Low DHEA sulfate, not testosterone, associated with low libido in women under 45 Research presented at the 86th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society this week has revealed that low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) sulfate may be the culprit in women under the age of 45 who experience low libido. DHEA is a hormone made by the adrenal glands of both genders that dramatically declines with age. Low levels of DHEA have been linked with cognitive decline, depression and other diseases.
It had previously been accepted that low levels of the hormone testosterone were responsible for low libido in men and women of all ages.
Researchers at the Jean Hailes Foundation, Australia's leading women's health organization, examined hormone levels from 1,423 women ages 18 to 75. Director of Research at The Foundation, Professor Susan Davis, reported: "We undertook this study to determine whether women with low libido also had low levels of androgens. We found a strong relationship between the low scores for desire, arousal and responsiveness and low DHEAS levels in women under 45. Although multiple factors contribute to sexual interest we have demonstrated that low DHEAS is more likely in a woman experiencing low sexual desire and arousal than in other women. The findings from this study are absolutely fundamental to developing a sound clinical approach to the assessment of women presenting with low libido.”
The discovery is important because women reporting low libido who have normal testosterone levels may not have their DHEA sulfate levels tested, and fail to reap the benefits of treatment with DHEA.
DHEA Replacement Therapy Youthful hormone balance is critical to maintaining health and preventing disease in men and women over the age of 40. One hormone that is deficient in almost everyone over 35 is DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), normally the most abundant steroid in the human body.
A wealth of data indicates that DHEA is a vitally important hormone. DHEA appears to protect every part of the body against the ravages of aging. In fact, published studies link low levels of DHEA to aging and diseased states. Specifically, a deficiency of DHEA has been found to correlate with:
Type-II diabetic complications
Greater risk for certain cancers
Excess body fat
Heart disease in men
The importance of DHEA, a precursor of estrogen and testosterone, in psychological and sexual health has been underlined in a number of studies. For example, a German study found that DHEA-deficient women supplementing with 50 mg of DHEA daily for four months had decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety and improved libido (Arlt et al. 1999).
A study by an Italian team of investigators suggests that DHEA may be an effective option for preserving health in postmenopausal women. The study concluded that oral administration of 50 mg of DHEA daily for six months mimics the benefits of traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), namely, estrogen-progestin in terms of its effects on the GHRH-GH-IGF-1 (growth hormone-releasing) axis (Genazzani et al. 2001). The axis oversees the control of several endocrine functions, including the stimulation of osteoblasts (bone cells) to stimulate skeletal growth in children and maintain bone integrity in adults. During menopause, however, the drop in estrogenic activity reduces the secretion of the hormones of this axis and slowly the bone reduces the amount of calcium and osteoporosis begins.
It has been shown that the hormone DHEA often declines 80-90% by age 70 or later, leading to hormonal imbalances that can affect one’s quality of life. Peak blood levels of DHEA occur at approximately age 25, decreasing progressively thereafter. Thus, scientists have been looking at ways of restoring DHEA to youthful levels, and are now discovering mechanisms by which this hormone protects against age-related decline.
Since 1981, thousands of studies have been published on DHEA’s possible benefits. One study investigated immune functions and DHEA using rats as test subjects. The scientists showed that DHEA administration to rats supports specific immune function known to be lacking in the elderly.
Another study focused on the various benefits of DHEA supplementation, and noted that DHEA’s protective effect could be of benefit to the normal aging brain.2 Some studies have reported DHEA may improve mood and alleviate melancholy. In fact, as highlighted in two studies, participants have reported that they feel better when taking DHEA.
As you grow older, the testosterone responsible for libido tends to bind to globulins in the blood instead of stimulating cell receptor sites throughout the body. Natural plant extracts have been shown to enhance sexual desire, performance, and gratification. These extracts also have been shown to be free of side effects. Life Extension offers a standardized muira puama extract combined with a potent nettle root extract, zinc, Peruvian ginseng (maca), and chrysin in a preparation called Super MiraForte. This product is for use by men only.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation may be beneficial to women after menopause, according to research published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.
A low level of estrogen, which in turn affects the function of many organs and tissues, characterizes menopause. While historically treated with potent estrogen drugs, recent studies have suggested that estrogen drugs may be more harmful than beneficial.
In their report, Italian researchers noted that DHEA has received a great deal of attention lately because many (though not all) studies have shown that the “administration of DHEA greatly improves several endocrine, metabolic, and physiologic parameters both in men and women.”
This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Individual results are not guaranteed and results may vary.
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