Effect on DHEA Supplement on Estrogen

March 3, 2015 by in category sexual health with 0 and 0

Estrogen

Estrogens are a group of hormones which are important for sexual health and reproductive development, mainly in women. However, they also play a role in men’s sexual health.

They are also referred to as female sex hormone. The major estrogen hormones are Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol and they decline with age.

estrogen and progesterone decline with age in women

In women, all the estrogen hormones (i.e. all hormones belonging to this group) are produced mainly in the ovaries. In addition to ovaries, they are also manufactured by fat cells and adrenal glands.

role of estrogen in women

The adrenal glands are responsible for production of many vital hormones in the body. In pregnant women, the placenta (the temporary organ that serves to nourish the fetus and remove its wastes) also produces estrogen. The main functions of estrogen are:

  • Onset of puberty i.e. the process of physical changes by which a child’s body matures into an adult body, capable of sexual reproduction.
  • Development of secondary sexual characteristics in women such as breasts, pubic hair and armpit hair.
  • Responsible for occurrence and regulation of menstrual cycle (periods) in non-pregnant women.
  • Responsible for stopping of periods during pregnancy in pregnant women.
  • Control of lactation and other changes in the breasts during adolescence and pregnancy.
  • Helpful in bone formation. Estrogen works in combination with calcium and Vitamin D to effectively break down and rebuild bones according to the body’s natural processes and dietary intake.With decrease in estrogen levels (which happens when women reach menopause), rebuilding of bones becomes slower which causes more bone loss than bone formation. This is the reason why postmenopausal women are 4 times more likely to suffer from osteoporosis (disease characterized by weak and easily breakable bones) than men and pre-menopausal women.
  • Reduction in estrogen levels may cause hot flashes, vaginal dryness and loss of sex drive.
  • Estrogen also plays a role in blood clotting and maintains the strength and thickness of vaginal wall and vaginal lubrication.
  • This hormone is also known to affect the brain. Very low levels of estrogen can cause mood swings.

These are the reasons why adequate estrogen levels are so important in post-menopausal women. Most scientific studies using estrogen supplements also focus on postmenopausal women for this reason.

DHEA and Estrogen

There are a myriad of supplements claiming to improve estrogen levels in women, but only DHEA supplement has shown definite proof of enhancing estrogen levels.

Scientific literature suggests that DHEA may help in improving sex drive in older women while no such effect was seen in younger women. It has also shown promise as a supplement which helps in reducing symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive and reduced skin quality.

These benefits may have been due to increase in estrogen levels. Scientific research studies show an increase in estrogen level of postmenopausal women who have been given this supplement.

Wild yams or soy can be used for making DHEA supplements. It is commercially available in tablet form. Recommended dose of DHEA ranges between 20 and 200 mg per day. However, the recommended dose for each individual is different and widely depends on age, sex, pre-existing medical conditions and ongoing medications

Clinical Proof A

In 2009, a team of researchers led by Weiss conducted a scientific trial on older adults in the age range of 65-75 years to know if giving them DHEA supplementation improved their Bone Mineral Density (BMD) as well as testosterone and estrogen levels.

The total duration of this trial was 2 years. A total of 55 men and 58 women (65-75 years old) were enrolled in the trial and were then divided randomly into 2 treatment groups.

  1. Group 1 was given 50 mg per day oral (by mouth) DHEA during both years of trial
  2. Group 2 was given placebo during 1st year of trial and 50 mg per day oral (by mouth) DHEA during the 2nd year of the trial.

During both years of the trial, all participants  belonging to both groups were also given 16 microgram per day Vitamin D and 700 milligram per day calcium supplements.

The researchers measured BMD, serum testosterone and serum estrogen once before the start of the trial, once after 1 year of trial and then after its completion, at 2 years.

Results:

  • In men, there was no difference in the BMD measures at the end of 1st or 2nd year of the trial period.
  • The Testosterone levels and Estrogen levels increased in men of Group 1.

Among women in Group 1, the BMD measure showed improvement during both years of the trial while the women in Group 2 showed improvement only during 2nd year of the trial i.e. the time when they were given DHEA and not placebo.

  • Estrogen levels showed an improvement in those who were given DHEA supplementation and not among those who were given placebo.

DHEA supplementation in combination with Vitamin D and Calcium supplements is a good treatment option to improve bone health and estrogen level among older women (65-75 years of age).

Clinical Proof B

Stomati and co-researchers did a research study in the year 2000 to find out if giving DHEA supplements to older women helped in relieving symptoms related to ageing and declining DHA levels. The study enrolled:

Early postmenopausal women (50-55 years of age) who were normal weight or overweight.

Late postmenopausal women (60-65 years of age) who were normal weight or overweight.

All these women who participated in the study were given oral (by mouth) DHEA supplementation in the dosage of 50 mg per day. The supplementation was given for a period of 6 months.

DHEA, male sex hormones (including testosterone) and female sex hormones in blood were measured before the start of the supplementation period. These were again measured at 3 months and then at 6 months since start of the study.

Results:

  • Levels of male sex hormones as well as DHEA increased progressively from the first month of treatment.
  • Levels of estradiol and Estrone significantly increased after the first/second month of treatment.

DHEA supplementation (50 mg per day) for 6 months, significantly improves estrogen levels among postmenopausal women.

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