DHEA is a dietary supplement that has been the source of much controversy among scientists, professional athletes, fitness professionals and law makers over the last thirty years.
Many athletes and sports enthusiasts have wondered if there are any muscle and strength building benefits to DHEA supplementation.
The following is a discussion of DHEA and a presentation of scientific research and analysis that supports the claim that DHEA supplementation can increase muscle mass and strength in its users.
What is DHEA?
By the standards of the United States Steroid Trafficking Act of 1990, dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is an anabolic steroid.
According to William N. Taylor, M.D., it can also be classified as an antioxidant, a vasodilator and an anabolic steroid precursor.
DHEA, as it relates to muscle growth and development, can be enzymatically converted to testosterone when consumed orally and can elevate the levels of other anabolic hormones in the body.
The conversion to testosterone and other anabolic compounds provides an environment that is conducive to muscular hypertrophy through enhanced nitrogen retention, protection against oxidation and free radical damage, and stimulated anabolic activity within muscle cells.
The standard recommended dose for DHEA supplementation is one 50 mg capsule daily for men and one daily 15-50 mg dose for women.
However, Taylor notes that examination of enhanced anabolic activity using several times the therapeutic dose may support exceeding the standard dosing recommendations for the benefit of increased muscle growth and development.
Caution should be exercised however, as Taylor states that “DHEA is an anabolic steroid with all of the effects and potential side effects of other anabolic steroids.”
Many scientists and medical professionals have published literature documenting their findings and analysis of DHEA.
Much of this research supports the muscle building benefit of DHEA supplementation.
- William N. Taylor, M.D., reports that “DHEA has the potential to enhance the anabolic mechanisms within the body… to increase muscle mass and strength.”
- Life Extension Media cited sources that state “DHEA, growth hormone, and testosterone are hormones that can restore aged muscles to a youthful anabolic state.”
- Life Extension Media published that “Supplemental DHEA may reduce body weight in humans and increase lean body mass. DHEA has been shown to elevate IGF-1”, which is an anabolic growth hormone.
- Stephen Cherniske, M.S. cited sources in published literature that DHEA has the “ability to induce an anabolic growth factor, increase muscle strength and lean body mass.”
Shopping for DHEA Supplements
The focus of this article is not to recommend a specific retailer or DHEA supplement brand name.
Instead, it is incumbent upon the consumer to conduct adequate research before choosing a DHEA supplement brand or manufacturer.
DHEA supplements are available legally, over the counter in the United States with no prescription needed.
DHEA products can be purchased online, in health food stores and in drug stores.
The internet is a good resource when conducting research on DHEA.
Because of the controversial nature of the supplement, news articles, legal literature, and websites devoted to the compound are abundant in the online community.
Also, the websites of individual retailers and manufacturers contain valuable information that can be used when conducting DHEA research.
Some medical professionals consider the use of DHEA supplements to be hormonal manipulation, as its use alters several body systems, such as the endocrine system.
As such, it would be prudent for the user to consult with a medical professional prior to initiating DHEA supplementation.