Can 7-Keto DHEA Help Boost Metabolism?
Written by: Kelly Martin
Published on: August 12, 2021
Updated on: July 21, 2022
Reviewed by: Gerda Endemann, PhD
As supplement-curious people, our ears perk up when we hear about 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 studied for boosting metabolism and supporting a healthy body weight.
What is 7-Keto DHEA?
Before we get to that, let’s take a step back and talk about plain old dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that is abundant in the body. It’s largely produced by the adrenal glands. And while it doesn’t seem to have much of a function on its own, it is a vital precursor for other hormones, particularly sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. DHEA is also known for its thermogenic properties, which means it increases the production of heat in the body by promoting metabolism. While DHEA is available in supplement form, its use is typically discouraged by scientists and doctors: Many of its suggested benefits are unproven, and it has significant risks.
7-keto DHEA (often just called 7-keto) is a different molecule that is created when the hormone DHEA is irreversibly broken down into smaller parts. Unlike its parent compound DHEA, 7-keto DHEA is not converted into sex hormones. It can’t be turned back into DHEA, either. It does, however, maintain DHEA’s thermogenic properties. Preliminary studies suggest that when 7-keto is taken as an oral supplement, it can safely promote thermogenesis and may support the maintenance of a healthy body weight. And it has a low risk of adverse effects when taken orally.
Who should use
If you’ve noticed your metabolism changing, you might consider adding 7-keto to your existing wellness routine. Combined with a balanced diet and exercise, 7-keto DHEA has been shown to boost metabolism. (There is no magic pill that’s going to boost metabolism on its own.)
7-keto has a good safety record with most adults. Pregnant women shouldn’t take it, and neither should children.
Other information to consider: 7-keto DHEA may trigger positive results on tests for performance-enhancing drugs and should be avoided if you are subject to these kinds of tests. Applied topically, 7-keto may affect hormones in the body. (All the research we found on 7-keto skin gels was done on men. In men, we know that 7-keto gel can affect thyroid function, cholesterol, and sex hormone levels.)
How is it best taken?
If you’re interested in 7-keto DHEA for its potential to help maintain a healthy weight, know that it works best when it’s just one tool in a larger toolbox. In successful human studies on 7-keto, supplementation is generally paired with fitness and nutrition programs.
7-keto DHEA is typically available in oral capsules and topical gels. (As we mentioned above, the gels have a significant risk of changing hormone function, and you should talk to your doctor before buying or using one.) Look for an oral supplement and take 200 milligrams a day, which is the clinically studied dose that has been shown to be effective. Some people do experience nausea after swallowing 7-keto capsules; taking them with plenty of water and food can help.
Another option is our Metabolism-Boosting Superpowder.
Our New Superpowder, Starring
We made the Metabolism-Boosting Superpowder supplement for anyone looking for some additional support for their metabolism. It’s formulated with a clinically studied dose of 7-Keto DHEA that has been shown to boost metabolism and support healthy body weight when combined with a balanced diet and exercise. It also includes cinnamon extract, which can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels when used as part of your diet, and holy basil, an herb traditionally used in Ayurveda for its balancing effects.* It’s made with organic cocoa powder and organic monk fruit extract—for a chocolate flavor just the right amount of sweetness—and it’s vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, paleo-friendly, and keto-friendly, too. It mixes well with water or your favorite alt milk, but we especially love it in a smoothie.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.
7-Keto® is a Lonza trademark.