As people interested in supplements, our ears prick up when we hear of a vitamin, mineral, herb, or other compound with promising clinical research. The latest on our radar, a molecule called 7-keto DHEA, which has been researched to help boost metabolism and help maintain healthy body weights.
What is 7-Keto-DHEA?
Before we get to that, let’s take a step back and talk about simple old dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that is abundant in the body. It is mainly produced by the adrenal glands. And while it doesn’t seem to have much of a function on its own, it’s an important precursor to other hormones, especially sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. DHEA is also known for its thermogenic properties, meaning it increases heat production in the body by boosting metabolism. Although DHEA is available in supplement form, scientists and doctors generally discourage its use: many of the proposed benefits are unproven and carry significant risks.
7-Keto DHEA (often just called 7-Keto) is another molecule that is created when the hormone DHEA is irreversibly broken down into smaller pieces. In contrast to its parent compound DHEA, 7-Keto DHEA is not converted into sex hormones. It cannot be converted back into DHEA either. However, it retains the thermogenic properties of DHEA. Preliminary studies suggest that 7-Keto, when taken as an oral supplement, can safely promote thermogenesis and help maintain a healthy weight. And it has a low risk of side effects when taken orally.
Who should use
If you’ve noticed that your metabolism is changing, consider adding 7-Keto to your existing wellness routine. In combination with a balanced diet and exercise, 7-Keto DHEA has been shown to promote metabolism. (There is no such thing as a magic pill that will boost your metabolism on its own.)
7-Keto has a good safety record in most adults. Pregnant women shouldn’t take it, and neither should children.
Other Information to Consider: 7-Keto-DHEA can produce positive results when tested for performance-enhancing drugs and should be avoided if undergoing such tests. Applied topically, 7-keto can affect hormones in the body. (All of the research that we have found on 7-Keto skin gels has been carried out on men. In men, we know that 7-Keto gel can affect thyroid function, cholesterol and sex hormone levels.)
What is the best way to take it?
If you’re interested in 7-Keto DHEA for its potential for maintaining a healthy weight, you know it works best when it’s just a tool in a bigger tool box. In successful human studies of 7-keto, supplementation is generally paired with fitness and nutrition programs.
7-Keto DHEA is typically available in oral capsules and topical gels. (As mentioned above, the gels have a significant risk of altering hormonal function and you should speak to your doctor before buying or using one.) Look for an oral supplement and take 200 milligrams a day, clinically studied dose which has been shown to be safe and effective. Some people experience nausea after swallowing 7-keto capsules; Taking it with plenty of food and water can help.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied on for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article contains the advice of a doctor or alternative practitioner, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of goop.