7-Keto (3-Acetyl-7-Oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone) is a naturally occurring metabolite of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). In the body, 7-Keto is not converted into testosterone or estrogen to any appreciable degree. 7-Keto, as a downstream metabolite of DHEA, is produced in the body during the degradation of DHEA. 7 Keto can be measured in the blood as a ketosteroid.
- Improves immune system function
- Aids in weight reduction / Thermogenic
- Supports thyroid function
- Non-androgenic or estrogenic
- Enhances memory
Because 7-Keto is a downstream metabolite of DHEA it is promoted as being a “non-androgenic” or “estrogenic” version of DHEA. It is also promoted as a weight loss aid for its supposed thermogenic effect. Animal studies demonstrate that it can enhance thermogenesis, which may translate into weight loss. Because DHEA levels decline as we age and ketosteroids are made from DHEA, all conditions which may benefit from DHEA supplementation, may also benefit from 7-Keto.
7-Keto supplements, at a dose of 200mg/day in adults ~25 to 55 years of age has been shown in one poorly designed trial to enhance weight loss, aid in the reduction of body fat and effect thyroid hormone levels. This two-month study also demonstrated that 7-Keto does not significantly effect blood sugar, testosterone, estradiol, liver or kidney function, but the “significant” weight loss benefits were more do to an unbalanced study designthan to any real benefit of the supplement (the group receiving the supplement were significantly heavier/fatter at the start of the study compared to the control group). Another study showed that 200mg/day of 7-Keto for 8 weeks does not effect dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estradiol, cortisol and insulin levels in men 18-49 years of age. Several animal studies have demonstrated that 7-Keto, like other anabolic hormones, can induce thermogenic enzymes. One trial with 7-Keto demonstrated that it could bolster interleukin 2 production in lymphocytes, but this study was conducted in cells (in vitro) and not in humans. 7-Keto has also been shown in mice to improve memory (water maze procedure).
7-Keto appears to be safe in doses of 200mg per day. The two human trials to date have not shown any androgenic or estrogenic effects of high dose supplementation. Many of the claims for 7-Keto are based on petri dish studies, animal research and cell line studies, thus the data and findings cannot be carried over to the human model.
The scientific evidence for using 7-Keto as either an anabolic agent or for promoting weight loss is quite weak and more research is needed to substantiate if any of the popular claims made for this supplement are indeed justified.
The few human trials have used a 200mg/day dose – but commercial supplements typically provide about 50mg/day.