What Is 7-Keto-DHEA?
7-Keto-DHEA (also called 7-Keto) has applications for bodybuilding, strength athletes and general fitness enthusiasts. This naturally occurring metabolite offers many benefits without side effects. Although not fully researched yet, tests have shown its positive effects can be far reaching. This product is a metabolite of dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA, a hormone produced naturally in the body. DHEA is manufactured from the adrenal glands near the kidneys. The sheer volume of DHEA produced by these glands far exceeds any other hormones produced in the body.
The product functions like the naturally occurring DHEA, but what makes it most interesting is its oxygenated 7 position which gives it specific beneficial characteristics. These characteristics set it apart from its pre-cursor, DHEA, and other thermogenic hormones. The benefits include:
- Increased metabolism
- Weight loss
- Immunity enhancement
- Increased muscle building
- Improved lean body mass
- Enhanced memory
- Increased thyroid activity
To understand 7-Keto-DHEA you must understand what DHEA is and does. Even before birth the human fetus begins secreting DHEA in very small amounts. By the age of seven substantial amounts of DHEA are produced by the adrenal glands. Production peaks between the ages of 20-25 years old. After the age of 25 production starts to decline. The body achieves maximum production in the early morning hours. Small amounts of DHEA are also excreted by the ovaries and testes and is a precursor to the production of testosterone and estrogen.
Because DHEA peaks during the early morning hours, the body metabolizes and adds a sulfate to the molecule. This slows the clearing of the molecule from the blood stream allowing a more stable presence throughout the day.
Scientists know that DHEA does not have just one single function in the body. But acts as a catalyst to for many functions which gives it DHEA supplements like 7-Keto-DHEA multiple applications.
DHEA & Cortisol
Cortisol is the nemesis of muscle building and weight loss. Although it serves an important role in the body, Cortisol works against the very purpose of weight training and building muscle. For those not familiar with this scofflaw of bodybuilding, cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands as a result of physical or emotional/mental stress. It is an anti-inflammatory that also suppresses the body’s immune response.
Increased cortisol levels decrease protein synthesis. As well as being an anti-inflammatory cortisol helps the body seek out alternative fuels when there is not enough glucose available to fuel muscle activity. This primarily occurs during intense exercise or times of significant stress. It also helps the body break down muscle to create glucose by way of gluconeogenesis.
The effects of excessive cortisol are negative. High levels of cortisol depletes DHEA over time and this depletion can lead to:
- Impaired memory and cognition
- Low energy
- Increased fat storage
- Hardening of the arteries
- Thinning bone density
- Impaired immune system
- Weight gain
- Rise in blood pressure
Using 7-Keto-DHEA helps normalize the DHEA cortisol balance. The bodies attempt to overproduce cortisol is diminished and the spiral of negative effects is reduced.
How 7-Keto-DHEA Works?
7-Keto-DHEA works at the cellular level by activating three enzymes: Glycerol-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase, Malic Enzyme, and Fatty Acyl CoA Oxidase. When activated these enzymes increase metabolism which drives energy production.
This increase in metabolism and energy production allows the body to use more calories from food that would be diverted to fat stores and inhibits the production of fatty acids. Some scientists also believe that it reduces appetite by balancing cortisol and DHEA levels reducing cravings resulting from blood sugar instability.
The rise in energy production also produces a thermogenic effect at the cellular level which increases the use of fat stores. This promotes weight loss and increases lean body mass over time.
7-Keto-DHEA can also help metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins by increasing cell production of ATP, the fundamental energy molecule for the body. This helps decrease fat storage and fights weight gain.
7-Keto-DHEA was first identified in the 1950s by Dr. Henry Lardy at the University of Wisconsin. He discovered that DHEA increases the activity of two thermogenic enzymes produced by the liver. After analyzing the derivatives he found that 7-keto-DHEA was almost 2.5 times stronger than just DHEA. He concluded that 7-keto-DHEA may be a preferred form of DHEA supplementation.
In a double-blind placebo controlled study, overweight adults were given 100 milligrams of 7-Keto-DHEA twice daily. The test group lost over six percent more weight than the placebo group and significantly more body fat.
Other studies have found that 7-Keto-DHEA increases the production of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), a chemical very similar to insulin. IGF-1 is one of the main anabolic hormones resulting from growth hormone. This hormone production is known to decrease body fat, increase muscle mass, increase bone density, improve energy, and increase immune function.
Advantages of Using 7-Keto-DHEA
Since 7-Keto-DHEA is similar to DHEA your body can more easily metabolize it limiting side effects. Side effects are common and should be expected anytime you introduce a synthetic substance into the body. These side effects can vary from person to person as can their severity. Your body was not naturally designed to process harsh chemicals and you could find that whatever benefits they might bring are offset by negative side effects.
In addition, anytime your body processes chemicals or synthetic substances it puts your kidney’s and liver at risk.
Manufacturer & Ingredients
7-Keto-DHEA generally comes in a capsule or soft gel form. Additives include rice flour, cellulose (capsule), magnesium citrate from vegetable sources, and silica. Generally speaking it is free of sugar, salt yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg, or artificial preservatives but always check the label.
With applications for everything from bodybuilding to treating depression, from weight loss to developing lean muscle mass, 7-Keto-DHEA has many applications. Although studies of this DHEA metabolite are ongoing, current results show it is effective and short on side effects. It could be a very effective addition to your fitness regimen. As with any supplement you should consult a health professional for use and dosage.