What is DHEA and its Effect on Building Muscle

One of the biggest questions that arises when it comes to the use of certain supplements or legal steroids is that many tend to say that these products do not work, when in fact they can have a positive effect on gaining muscle mass. Most popular muscle building supplements if they are of any quality will have a certain amount of DHEA, in fact it is legal to use but in some countries bodybuilders can be banned if traces of DHEA are found in their system and why you ask, because it actually works.

What is DHEA

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is produced by the adrenal glands, its composition is of cholesterol which is due to the influence of adrenocorticotrophic hormone from the pituitary gland, DHEA is what’s responsible for producing the majority of your hormones including estrogen and Testosterone, it is essential for your body’s internal functions such as body cell reproduction and sex hormones, if our body did not produce DHEA the cells would gradually become damaged causing you to be susceptible to certain kinds of disease.

Man lifting heavy barbell

Like most hormones DHEA levels begin to decline as we get older meaning so do our hormone levels,  initial levels begin to dwindle when we reach our 30’s. Taking a certain amount of DHEA through supplements can maintain proper levels,  the recommended dose is anywhere between 50-100 milligrams per day.

DHEA is considered a prohormone

In 2005 the FDA banned many prohormones but DHEA was one that, fortunately, survived the ban, thanks to aggressive efforts from lobbyists DHEA stayed alive and has made a great comeback, while many say DHEA has no effect on building muscle mass, I strongly have to disagree, because DHEA is found in high levels when men are younger and we all know that hormones are at their peak in our early twenties, making it easy for us to pack on lean muscle mass.  If those levels dwindle so will our ability to gain muscle, so the benefits of this supplement can definitely help maintain levels where they should be even as we get older, which will not only help us maintain muscle mass to some degree .it will also help maintain energy and strength levels.

Several studies have been performed on DHEA that have shown to increase testosterone levels significantly in men, we all know that more testosterone can help increase energy and strength and maintain lean muscle mass.

Let’s look at a couple of studies that were performed

Study #1

This study was performed at the University Health Center in Farmington Connecticut by Kenny Boxer et.al in 2010 what researchers wanted to determine is that if administering DHEA combined with exercise would have a direct effect on muscle growth and strength.

The study performed was a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of 99 women with an average age of 76.6 years old,  each of theses women that were measured were found to have low levels of DHEA along with low bone mass and were considered frail. Each participant in the study was given 50 milligrams of DHEA or a placebo for a period of 6 months,  after the 6 months researchers found a significant increase in all hormone levels including estradiol, estrone and a decrease in SHBG levels, they also found an increase in lower extremity strength when involved with light exercises.

Click here to learn more about this study ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 

Study #2

This study was conducted in 2013 by Liu,Lin, Lin through the Taipei Education College in Taiwan, in this study researchers wanted to find out what the effects would be on free testosterone levels in young to middle aged men following what would be labeled intense training sessions,  the study involved eight middle-aged men as well as eight younger men “control subjects” the age of the middle-aged men was around 49 years old,  the age range of the young men “control group was 21,  in the test group each man was given 50 milligrams of DHEA once at night 12 hours before a five session two minute cycling exercise,  what was found is that the oral supplementation of DHEA did increase free testosterone levels above the normal baseline which showed a direct correlation in the reduction of inbound testosterone which freed up testosterone in the body following a short intense workout

Click here to read full study ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Conclusion

There will always be studies trying to prove the pros and cons of many different supplements and their effects, the above studies are just two of many other studies that have shown that DHEA can have a significant impact on increasing testosterone levels which is a key ingredient for men to increase muscle size and improve energy, both physical and sexual. So the next time you are looking for a supplement to help build muscle you may want to consider one that contains DHEA.

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