathway to produce more cortisol. This process depletes DHEA levels.
Many people rush out and look for DHEA boosting supplements, however, lifestyle factors that deplete DHEA levels should be addressed first. The most important factor includes reducing/eliminating adrenal stressors such as medications, stress, leaky gut syndrome, parasites and other infectious agents, chronic inflammation, physical nerve stress, nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep, & blood sugar imbalances.
The SuperCharged Energy anti-inflammatory diet is a critical part to de-stressing the body and boosting DHEA levels. This diet should be very low in sugar and carbohydrates and very rich in phytonutrients and trace minerals from fresh, raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Powerful anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, rosemary, thyme, oregano, & cinnamon should be generously consumed on a regular basis.
Healthy fat consumption is an essential part of creating cholesterol which is needed to produce DHEA. Healthy fat sources include coconut products, avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, & purified omega-3 fish oil supplements. Healthy protein sources to boost DHEA production include wild-caught fish, grass-fed red meat and free range chicken, turkey, and eggs.
Other lifestyle factors that are critical for healthy DHEA levels include regular sun exposure and/or supplementation to maintain vitamin D (25-OH) levels between 70-100 ng/ml. Regular high intensity exercise is also very important for improving intracellular anti-oxidant capabilities while boosting anti-aging hormone secretions. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep regularly by going to bed early (10-11pm ) will allow for the adrenals to effectively heal and repair from lifestyle stress.
You can also get specific bloodwork done right at home through Direct Labs to assess your DHEA and other anti-aging factors. This is highly recommended for older individuals who are concerned with their aging process.