Let’s face it. Our moods can sometimes turn down and dark and we need a way out. Aging, illness, and mood go hand in hand. There are many things that can lift our moods and slow the aging process. The special hormone comes after the fundamentals such as:
- Staying in tune with our circadian rhythms by getting light in the morning and keeping it dark at night to get a good, restful night’s sleep is a top mood lifter and anti-aging strategy.
- Exercise and a nutrient dense diet with plenty of antioxidant fruits and vegetables makes you more resilient.
- Drinking less or no alcohol and caffeine, and avoiding toxins in the air, water and ion your personal care and cleaning products protects your brain, liver and the engines in each cell that provide energy, the mitochondria.
- Avoiding blood sugar swings by limiting sugar, processed food and simple carbohydrates is key to avoid highs and lows in moods and protects your brain and organs from sugar binding to protein called glycation which can age you quickly.
- Supplements can keep your mind and body slim, sharp and well nourished.
- Mindset, mindfulness, meditation, stress management, relaxation and reframing situations can help you shift your mood and balance your hormones so you can turn back the clock and lower the hormone cortisol that can break you down when it is stays high from dis-stress.
Any disorder has a set of requirements for maintaining the status quo. The formula to turn things around is adding what is missing, taking away what is harmful that perpetuates the condition and multiplying what is good for your mind, body, and spirit. When it comes to mood, there may be something missing from the above list –DHEA.
What is DHEA?
DHEA is the abbreviation for Dehydroepiandrosterone and is a precursor hormone for other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. It is made in the adrenal glands and the same hormone that stimulates the adrenal gland to release cortisol, the stress hormone that can age you fast and break down muscle and bone, will release DHEA that counters the negative effects of cortisol.
Aging, Illness and DHEA levels
DHEA is known as “the fountain of youth” hormone due to its abundance during youth and its longevity effects. Levels decline as people age and low levels of DHEA are associated with illness. A 25-year-old has a peak level of DHEA, and the levels decline thereafter leaving an 85-year-old with only 5% of the level in youth.
High DHEA levels are associated with several health benefits.
- Men with a high level of DHEA are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
- DHEA can increase the ability to transform food to energy and burn off excess fat.
- DHEA can lower inflammatory markers associated with chronic disease.
- Studies show low DHEA levels in men are associated with age-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, immune disorders, cancer, and neurological dysfunction.
So how does DHEA affect mood and aging?
- DHEA counters the effects of cortisol which if elevated can affect the memory cells of your brain.
- Cortisol breaks down muscle and bone whereas DHEA helps build muscle and bone.
- DHEA helps people with PTSD cope.
- A group given DHEA in a study had reduced generation of negative emotions.
- DHEA may stimulate the serotonin system the way an antidepressant does to improve mood and well-being.
- DHEA levels correlate with good cognition, memory, attention, and verbal fluency which decline with age.
- DHEA in the brain protects neurons, stimulates the growth of nerve cells, enhances neuron survival, and aids in the synthesis of other neurotransmitters.
- The brain is very sensitive to oxidative stress and inflammation and DHEA has antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Oxidative stress and “inflammaging “are the root cause of most illness and aging.
- DHEA has been shown to improve sexual arousal, orgasm, sexual function, and the frequency of sexual intercourse in women.
DHEA is available over the counter, however since it can convert into other hormones, it is best to be under the care of a physician who understands hormone effects, metabolism, and anti-aging strategies.
The dose for men starts at 25 mg and for women 5 mg. Blood levels of DHEA in a 20-year-old female can range from 20 to 29: 65 to 380 µg/d and for a 20-year-old male 280 to 640 µg/dL. Too much DHEA in women may lead to acne, facial hair and/or hair loss so have your levels monitored and cortisol and other hormones should be tested as well. While DHEA can add quality to your life, a healthy lifestyle and overall hormone balance is important as well. If you need support and guidance, apply for a free, no obligation clarity call to see if we are a good fit.