How DHEA Supports Sex Drive, Mood and Immune Function

We are all well aware of how hormones play a very vital role in regulating our body. From acne to mood swings to weight fluctuations, a number of bodily functions and changes are heavily dependent on hormone levels. Among all the hormones in the human body, the DHEA hormone is especially known for benefits that it offers. The Dehydroepiandrosterone hormone is known as androstenolone and is responsible for sex drive, improved moods, as well as the body’s immune function.

Dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone of endogenous category. This hormone is also the most abundantly found in the blood stream. Produced in the adrenal glands, the gonads and the brain, the DHEA  hormones performs as an intermediate of the metabolic activities in the biosynthesis of the androgen and estrogen sex steroids, both of which are present  in the gonads as well as in numerous different tissues.

DHEA hormones have a number of different biological effects, such as:

Sex Drive

Since DHEA hormones are identified as weak estrogens, they are believed to support sex drive. Moreover, when these hormones are changed into strong estrogens, like estradiol, in certain muscles and tissues like the vagina, they are known to generate strong estrogenic effects in related tissues and muscles.

Mood and Behavior

According to experts, reduced levels of the DHEA hormone play a significant role in the mood and behavior of individuals. DHEA levels are regarded as the some of the most crucial factors of mental health that that may contribute to mood developments and mood swings.

Despite their importance and how they affect our mental health, regular DHEA screenings are considered absolutely important for mental illness prevention and treatment in both traditional as well as modern psychological medicine.

Immune System

It has been proven time and time again that DHEA plays an important role in improving the immune function of the human body. It has been observed, by experts, that healthy and fit adults who consumed DHEA in the form of dietary supplements on a regular basis experienced a considerable improvement in various different T-cell mediated immune system factors as compared to the individuals who were administered placebo.

Low levels of the hormone are also directly associated with age-related conditions such as immune function impairment. Since it is normal for the levels of DHEA to drop with age, it is advised to regularly test and regulate the DHEA hormone levels to improve, enhance, or strengthen the immune function.

Folate Has Demonstrated Lowering Homocysteine Levels

Folate was previously referred to as folacin. It is a generic term for both naturally occurring folate found in food as well as for folic acid, which is a completely oxidized form of monoglutamate used as a component for dietary supplements and fortified foods.

What is Folate?

Folate is actually a type of B vitamin, which is an essential component for cell growth, development and metabolism. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, can be administered either orally or via IV and is often recommended for daily consumption. The suggested daily intake for adults (in the U.S.) is 400 micrograms (sourced from dietary supplements, multivitamins, and foods).

Benefits of Folate

Folate has countless different health effects and benefits. The vitamin has also been known to cure the anemia caused as a result of folic acid deficiency. Other benefits include being used as a dietary supplement by pregnant women to minimize the developmental risks of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the fetus. Prolonged supplementation of fortified foods not only reduces the threats of strokes, but also causes a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.  

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a identified as a non-proteinogenic α-amino acid and is essentially a homologue of the amino acid cysteine, only set apart by the characteristic additional methylene bridge (-CH2-). Homocysteine is biosynthesized from methionine after the removal of its terminal Cε methyl group. It can be either recycled into methionine or converted into cysteine after associating it with a few certain B-vitamins.

High levels of Homocystein are regarded as the root cause of a number of cardiovascular diseases. Since folate can help reduce levels of homocycteine, it is often prescribed as a dietery supplement .

A high level of homocysteine in the blood can lead to hyper-homocysteinemia, making the patient more susceptible to endothelial cell injury. This could also subsequently lead to inflammation in the blood vessels, which in turn may cause atherogenesis. This is how increased levels of homocysteine in the blood can lead to Hyperhomocysteinemia, which can then act as a potential risk factor for coronary artery disease.

Effects of Folate on Homocysteine

Folate is recommended to mitigate the risks of the injuries and diseases mentioned above. Taking folic acid for a prolonged period of time has demonstrated a significant lowering of homocycteines and shown visible signs of reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease by 4%. A number of other scientific reports and studies presented preliminary evidence regarding how folate-rich diets were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases by decreasing homocysteines blood levels.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (Gla)

Gamma-Linolenic acid or GLA is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid and is largely found in vegetable oils such as hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, and borage seed oil. Other sources include leafy green vegetables, nuts, and breast milk.

Inflammation is essentially a process in which the white blood cells in the body produce substances to help protect us from infections that may be caused by foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation is of two main kinds namely acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is healthy and is required by the body to heal cuts, wounds, and open lesions.

On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a lengthened inflammatory response, which is characterized by the progressive change in the form of cells present at the inflammation site. Chronic inflammation is identified by the simultaneous repair and destruction of the tissues as a result of the inflammatory response.

Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious and life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease, etc. All these diseases have inflammatory components common in them.

It is important to note that the diet of a person affects the possibility of chronic inflammation in a number of ways. Amongst dietary components, fat has been the primary factor that has affected health. Fats such as saturated fats and trans fatty acids have been associated with causing obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer, while poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)  have demonstrated an generally positive influence on overall health and well being.

How Does GLA Fight Inflammation?

The linoleic acid in the body produces Gamma linolenic acid. Linolenic acid is an essential Omega-6 fatty acid and is catalyzed by the delta-6-desaturase enzyme. It is then further metabolized and undergoes oxidative metabolism, because of which anti-inflammatory eicosanoids are produced in the body.

When GLA is consumed as a dietary supplement, it gets further metabolized to dihomogamma linlenic acid (DGLA) which then undergoes a reaction called oxidative metabolism. This oxidation reaction is catalyzed by the enzymes cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases so that anti-inflammatory eicosanoids can be produced. GLA and its metabolites, subsequently, influence different gene expressions where gene products and matrix proteins’ levels are regulated and standardized. Therefore, GLA is highly recommended and more than often prescribed to patients of diseases which are primarily caused by chronic inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effects of the GLA help patients of cancer, arthritis, heart disease and respiratory disease among many others.

Vitamin K Shows Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin K for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease (Review) by Hartley L, Clar C, Ghannam O, Flowers N, Stranges S, Rees K.

“A deficiency in vitamin K has been associated with increased calcium deposition and coronary artery calcification, which may lead to cardiovascular disease.”

Vitamin K is a group of beneficial, fat-soluble vitamins that aid in regulating calcium in the blood, bone metabolism, and blood clotting. This vitamin is essential for producing prothrombin, a protein that is important for the functions mentioned above.

A deficiency of vitamin K can lead to an increase in blood clotting, which can cause excessive bleeding and hemorrhage. The vitamin K group contains two types of vitamins: K1 and K2. The former vitamin is the important one and is mostly found in leafy green vegetables, while the latter is found in animal products and fermented food.

Vitamin K1 Food Sources

  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts

Vitamin K2 Food Sources

  • Natto
  • Soft cheese
  • Pork sausages
  • Hard cheese
  • Chicken (especially the leg and thigh)
  • Pork chop (with the bone)
  • Egg yolk

In order to know which vitamin K reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, you need to know the difference between the two vitamins.

Differences Between Vitamin K1 and K2

As mentioned earlier, the production of prothrombin is how vitamin K boosts the body’s blood clotting process and other functions. However, vitamins K1 and K2 are absorbed and transported differently in the body, which means they benefit the body differently too.

Vitamin K1 is absorbed poorly by the body because it’s plant-based. In fact, less than 10% K1 is absorbed by the body. On the other hand, K2 is found in fatty foods, which means its absorption rate is much better. By eating healthy food, vitamin K is better absorbed, which is why K2 circulates longer in the blood. It can remain in the body for days, which is why it is better used by the tissues. On the other hand, K1 is used by the liver.

Vitamin K and Cardiovascular Disease

Calcium deposits can lead to heart problems. The activation of a protein by vitamin K in the body can prevent calcium deposits from blocking the arteries. Since calcium leads to the buildup of plaque, a deficiency in vitamin K can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Since K2 remains longer in the body, it is better at protecting the heart. According to a study published in the journal of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases (NMCD), vitamin K2 is good at lowering the risk associated with coronary heart disease. Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis looked at 564 post-menopausal women who were given phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2). The results showed that K2 worked significantly better than K1 in reducing coronary calcification.

This brings us to the conclusion that vitamin K2 works better at protecting the heart from calcium deposits.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA Linked to Healthy Aging

How many times have you heard that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is good for your health? The first thought that probably comes to your mind after hearing this is, “I’m gonna eat more fish from now on.” Yes, fish is the number one item on the list of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but why are these fatty acids important for your body?

For one, they have numerous health benefits. In total, there are 11 types of omega-3 fatty acids, which include:

  1. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  2. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  3. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  4. Stearidonic acid (SDA)
  5. Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)
  6. Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA)
  7. Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE)
  8. Tetracosapentaenoic acid
  9. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
  10. Tetracosahexaenoic acid
  11. Heneicosapentaenoic acid (HPA)

However, not all of these omega-3 fatty acids are created equal. The most important among these are the top three: EPA, ALA, and DHA. ALA is found in plants, while DHA and EPA are found in specific animal foods such as fatty fish.

Understanding Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are beneficial for numerous body functions. According to a research published in the Journal of Lipid Search, they are recognized as a “good source of energy.” They also help in other bodily processes such as brain function, heart health, and preventing inflammation.

Inflammation plays a vital role in leaving the body vulnerable to diseases and infections. According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, increase in inflammation leads to a higher risk of impaired body functions.

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and Healthy Aging

EPA offers numerous health benefits. It improves eye health, promotes brain health, reduces the risk factors associated with heart disease, lowers metabolic syndrome symptoms, fights autoimmune diseases, prevents cancer, alleviates menstrual pain, and enhances sleep.

When it comes to healthy aging, EPA can fight various age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. According to a research published in Neurology, several studies have proved that regular fish consumption can delay the onset of dementia.

Arthritis and osteoporosis are two disorders that affect the skeletal system in the elderly. According to a study published in Aging (Milan, Italy), seniors can strengthen their bones by increasing their calcium intake. It was revealed that EPA enhances calcium absorption, which leads to more calcium being deposited in the bones.

A study published in the BMJ journal studies the effects of different mega-3 fatty acids in great detail. 2,622 participants aged 74 were given food items such as fish, leafy green vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Their n-3 PUFA (omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) levels were measured for EPA, DHA, and ALA between 6 and 13 years. The results showed that amongst the 3 fatty acids, EPA levels were the highest and the acid was 24% effective in promoting healthy aging.

This brings us to the conclusion that while the body needs all omega-3 fatty acids, a boost in EPA can help the elderly live a healthy and happy life.

Spice Check –The Anti-Inflammatory Response of Turmeric and Ginger

The color yellow carries various meanings. It denotes clarity, energy, positivity, happiness, and more. You might have never thought about this, but even the color of your food plays a huge role in whether you will eat it or not. Today, “leading a healthy lifestyle” has become a mantra. People are gravitating towards natural foods and supplements. From vitamin tablets to protein powder… the diet food market offers everything you need to fulfill your recommended nutrients intake.

But wait a minute… are diet supplements really what you should be going for? Well, if your body lacks certain vitamins or other minerals, then you should definitely consider this option. What we are talking about here are natural supplements… spices to be exact. There are hundreds of spices, each with their unique ability. Cinnamon is known for being loaded with antioxidants, rosemary is known as the perfect arterial protector, thyme is a strong infection inhibitor, oregano is known as a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent, mint is known for the gastrointestinal relief it provides, and the list goes on.

The spices we are going to talk about today are ginger and turmeric. Before we begin, let’s discuss their origin:

The Origin of Ginger

Ginger Root

The ancient Chinese and Indians used ginger root to create tonics for treating common ailments. It is believed ginger was first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and it soon spread to other countries. The spice dates back 5,000 years and was celebrated by the Romans for its healing powers. In the 1st century, ginger reached the Mediterranean regions. It was considered one of the most powerful spices in Rome, but with the downfall of the Roman Empire, ginger lost its worth. After a few years, it rose back up again and was then used for making delicacies.

The Origin of Turmeric

Turmeric dates back 4,500 years, and its traces were found in pots in New Delhi. These pots dated back to 2,500 BCE. It wasn’t until 500 BCE that this spice emerged in Ayurvedic medicine. It was discovered that inhaling turmeric fumes can alleviate congestion and the juice helped with wounds and bruises. Turmeric is known for its compound curcumin, which can tackle just about any degenerative condition linked to the nervous system, heart, and brain.

The Power of Curcumin – An Anti-Inflammatory Compound

Inflammation is great for the body as it helps in fighting against foreign infectious invaders and repairing the damage. Without inflammation fighting bacteria, there’s a possibility that harmful pathogens might kills you.

The compound curcumin is so effective that it even surpasses the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. It helps block the molecule NF-kB, which travels to different cell nuclei and stimulates inflammation genes.  

According to a study published in the Foods journal on the health benefit of curcumin, the spice increased inflammation-related neutrophil function. The participants of the study aged between 40 and 60 years old were given 400 mg powder/day that contained 80 mg curcumin, for four weeks. *These adults had no specific ailments. The results revealed that not only their inflammation response was improved but the spice also lowered triglyceride levels, salivary amylase activity (marker of stress) and beta amyloid plaque (brain aging marker). Further test showed that curcumin also helped people manage exercise-induced muscle soreness and inflammation.

Ginger’s Anti-Inflammatory Response

The studies on ginger relating to its anti-inflammatory response are quite contradictory. However, there are hundreds of studies conducted on its benefits. The compounds in ginger are known for their ability to treat a common health problem called Osteoarthritis (OA). This disease involves degeneration of joints that lead to symptoms such as joint stiffness and pain. Ginger has somewhat the same NF-kB response.

According to a study published in the Arthritis & Rheumatology journal, ginger has great anti-inflammatory response. 261 participants with OA having different level of pain took part in the study. For 6 weeks, the patients receive extract of ginger, which they had to take twice daily. The results showed that pain from the OA in the knee reduced significantly.

So now you know how powerful these two spices are! Why not start using them daily in your food? As studies have proved, even if you are not sick, they will still benefit your health.

How Palmitoyle-Thanolamide (PEA) Helps with Pain Relief

Pain is one factor that we cannot escape from. They say that if you take your mind off it and try to distract yourself with something else, you will find relief but this works only temporarily. There are thousands of pain relief meds in the market that target pain. Popping pills is not the right answer but taking the right one definitely is.

The Key to Pain Relief

Today, we are going to talk about Palmitoyle-Thanolamide (PEA), which is fatty acid amide. In medical terms, this fatty acid amide minds to a receptor targeting the cell nucleus and exerts various biological functions that help with inflammation, acute pain and chronic pain.

Understanding Palmitoyle-Thanolamide (PEA)

In simpler terms, PEA is produced in your body and combats pain. One factor it is known for is that it safely boosts natural cannabinoids, which help maintain balance in the body. It protects nerves in the entire body and benefits patients who deal with pain on a daily basis due to disorders that are difficult to treat.

NCBI reports around 10 studies that were done to find out the efficacy of PEA. Data from 786 patients was reviewed and it was found out that PEA responds to different types of pains in different manners. A conclusion was reached that the supplement is useful in treating pain.

Since cannabinoids and PEA help with nerve communication, patients find relief from pain in a safe and a natural way. PEA is naturally found in egg yolks, soy lecithin, soybeans, peanuts, and alfalfa. It is also available in powder, capsule and tablet supplement form. Since PEA’s discovery in 1950, researchers have considered a natural and safe pain killer. According to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, PEA showed no signs of side effects when it was tested for a period of 60 days. However, further studies need to be done for longer period of times to find its long term effects.

During these studies, it was revealed that PEA and the cannabinoid receptors provide many more benefits than just pain relief, which include reducing allergies, protecting the heat and brain, improving mood and fighting against common cold.

Mechanism of Action

Palmitoyle-Thanolamide activates the anti-inflammatory, energy-boosting and fat-burning PRAR alpha. This is a key protein that stops pro-inflammatory genes from becoming active. A bliss gene by the name FAAH is a stopped from becoming active, which increases the calming effects of anandamide in the body and helps increase relaxation by combating pain.

PEA helps find relief from the following pain types:

  • Pelvic pain due to endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sciatica
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back surgery pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Cancer pain

Even though PEA is a natural pain killer and so far hasn’t revealed any side effects in its clinical trials, people should only use it after getting it recommended by a doctor.