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Monday, May 19, 2014

Enhancing Cognitive Function with DHEA

As we age, our bodies begin to reduce production of several substances associated with youth. One of these is DHEA, an important prohormone secreted mostly by the adrenal glands, gonads and skin. DHEA is the most abundant hormone in the bloodstream, and is the precursor or base building block for most hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and is also important for cardiovascular health, immune response, bone strength and soft skin.

Effects of Low DHEA

As DHEA production decreases at a rate of about 2 percent each year after age 25, many people experience declines in mood, feel overwhelmed or generally lack the vitality they once had. In addition to the gradual decrease of DHEA with age, other things like smoking and a high stress life can lower DHEA levels. An easy at-home DHEA blood test can help you to determine if your DHEA levels are lower than they should be. Low DHEA has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and a number of studies showed a correlation with impaired visuospatial skills, short term memory and verbal fluency.

DHEA and Cognition

Though studies of DHEA's effect on cognition continue, it is clear from the medical research that has already been completed that DHEA has beneficial effects on memory, mood and cognition.

One of DHEA's most important functions when it comes to aging, and brain aging in particular, is to counterbalance cortisol, the body's main stress hormone. Sixty percent of your brain is made up of fat, most of it polyunsaturated fat that is highly prone to damage from free radicals including those formed by high cortisol levels in the body. This damage often leads to inflammation, which is now widely regarded as an underlying cause of many degenerative diseases. DHEA exhibits anti-inflammatory effects that protect against brain cell damage. It has also been shown to help the body reverse impairment from the amyloid plaque deposits commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Many of the same factors that affect heart health also affect the health of your brain. This includes atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaques in blood vessels that causes reduced circulation. Your brain needs plenty of oxygen and glucose to function properly, and anything that reduces blood flow to the brain can result in damage or impairment. DHEA helps protect against plaque buildup, likely because of the same anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that keep your brain healthy.

Supplementing DHEA

When you begin looking for DHEA supplements, you might notice that there are two different kinds of supplements out there: DHEA supplements are available as oral pills and as a cream. Creams are a more effective form of delivery than pills because the DHEA in oral DHEA is mostly eliminated by the liver, and what is not destroyed by the liver ends up only increasing DHEA sulfate in the bloodstream. DHEA sulfate cannot be converted in the body into free DHEA which is what the body uses as a precursor for the sex hormones. DHEA cream allows your body to absorb and metabolize the DHEA where it occurs naturally anyway - in the skin.

As with any healthy lifestyle changes made, for best results get regular exercise, eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of good clean water. Practicing stress management techniques like meditation or yoga can help to keep cortisol levels in check, and engaging in regular exercise to improve circulation is also an important way to help protect your brain from the effects of aging. Add in a pump or two of Twist 25 DHEA cream to your daily routine and feel the difference.

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