Health & Wellness

7-Keto DHEA-Should Women Use It?

Dr. Mary Ann Block
By Dr. Mary Ann Block |Hurst (right in the middle of Dallas/Fort Worth), Texas

There has been much discussion about 7-Keto DHEA since Dr. Oz talked about it on his program.

What is 7-Keto DHEA?

The claims say that it can help women lose abdominal weight. Before you run out and buy it, there is some information you might want to know. 7-Keto DHEA is a by-product of the hormone, DHEA. DHEA is a precursor to androgenic hormones. While women have and need some androgenic hormones like testosterone, in their bodies, just as men have estrogen and progesterone in theirs, a little may be all we women need. Too much of it could cause problems.

7-Keto DHEA can be purchased over-the-counter, just as DHEA can be. However, just because something is easily available and not prescription, doesn’t mean it is always safe. Some hormones were “Grandfathered” as over-the-counter rather than prescription. They are still hormones and can have hormonal affects on the body. Even Vitamin D is actually a hormone and can be toxic in too great of amounts.

Does it work?

It does appear that 7-Keto DHEA can increase body metabolism and may help develop muscle but because it is androgenic it may also cause hair growth in the wrong places, acne and irritability. If a woman is already low in estrogen or progesterone, 7-Keto DHEA may have a more maculating affect.

According to webMD, there isn’t enough information available to know if 7-Keto DHEA is safe.

What You Should Know

There could certainly be a potential benefit to using 7-Keto DHEA but it is important to have an evaluation prior to its use. This evaluation should include a physical exam and lab tests to determine hormone levels and thyroid function.

If you have a sluggish thyroid gland, treating that may be all that is needed. Most doctors use the TSH (Thyroid Stimulation Hormone) Test to determine if your thyroid is working properly. If the TSH is high, you have Hypothyroidism, and won’t be able to lose weight easily, even with diet and exercise. A few years ago the Endocrinologists determined that the correct normal value for TSH should be 0.3-3.3. Many labs have not adjusted their results to these numbers so many people may have been told that their thyroid was working fine because the lab test said it was normal but it really wasn’t.

You can have a normal TSH and still not have a working thyroid. The TSH measures only the level of thyroid hormone called T4. Yet, T4 is not the active form of thyroid. That would be Free T3. Free T3 can also be measured with a lab test but I find that it is rarely done. It would be important to know if your thyroid is really working as it should before taking an over-the-counter hormone.

What looks like a quick fix for losing abdominal weight could cause a host of real problems if you don’t find out your hormone and thyroid levels before using 7-Keto DHEA.

Dr. Mary Ann Block
Dr. Mary Ann Block |Hurst (right in the middle of Dallas/Fort Worth), Texas
Dr. Mary Ann Block holds a clinical faculty appointment at UNT Health Science Center and is a peer reviewer for The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and the Agency for Health-Care Policy and Research and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She was the Chair of the Health Committee for The National Foundation for Women Legislators. She has spoken to Congress and to legislators around the country on the psychiatric drugging of children. Dr. Block has served on the boards of the Pan American Allergy Society, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, American Academy of Osteopathy, was the recipient of the Wayne O. Stockseth Award for Osteopathic Excellence, and was selected for Who's Who in Healthcare in Tarrant County by The Tarrant County Business Press. She was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, July 2015 She is the author of No More ADHD, No More Antibiotics, Just Because You’re Depressed, Doesn’t Mean You Have Depression, No More Ritalin and Today I Will Not Die, about her mother’s recovery from terminal lung cancer. Dr. Block has appeared on The Doctors, CBS’ 48 Hours, Montel, CNN, Scarborough Country, Lifetime TV and The Today Show and many other television and radio shows. Dr. Block is in private practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
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  • Bonnie

    AT the very beginning of this article, you are talking about 7 Keto DHEA, but slide into what DHEA itself does to the body. 7 Keto DHEA does not have the hormones you go on to talk about. Here is what WebMD says: But unlike DHEA, 7-keto-DHEA is not converted to steroid hormones such as androgen and estrogen. Taking 7-keto-DHEA by mouth or applying it to the skin does not increase the level of steroid hormones in the blood.

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