Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone in the human body that decreases with age. This hormone is converted into a metabolite known as 7 keto, which doesn’t cause the side effects the hormone can. Many health food stores sell 7 keto DHEA as a supplement. It is commonly used by bodybuilders to improve lean muscle mass and by people who want to lose weight, and it can also help build up the immune system.
The DHEA hormone is a product of the adrenal glands and can increase testosterone and estrogen levels. It controls several physiological processes, and decreased levels of this hormone are believed to be responsible for some of the signs of aging. DHEA supplements are available, but its 7 keto DHEA metabolite is preferred by many since it doesn’t affect the levels of sex hormones in the body. Supplementation with the DHEA hormone may increase one’s risk of developing several types of cancer, while its 7 keto metabolite does not cause that effect.
Scientific studies have demonstrated the health benefits of 7 keto DHEA. People taking it as a dietary supplement experienced significantly greater weight loss and a reduction of body mass index than people who took a placebo. Studies have also shown that 7 keto DHEA supplements do not have any adverse side effects. These supplements are considered safer than DHEA because the 7 keto metabolite isn’t a hormone and therefore won’t cause estrogen or testosterone levels to increase to dangerous levels the way DHEA supplements may. In addition, 7 keto is excreted rapidly so that excessive levels cannot form in the body.
The benefits of 7 keto DHEA aren’t limited to weight loss and body building. Studies have shown that it strengthens the immune system by decreasing the amount of cells that suppress immunity and increasing the white blood cell count. It can also improve memory, reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol, and lower blood pressure as a person loses weight.
Weight loss from taking 7 keto DHEA occurs due to the action that it has on the thyroid hormone T3, which regulates metabolism. T3 levels increase when one takes 7 keto DHEA, speeding up the metabolism, burning body fat, and increasing one's energy level. If a person wants to use 7 keto DHEA for weight loss, a 100 milligram capsule twice a day is recommended for optimum effectiveness. Using the supplement alone won’t offer the best results, however. It should be combined with a healthy diet and exercise program for the greatest efficacy.