Hormones are the contractors that tell your DNA to degenerate or regenerate. Having the right balance of hormones can help you build muscle and bone, calm and balance your mood, blood sugar, cholesterol an weight, improve your memory and a whole lot more. I’ll review some hormone supplements that are available over the counter.
DHEA Hormone Supplements
DHEA is one of the most abundant hormones in the body. This hormone balances cortisol – the major ager. Cortisol can cause mood swings, break down muscle and bone, cause storage of fat as well as elevate blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar leading to increased cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. High levels of cortisol also depress your immune system. DHEA on the other hand, can build bone; encourage lean body mass, balance the immune system and improve mood. It may also have cardiovascular benefits. Studies showed that DHEA supplementation improves the function of the lining of blood vessels allowing them to expand and improve blood flow. Arteries that do not expand or dilate properly can restrict blood flow to organs and tissues and that is a good predictor of future heart and blood vessel problems. It also improves insulin sensitivity and decreases the plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 concentration (PAI 1), which inhibits the body’s ability to dissolve tiny blood clots that form in the bloodstream on a regular basis. DHEA is often thought of as the fountain of youth in a bottle and it is one of the hormone supplements that are available over the counter. Be aware that DHEA can convert into testosterone and testosterone can be converted into estrogen. While there is no evidence that it causes cancer, anyone with an active cancer should avoid taking this hormone. It is best to have levels measured. Doses are generally 5mg for women and 25 mg for men. Common side effects of excess DHEA hormone supplements are acne, increased facial hair and hair loss. Be sure to have your levels measured and get advice from a functional medicine specialist before taking any hormone.
Pregnenalone Hormone Supplements
Pregnenalone is known as a mother hormone because it is the precursor of all of the steroid hormones including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA as well as others. It is also known as the memory hormone because it is highly concentrated in the brain. Pregnenalone hormone supplements may modulate neurotransmitter activity by enhancing the release of acetylcholine (Ach). Acetylecholine is involved in the regulation of memory, attention, paradoxical sleep and plasticity (the ability of the brain to adapt). Studies that used pregnenalone hormone supplements heightened feelings of wellbeing, reduced the fatigue associated with high stress, and enhanced job performance and productivity. Since paradoxical sleep improves memory and the growth and development of brain and nervous tissue and acetylcholine improves paradoxical sleep, it is thought that pregnenalone hormone supplements may be beneficial in Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. Both pregnenolone and DHEA were found to be low in Alzheimer’s disease and pregnenalone is low in depression. Pregnenolone has also been studied and used in arthritis, lupus and scleroderma with success, however it was given by injection in these studies. Pregnenalone hormone supplements are available over the counter and doses vary widely. There is no known recommended dose that has been studied in oral form so take only under the supervision of a functional medicine doctor who can monitor its effects.