For Enhanced Weight Management:
7-Keto DHEA

By Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw

As Durk lost fat, his metabolism counteracted his fat-loss program by reducing his basal metabolism. Durk developed cold hands, feet, and nose as his body tried to conserve energy. This is a normal and expected phenomenon during weight loss, which makes further loss more and more difficult. What to do?

Fortunately, there is a solution: a DHEA metabolite, 7-oxo-DHEA, or its acetylated form, 3-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA. There are many DHEA metabolites whose functions are relatively uninvestigated and unknown, perhaps owing to the difficulties in obtaining enforceable patents on natural substances, which are discoveries (hence unpatentable) rather than inventions. 7-oxo-DHEA is a DHEA metabolite that cannot be converted to either testosterone or estradiol, or to other androgens or estrogens. By the age of 40, humans produce only about 40% of the 7-oxo-DHEA that they produced as young adults, and this decline continues with age.

7-Oxo-DHEA is not an inert substance, however. It increases the levels of two enzymes that are involved in thermogenesis, enzymes that are also increased by thyroid hormone. These enzymes are glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and cytosolic malic enzyme. DHEA itself had no statistically significant effect on these two enzymes when fed to rats at 0.01% of their diet, but 7-oxo-DHEA fed at 0.01% caused an increase of 183% in glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and a 299% increase in cytosolic malic enzyme. (Lardy, 1995)

Natural substances are often acetylated to increase their bioavailability (and patentability). A double-blind placebo-controlled human trial has been performed using 3-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA to determine its usefulness for weight loss at a dose of 100 mg twice per day. Middle-aged men and women were encouraged to consume an 1800-calorie/day diet and perform 3 hours per week of supervised exercise. Over an 8-week period, those receiving the 3-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA lost statistically significantly more weight than the placebo group (–2.88 kg vs. –0.97 kg; P=0.01) and statistically significantly more body fat (–1.8% vs. –0.57%; P=0.02).

Most interestingly, the levels of the active form of thyroid hormone, T3, increased by 17.88 ng/dl in the supplemented group, compared to only 2.75 ng/dl in the placebo group (this difference was significant at the P=0.04 level). T3 is the thermogenically active form of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland makes T4 when stimulated by TSH from the pituitary gland, and some of the T4 is converted to T3. There were no statistically significant changes in either T4 or TSH, which suggests that conversion of T4 to T3 may have been enhanced. (Kalman, 2000)

Did it work for Durk? Taking 100 mg of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA twice per day promptly eliminated his cold hands, feet, and nose. When he stopped taking it, they quickly returned. This experiment was repeated several times. Although it was not double blind placebo-controlled, Durk is a poor placebo responder, and placebo responses rarely last for the several months that Durk has been using this supplement.

[To read the entire article, see “Supplements We Take with Our Meals to Enhance Health and Healthy Weight Management” in the May 2007 issue of Life Enhancement]


  1. Kalman, Colker, et al. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone in healthy overweight adults. Curr Ther Res. 61(7):435-42 (2000).
  2. Lardy, Partridge, et al. Ergosteroids: induction of thermogenic enzymes in liver of rats treated with steroids derived from dehydroepiandrosterone. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 92:6617-9 (1995).

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