DHEA is a hormone that is a precursor for the female and male sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. 7-Keto DHEA is a hormone formed from DHEA but, while similar to its parent, DHEA, 7-keto DHEA does not convert to steroid hormones. 7-Keto DHEA is a supplement taken to speed up metabolism and heat production, which promotes weight loss. People take 7-Keto DHEA rather than DHEA itself so that they get the weight-losing benefits without the potential negative effects of hormone-level changes.
Why 7-Keto DHEA Instead of DHEA
DHEA, or 5-Dehydroepiandrosterone (pronounced dee-hi-droe-ep-e-an-DROS-tur-own), is a steroid produced mostly in the adrenal glands, but also in the gonads and the brain. It is the most abundant circulating steroid hormone in the human body. DHEA acts as a precursor to the hormone androstenedione, which itself is a precursor for the male and female sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.
DHEA is produced naturally in the body, and is also available as a dietary supplement due to holding several possible health benefits:
- Immune system strengthening
- Overcoming erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Providing more energy
- Anti-aging by lessening changes in the body that come naturally over time
- Improving memory and mood
- Strengthening the adrenal gland
- Building bone mass and improving muscle strength
Along with DHEA benefits come several possible adverse effects:
- Hair loss
- Elevated blood pressure
- Facial hair in women
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Deepening of the voice in women
- Acne and oily skin
The role of DHEA in raising levels of testosterone and estrogen play a big part in both the benefits and the side effects of DHEA supplementation — as should be obvious by seeing hormone-related issues such as facial hair, deepening of the voice, muscle and bone mass, ED, and so forth.
DHEA certainly has its roles in dietary supplements. But not so much when it comes to taking a supplement for weight loss. While DHEA has been shown in some studies to contribute to weight loss, the accompanying changes to steroid hormone levels is usually unwelcome and may result in adverse effects that far outweigh any weight loss benefit.
The solution is to supplement with Keto-7 DHEA rather than DHEA itself. Keto-7 DHEA is a derivative of DHEA — DHEA is a precursor to the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, and it’s also a precursor to Keto-7 DHEA. The advantage of 7-keto DHEA is that it has properties that contribute to weight loss, but unlike its “parent” hormone DHEA, Keto-7 DHEA has no effect on sex hormone levels — Keto-7 DHEA does not convert to testosterone or estrogen. For a person looking only to lose weight, and not treat any other issue, this is a good thing — there’s no advantage to messing around with sex hormone levels if sex hormone levels aren’t part of the issue.
When you ingest “regular” DHEA, your body creates some 7-Keto DHEA, but it also creates estrogen and testosterone. When you instead ingest 7-Keto DHEA, you get just the 7-Keto DHEA, and none of the sex hormones. And that’s a good thing.
In addition to not playing with hormone levels, studies have shown that 7-Keto DHEA does not accumulate in the body over time, and 7-Keto DHEA is free of unhealthy side effects.
Both DHEA and 7-Keto DHEA levels are known to decline as a person ages. For many people the decline is significant — by the age of 40 many people will have experienced a drop of over 40% in the levels of both these hormones.
How 7-Keto DHEA Helps You Lose Weight
7-Keto DHEA has been shown to have thermogenic properties which results in weight loss.
Thermogenesis is the production of heat. A substance with thermogenic properties accelerates metabolic functions. An accelerated metabolism burns more calories, producing more heat. This thermic effect causes a person’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) — the rate at which the body burns energy when it is at complete rest — to increase. This means calories are being burned without additional work. More burned calories means burning unwanted fat.
7-Keto DHEA has a dramatic effect on increasing the levels of three thermogenic enzymes that together stimulate fatty acid oxidation in the liver. This process generates energy, and a by-product of this process is heat. 7-Keto DHEA has been shown to be well over two times more thermogenic than than its parent DHEA. This is another good reason that when it comes to weight loss, 7-Keto DHEA is a better choice than “regular” DHEA — the other reason being that 7-Keto DHEA does not convert to steroid hormones, whereas DHEA does.
Note: You’ve no doubt heard of the Keto diet, or more fully, the Ketogenic diet. The Keto diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. The Keto diet doesn’t rely on 7-Keto DHEA supplements — the diet has similar effects, but the effects are achieved entirely by modifying the types and amount of food one eats.
A study of about three dozen overweight adults put all participants on an 8 week plan that included dieting and exercise, and also gave some participants 200 mg daily of 7-Keto DHEA. The group that received the 7-Keto DHEA supplements reduced their weight more than the group that didn’t receive the supplement (and additionally the supplement group suffered no adverse effects).
It seems that 7-Keto DHEA supplements benefit even overweight people who are inactive. In a study of 40 subjects that were given calorie-restricted diets, but no exercise, the group that was also given 7-Keto DHEA had increased metabolic rates and greater weight loss.
In mice, 7-Keto DHEA is also known to reduce appetite, which for many people is a crucial part of losing weight.
One other way in which 7-Keto DHEA has an influence on metabolism and body weight is in its interactions with a particular enzyme — 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1, also referred to as 11β-HSD 1. Whichever term you call it, that’s quite a mouthful. It’s not important to remember this enzyme’s name, or how to pronounce it. What is significant is to understand is that this enzyme converts cortisone into cortisol, and that elevated levels of cortisol can inhibit fat loss.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that contributes to the regulation of a number of processes in the body, including immune response and metabolism. Cortisol stimulates insulin release, and thus the maintenance of blood sugar levels. Normal levels of cortisol are good, but levels too high result in an increase in appetite, as well as causing cravings for high-fat, and both sweet and salty foods. None of that is a positive for people looking to lose weight. 7-Keto DHEA inhibits, or blocks, the 11β-HSD 1 enzyme, reducing cortisol levels — a good thing for people attempting to lose weight.
Finally, 7-Keto DHEA has a couple of benefits unrelated to weight loss. Studies show that 7-Keto DHEA has mood-elevating properties. A person who feels they are overweight might not necessarily be suffering from depression, but it certainly is common for overweight people to feel self-conscious, down, and in a bad mood. If taking 7-Keto DHEA helps with weight loss, and has a side effect of improving mood, then that is certainly a good thing.
In addition to bringing about weight loss, 7-Keto DHEA has also been demonstrated to improve lean body mass and build muscle. Losing weight is good, but losing weight and at the same time gaining muscle is even better.
For weight loss, 7-Keto DHEA is typically taken in 200 mg per day doses. It can be taken in a single daily dose, but it’s more commonly split into two 100 mg dosages per day. As mentioned, adverse side effects are usually minimal or non-existent.
DHEA is a hormone that produces estrogen and testosterone. It also produces the hormone 7-keto DHEA. While both DHEA and 7-Keto DHEA are sold as dietary supplements, for weight loss it’s best to choose 7-Keto DHEA because it is as effective as DHEA, but doesn’t include any unwanted adjustments to your sex hormone levels.
7-Keto DHEA is helpful for weight loss due to its thermogenic, or heat-producing, properties. 7-Keto DHEA boosts your metabolism, which burns calories and in turn burns fat. 7-Keto DHEA has few, if any, side effects, and is typically taken in a dosage of 200 mg per day.