Let's Take a Closer Look at the Metabolic Hormones - DHEA and Testosterone

4:08 AM Posted by jo

This post is part of my series about the metabolic hormones and how they especially influence the weight. In my last post I discussed cortisol and the other adrenal hormones. Today I will cover DHEA and testostereone, yes, ladies need the androgen testosterone and DHEA too. In fact, they can assist in building calorie burning muscles and increase our energy so that we want to work out. As many other hormones they start to decline as we age.

Where they are produced

DHEA and testosterone are produced in the adrenals, testes and ovaries. Testosterone helps develop the secondary sex characteristics like facial and body hair. Testosterone is beneficial for both men and women and it helps energy levels, boost libido and protects bones. It is also important in preserving the mental function as we are getting older.

The testosterone in women are mostly produced in their adrenal glands, while it is produced in the reproductive glands of the men. The precursor to testosterone and estradiol,  DHEA, is also produced in women's adrenal gland. DHEA is a great hormone. It may help prevent cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, brain function and impaired memory.

Good for the metabolism

Testosterone and DHEA are good hormones for the metabolism. Since they are anabolic they mostly build muscles instead of destroying. Testosterone assists in building lean muscle mass in both men and women. It is converted into estrogen in women as well.

Youth Hormones

Testosterone and DHEA are "youth hormones", and  as such they decline as we get older. In men the testosterone levels drop as early as in the thirties by 1-2 % per year. It is a slower process than the women's drastic drop in progesterone and estrogen. The level of DHEA also drops, which makes all the hormones suffer since it is the building block for all other hormones. 
Losing these androgen hormones due to aging cause many changes in the body. Muscle mass is decreasing, abdominal fat increases, bones weaken and and libido decreases. The motivation to do some exercising is decreasing also, which is not a good thing since exercising boosts testosterone.

Low testosterone may cause depression 

Extremely low levels of testosterone in men are almost three times as likely to cause depression compared high levels of testosterone. 

Weight gain leads to increased estrogen

Unfortunately, as people gain weight more testosterone is converted into estrogen. Again, we have another vicious cycle, more estrogen leads to more fat, which leads to more estrogen. Testosterone is pushed out of the way.

What may cause the imbalances?

Diabetes, aging, body fat, stress, insulin resistance, too much estrogen, pituitary tumor, lack of exercise, steroid use, trauma to the testes, and too little progesterone are some things that can cause DEAH or testosterone imbalances. 

Signs of too little hormones

Some signs that there may be a problem with too little testosterone or DHEA are beer belly, anxiety, fatigue, reduced bone density, thicker waist, depression, lack of motivation, erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, body composition changes, loss of muscle mass and man breasts. 

Signs of too much hormones

Some signs that there may be a problem with too much DHEA and testosterone are balding, aggression, acne, excessive body hair growth, irregular periods, high blood pressure, overactive sex drive, and lowered voice.

Don't self-diagnose 

Remember not to self- diagnose and don't try supplementation without consulting with a professional. 50 % women's androgen hormones are produced in the adrenals, so it may be a good idea to optimizing the adrenals instead of messing around with DHEA and testosterone supplementation. Make sure you eat good quality fats and protein, b-vitamins and zinc, and other minerals and vitamins to aid in building the important steroids.

This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advise of a health care practitioner if you suspect that you suffer from hormonal imbalances.

Thanks for visiting!


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives.

Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information. 

This post is linked up to Real Food Wednesdays hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop and to WFMW.

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