The ovary’s primary androgen is testosterone. Testosterone is produced by specialized cells in the follicles which surround the eggs, the theca cells. In women with PCOS, the theca cells are overactive and proliferate excessively, producing too much testosterone. As the follicles are often poorly developed in women with PCOS, they lack enough of another important component, the granulosa cells. The granulosa cells normally take testosterone and convert it into estrogen, in a process known as aromatization. In women with PCOS, the aromatzation process is not effective due to the poor development of the granulosa cells, and as such, there is a buildup of testosterone which was produced by the ovary.
Because there is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of DHEA products (they are not usually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration), it’s important to read labels, do your research when buying supplements and follow directions. ( 11 ) The University of Maryland Medical Center advises that you try to purchase DHEA directly from a doctor in order to ensure it’s authentic and not contaminated. DHEA comes in capsule, tablet, chewing gum, sublingual (under the tongue) drop and topical (on the skin) cream form, but the type you’ll want to use depends on what you’re using it for. ( 12 )
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