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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. It is metabolized to androstenedione and testosterone, and is a popular supplement with aging adults and some athletes. A review of literature by Japanese researchers concluded that DHEA plays a significant role in controlling body composition. It activates AMPK and PGC-1 alpha, both of which improve metabolic health by increasing cell mitochondria (powerhouses of the cell), increasing fat burning, enhancing blood vessel formation and preventing muscle atrophy. PGC-1 alpha increases energy expenditure by activating brown fat— a tissue that releases energy as heat rather than storing it as fat. DHEA is also critical in blood sugar regulation. However, we don’t have much concrete evidence that DHEA supplements are beneficial. (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 463: 42-47)