7-Keto DHEA is a hormone metabolite, produced in the brain, kidneys, and reproductive organs, that is commonly used to boost weight-loss and may provide some cognitive benefits. 7-Keto DHEA is the brand name commonly used for the substance called 7-oxodehrdoepiandorosterone. Although similar to its cousin, DHEA, 7-keto acts differently in the body.
It is a metabolite of the parent hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Since 7-Keto DHEA is a metabolite, once ingested it will not likely convert into the steroid hormones androgen or estrogen, but further research is required (1, 2).
7-Keto is used for cell metabolism and by the brain. And while there is only some overlap between the effects of DHEA and 7-Keto, other 7-keto effects are very different. Research is still very limited, but points to numerous possible health benefits of 7-keto DHEA as a nootropic, for PTSD and depression, as well as for lifespan extension.
17-Keto DHEA can help with weight loss. 7-Keto DHEA has been shown to help study participants lose more body fat (3).
In one study 33, healthy but overweight adults (12 men and 21 women 40-69 years old) received 200mg of 7-Keto DHEA supplements every day for 8 weeks. 7-Keto along with diet and exercise reduced weight more than just diet and exercise with no adverse effects (4).
27-Keto DHEA can suppress appetite. A 1977 study on mice showed that 7-Keto DHEA suppressed appetite, which is crucial for weight loss (5).
37-Keto DHEA can increase your metabolism. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry showed that 7 days of 7-Keto was used both alone and in combination with other supplements (green tea extract, vitamin C, chromium, and vitamin D3) increased metabolic rate (7).
47-Keto DHEA can help with stress. Cortisol levels will increase after a short period of stress, but may rapidly fall if the stress is prolonged. In one study, 7-Keto DHEA (25 mg single doses) gel was applied to the skin of 10 healthy men. After five days the cortisol levels decreased by 7.4% (8).
57-Keto DHEA helps protect the heart. A 2001 study showed that 7-Keto DHEA increased HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol), and apolipoprotein A-I, overall reducing the risk for clogged arteries and heart disease, especially in older men (9).
67-Keto DHEA can help boost reproductive health in men. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology showed that 7-Keto DHEA increased the production of sperm in the cells that make sperm (Sertoli cells) (10).
77 keto DHEA helps with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Several case reports indicate that 7-Keto DHEA supplementation was helpful in women experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) who were previously treatment resistant (11).
Note that these are case reports and no controlled trials have been conducted to determine the efficacy of 7-Keto DHEA for PTSD treatment.
87 keto DHEA can boost brain function. 7-Keto DHEA may aid in reversing or slowing some cognitive impairments (12).
Mice were injected with a cognitive neurotoxin, and those who were also given 7-Keto DHEA were better able to retain their memory (13).
Similarly, older mice who were given 7-Keto DHEA performed better in memory-oriented tasks than their same-aged control counterparts (14).
No human trials have been conducted for the efficacy of 7-Keto DHEA on memory or cognitive abilities.
97-Keto DHEA can bulletproof the immune system. In two studies, adding 7-Keto DHEA during an immune response caused a quick replication of monocytes (the pathogen-engulfing white blood cells). This indicates that 7-Keto could boost the immune response (15, 16).
Another 2016 study found that 7-Keto activates a receptor on T-lymphocytes (17).
T-lymphocytes are white blood cells that develop in the thymus gland. T-lymphocytes alter their responses to specific pathogens making them essential for fighting pathogens. The activation of the receptor helps replication that is essential for the immune response.
107-Keto DHEA can help ward off depression. A 2003 study demonstrated that 7-Keto reduced depressive symptoms (18).
117-Keto DHEA can improve your thyroid. A 2000 study showed that 200mg of 7-Keto DHEA supplementation increased serum T3 levels (19).
In the double-blind, placebo-controlled protocol, 30 adults were randomly divided into 2 groups of 15. Group 1 received 7-DHEA 100 mg twice daily, and group 2 received placebo for 8 weeks.
All subjects participated in an exercise training program 3 times per week. Each exercise session consisted of 60 minutes of cross-training under the supervision of an exercise physiologist. In addition, each subject was instructed to follow a diet of approximately 1800 calories per day by a registered dietitian.
In the end, group 1 lost almost three times the weight compared to group 2 and had much more T3 hormone in their system.
There were no significant changes in levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) or thyroxine (T4) in either group. In addition, no significant changes were observed in vital signs, blood sugar, testosterone and estradiol levels, liver and renal function, or overall caloric intake during the study. No subjective adverse effects were reported throughout the study.
127-Keto DHEA may help sober you up. In a 2012 study, using rats, 7-Keto DHEA was shown to decrease the rats’ responsiveness to alcohol consumption (20).
In this same study, the 7-Keto DHEA rats managed to stabilize their blood ethanol concentration despite increased intake of ethanol (21).
Again, it should be noted that this study was done with rats and is only preliminary, but provides an intriguing area for future research on alcohol use in humans.
137-Keto DHEA may affect mood during the menstrual cycle. It has been observed in women that the concentration of 7-Keto DHEA metabolite is lower during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (22).
The luteal phase is thought to be when the majority of mood changes occur. There are no studies determining whether 7-Keto DHEA supplementation will have an effect on mood during the menstrual cycle; however, the current research suggests that 7-Keto DHEA may play a role in mood swings during menstruation (23).
27-Keto DHEA is banned by WADA. 7-Keto DHEA supplements are banned in competitions governed by WADA because they been suggested to trigger positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs (27).
37-Keto DHEA can affect hormones. Several studies have shown that when applied to the skin, 7-Keto can affect sex hormones, cholesterol and thyroid function in men. Oral dosage does not seem to affect hormones. It remains unknown how 7-Keto gel affects women (28, 29, 30).
47-Keto DHEA gel can decrease luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone in men. Application of 25mg 7-Keto via cream for 8 days in healthy males has been associated with a reduction in luteinizing hormone (LH) by 46% and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) by 25% when measured the day after the cream was starting to be applied (31).
57-Keto DHEA may not work well in humans. The biological functions, role in disease, and mechanism of action of 7-Keto DHEA are still under investigation. The clinical trials on 7-Keto DHEA are very limited and have not studied its long-term use. Studies done on rats and mice may not continue to hold true in humans (32).
67-Keto may have more psychological effects than DHEA, without influencing sex hormones. DHEA, on the other hand, achieves many effects by raising hormone levels because it can be converted to sex hormones — androgens.
Most studies use a dosage of up to 100mg taken twice per day. Despite this, very limited studies using higher or lower doses have been conducted, and thus the optimal dosage is still uncertain. 200 mg per day was safe in healthy males for 4 weeks (32).
It is also important to note that 7-Keto DHEA can be used as a topical cream. Used this way, the recommended dosage is 25mg. (33).
Does 7-Keto DHEA increase estrogen? Taking 7-Keto DHEA by mouth or applying it to the skin does not increase the level of steroid hormones in the blood and will not affect estrogen levels.
What’s the difference between 7-Keto DHEA and DHEA? DHEA is a hormone made by the body, which can be transformed into 7-Keto. Although 7-Keto DHEA and DHEA are similar, they can have different effects. 7-Keto may have more psychological effects than DHEA, without influencing sex hormones.
Does 7-Keto DHEA increase blood pressure? No, 7-Keto DHEA has not been shown in studies to increase blood pressure.
Does 7-Keto DHEA increase testosterone? No, unlike DHEA, 7-Keto DHEA is not converted to steroid hormones such as androgen and estrogen.
Does 7-Keto DHEA cause hair loss? Hormone imbalance is one of the reasons for hair loss in men. 7-Keto is not directly converted by the body into steroidal hormones, such as testosterone or estrogen, which could affect hair loss. There are no studies to verify if this supplement causes hair loss.
If you would like to take 7-Keto and worry less about hair loss, try 200 mg doses per day for up to 4 weeks. Dr. Oz advises taking 100 mg in the morning and another 100 mg before going to bed in order to spread the dosage throughout the day.
Is 7-keto DHEA safe for a ketogenic diet? Yes, 7-Keto DHEA is 100% safe to use on a ketogenic diet as it does not affect blood sugar levels nor add calories.
Does 7-Keto DHEA cause adrenal fatigue? No, in fact, it has been shown to help adrenal sufferers recover.
Is 7-Keto DHEA better in pill or cream form? Neither is better or worse. Just make sure to use the correct dosages as they vary considerably (25mg vs. 200mg).
Can DHEA cause cancer? DHEA is a hormone. Use of this supplement might increase levels of androgen and have a steroid effect. DHEA also might increase the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, including prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. If you have any form of cancer or are at risk of cancer, don’t use DHEA.
Is 7-Keto DHEA legal? Yes, it is currently a legal dietary supplement.
Does 7-Keto DHEA put you into ketosis? No, 7-Keto DHEA does not put you into ketosis.
What is the best time to take 7-Keto DHEA? The best time to take 7-Keto DHEA would be the first thing in the morning. The morning is the time when most hormone production in the body is at its peak. It also helps to boost your metabolism first thing in the morning to aid in fat loss throughout the day.
Is 7-Keto DHEA a stimulant? No, 7-Keto DHEA is a non-stimulant, thermogenic agent that is clinically proven to increase metabolism and promote healthy weight loss.
Should you take 7-Keto DHEA with or without food? You can take 7-Keto with or without food. The best results come when you take 2 doses, about 8 hours apart. The full dose is 3 capsules twice a day. But you might have to work up to that amount if you are sensitive to caffeine.
Can 7-Keto DHEA fight off colds? Yes, 7-Keto DHEA can help fight off colds and diseases. The Minnesota Applied Research Center performed a four-week human clinical trial to determine the effects of 7-keto on elderly men and women. Using 100mg two times a day, the subjects experienced improved immune function, as well as an increase in immune helper cells, increased white blood cells and decreased blood pressure.
Can 7- Keto DHEA fight off aging? Yes, 7-Keto DHEA can help fight off aging. As a natural metabolite of the hormone DHEA, 7-keto naturally declines with age in similar proportion to its parent hormone. 7-keto levels rise until age 20. By 30, blood concentrations begin to decline, reducing by up to 50 percent by age 50. Decreases in DHEA and 7-keto can lead to the dominance of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to aging and disease.
7-Keto DHEA is a naturally occurring metabolite of the parent hormone DHEA. DHEA is the most abundant of the adrenal steroid hormones and serves as a precursor for sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. Despite its hormonal linkages, the metabolite has not been shown to significantly alter circulating hormone levels.
When used as a supplement 7-Keto DHEA appears to be effective at increasing metabolic rate and burning body fat while following a calorie restricted diet and exercise program. Although its main use is for weight loss, there may also be some cognitive benefits of 7-Keto DHEA supplementation.