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What is 7-KETO?

What does 7-keto do?

7-KETO (3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone) is a naturally occurring metabolite (breakdown product) of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).1 DHEA is the most abundant of the adrenal steroid hormones and serves as a precursor for sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.

7-KETO was developed by researchers who were looking for biologically active metabolites of DHEA that could not be converted to the potentially cancer-causing sex steroids (e.g., estrogen and testosterone).

Tests in animals and test tubes were performed in the areas of immune modulation, memory enhancement, and thermogenesis (the process the body uses to convert stored calories into energy). In all cases, the effects of 7-KETO were stronger than those produced by DHEA.2 3 4 5

The capacity of 7-KETO to promote weight loss in overweight people been investigated in a double-blind study.6 Participants in the study were advised to exercise three times per week for 45 minutes and to eat an 1,800-calorie per day diet. Each person was given either a placebo or 100 mg of 7-KETO twice daily. After eight weeks, those receiving 7-KETO had lost an average of 6.34 pounds, compared with 2.13 pounds in the placebo group (a statistically significant difference). In addition, the percentage of body fat decreased by 1.8% in the 7-KETO group, compared with only 0.57% in the placebo group. The increased weight loss in the 7-KETO group was associated with a significant increase in levels of T3 (a thyroid hormone that plays a major role in determining a person’s metabolic rate), although the levels of T3 did not exceed the normal range.

Where is 7-keto found?

7-KETO is available as a dietary supplement.

7-KETO has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Rating Health Concerns

Weight loss Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

Who is likely to be deficient of 7-keto?

Since the level of 7-KETO is directly related to the level of DHEA in the body,7 people with lower DHEA levels likely have low 7-KETO levels as well. Low DHEA levels are primarily associated with aging.

How much 7-keto is usually taken?

The manufacturer of 7-KETO recommends 100 mg twice daily for weight loss.

Are there any side effects or interactions with 7-keto?

A safety study in humans has shown that 7-KETO did not raise estrogen or testosterone levels or produce any other negative effects at levels up to 200 mg per day for eight weeks.8 Short-term animal studies also revealed no adverse effects with large amounts of 7-KETO.9 10 11 However, the long-term safety of 7-KETO for humans has not been demonstrated, and, because it is chemically related to steroid hormones, the potential for adverse effects must be considered. In addition, the increase in T3 levels resulting from taking 7-KETO could, in theory, produce adverse effects on the heart or promote bone loss. For these reasons, people wishing to take 7-KETO, particularly those who have a thyroid disorder or are taking thyroid hormone, should consult a physician.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with 7-KETO.


1. Lardy H, Kneer N, Wei Y, et al. Ergosteroids. II: Biologically active metabolites and synthetic derivatives of dehydroepiandrosterone. Steroids 1998;63:158-65.

2. Shi J, Lardy H. 3β-Hydroxyandrost-5-ene-7,17-dione (7-keto-DHEA) improves memory in mice. FASEB J 1998;12:A4427.

3. Reich IL, Lardy H, Wei Y, et al. Ergosteroids III. Syntheses and biological activity of seco-steroids related to dehydroepiandrosterone. Steroids 1998;63:542-53.

4. Lardy H, Kneer N, Wei Y, et al. Ergosteroids. II: Biologically active metabolites and synthetic derivatives of dehydroepiandrosterone. Steroids 1998;63:158-65.

5. Bobyleva V, Bellei M, Kneer N, Lardy H. The effects of the ergosteroid 7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone on mitochondrial membrane potential: possible relationship to thermogenesis. Arch Biochem Biophys 1997;341:122-8.

6. Colker CM, Torina GC, Swain MA, Kalman DS. Double-blind study evaluating the effects of exercise plus 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone on body composition and the endocrine system in overweight adults. J Exercise Physiology Online 1999;2(4).

7. Lardy H, Kneer N, Wei Y, et al. Ergosteroids. II: Biologically active metabolites and synthetic derivatives of dehydroepiandrosterone. Steroids 1998;63:158–65.

8. Davidson MH, Weeks CE, Lardy H, et al. Safety and endocrine effects of 3-acetyl-7-oxo DHEA (7-keto DHEA). FASEB J 1998;12:A4429.

9. Lardy H, Henwood SM, Weeks CE. An acute oral gavage study of 3beta-acetoxyandrost- 5-ene-7,17-dione (7-oxo-DHEA-acetate) in rats. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1999;254:120–3.

10. Henwood SM, Weeks CE, Lardy H. An escalating dose oral gavage study of 3beta-acetoxyandrost-5-ene-7, 17-dione (7-oxo-DHEA-acetate) in rhesus monkeys. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1999;254:124–6.

11. Weeks C, Lardy H, Henwood S. Preclinical toxicology evaluation of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone (7-keto DHEA). FASEB J 1998;12:A4428.


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