DHEA Tames Stress & Depression - Enhances Immunity & Brain Function

 

DHEA and MoodsMedical information shows that DHEA is the only hormone besides cortisol that has consistently been linked with depression. It was studied as far back as the 1950s as an antidepressant

One of the most remarkable findings about DHEA and depression comes from a human study completed by Yen and associates at the University of California, San Diego.

In this study, DHEA replacement was associated with an increase in perceived physical and psychological sense of well being for both men(67%) and women(84%). Each person took 50mg of DHEA given over a 6-month period; which restored serum DHEA levels in both men and women to youthful ranges. Thus it is possible to restore DHEA levels back to our youthful levels.

Another study on DHEA showed that it may be an effective treatment of midlife-onset minor and major depression, according to a study in the February 2005 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The study was designed to evaluate DHEA as a treatment for depression with a midlife onset. the study showed that six weeks of DHEA treatment was associated with significant improvements in measures of depression and sexual functioning compared to both baseline and six weeks of placebo treatment, the researchers found.

DHEA Enhances Brain function

DHEA is the most abundant steroid hormone circulating in the human body and is present at even higher levels in brain tissue.

In fact, brain tissue contains 5 to 6 times more DHEA than any other tissue in the human body. Medical information on Dhea has shown that people with Alzheimer's disease have an overwhelming 48% less DHEA in their blood stream than do matched controls of the same age group.

DHEA may be intimately involved in protection of brain neurons from senility associated degenerative conditions, like Alzheimer's disease. Not only do neuronal degenerative conditions occur most frequently when DHEA is found to be lowest, but the brain tissue contains 5 to 6 times more DHEA than any other tissue in the human body.

Studies have shown that people with Alzheimer's disease have an overwhelming 48% less DHEA in their blood stream than do matched controls of the same age group. Such results give scientists hope that eventually DHEA will be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. In laboratory tests on rodents, DHEA seemed to improve short term and long-term memory and lessen amnesia.

 

Over The Counter DHEA Supplements Appear Effective in Treatment of Midlife Onset dhea-brain-smDepression

According to a recent study, DHEA may be an effective treatment of midlife-onset minor and major depression; as reported in the February issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Several earlier studies have also reported that DHEA has antidepressant-like effects

The current study was designed to evaluate DHEA as a treatment for depression with a midlife onset.

Peter J. Schmidt, M.D., from the Behavioral Endocrinology Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md. and colleagues, evaluated 23 men and 23 women aged 45 to 65 with midlife onset major or minor depression of moderate severity. They were randomly assigned to either receive six weeks of DHEA therapy, three weeks each of two dosages, or six weeks of placebo treatment. Following the six weeks of DHEA therapy and a period of one or two weeks without any therapy, the treatment groups were reversed. The participants in the study were evaluated at three and six weeks during the treatment phases with standard measures of depression and a sexual functioning scale.

A 50% or greater reduction in the baseline depression rating scale was observed in 23 patients after DHEA and in 13 patients after placebo. Six weeks of DHEA treatment was associated with significant improvements in measures of depression and sexual functioning compared to both baseline and six weeks of placebo treatment, the researchers found.

In conclusion the authors write, "At present, there are no predictors of response, and with a 50 percent response rate one would obviously select more reliable first-line treatments for this condition. However, in the 50 percent of depressed outpatients who do not respond to first-line antidepressant treatment, or in those unwilling to take traditional antidepressants, DHEA may have a useful role in the treatment of mild to moderately severe midlife-onset major and minor depression."

DHEA Tames Stress and Even Enhances Immune Functions

People who take DHEA often talk about being better able to handle stress, feeling calmer and having a better outlook on life.

As levels of DHEA decline in the body, we begin to suffer the damaging effects of stress hormones. Regelson in his book the Super-Hormone Promise, states that “ DHEA has an inverse relationship with stress hormones – meaning that as levels of stress hormones rise, levels of DHEA drop….When young people are under extreme or chronic stress, their DHEA levels tend to plummet to levels much like those of older people!” Interestingly enough their thymus gland also shrinks and looks like the thymus of an older person.

When we are under stress our adrenal glands produce corticosteroids, chemicals that pump the body up for action.

Corticosteroids raise blood sugar levels and speed up the heart, so we are ready to fight the “natural” stresses of the world, i.e. run from a bear, fight an enemy etc. In the “natural” world these stress responses are released through exercise, ie. Running from the bear. Unfortunately, our bodies have not evolved to handle the internal and mental stresses of our modern world, and the multitude of stresses never get released and unfortunately build up and cause damage in the body.

Cumulative and chronic stress causes our corticosteroid levels to increase and build up, and our T “helper” cells that protect us from infection do not work efficiently and are no longer able to efficiently protect us from disease. This is especially true as we age, and is one of the main reasons that immune system functioning declines drastically as we age. Over time the increased corticosteroids cause the thymus gland to shrivel and we produce less T cells.

DHEA has been reported to counteract the shrinking of the thymus and immuno-suppression caused by corticosteroids. Melatonin another super hormone can also help with the shrinking thymus gland as we age.

As DHEA declines with age you are losing the buffer against the stress-related hormones.

DHEA may bolster our body's ability to fight disease and may have some unique disease fighting abilities of its own.

Stress also can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Years of research have shown that increased inflammation in elderly is directly related to declining levels of DHEA. Fairly recently, a team of researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany reaffirmed these conclusions. According to this study DHEA and DHEA-S inhibit helper lymphocyte immune reactions and effectively exert anti-inflammatory control over the immune response.

“DHEA gives you energy and makes you feel stronger, more focused, and even happier. These benefits at this point are already well documented.”

Dr. Regelson
Author The Super-Hormone Promise

 

ALSO SEE;

The Main Benefits of DHEA - includes new supporting research

 

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