Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormonal agent produced by the body’s adrenal glands. The body uses DHEA to make androgens and estrogens, the male and female sex hormones. DHEA levels peak at about age 25, then go down steadily as you grow older. By the time individuals are 70 to 80 years old, their DHEA levels are only 10% to 20% those in young adults. [1]


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that is become male and female sex hormones in the body. Prescription DHEA is utilized to deal with thin vaginal tissue.

DHEA is made by the adrenal glands and by the liver. DHEA levels appear to go down as people age. DHEA levels seem to be lower in people with depression and after menopause.

People typically utilize prescription DHEA for vaginal tissue thinning. DHEA supplements are used for aging skin, anxiety, infertility, muscle strength, heart disease, erectile dysfunction (ed), and many other conditions, but there is no good clinical proof to support much of these other usages.

DHEA is prohibited by the national college athletic association (ncaa), the worldwide olympic committee, and the world anti-doping company (wada). Don’t puzzle DHEA with 7-alpha-hydroxy-DHEA, 7-beta-hydroxy-DHEA, and 7-keto-DHEA. These are all various forms of DHEA but are not the same as DHEA. [2]



DHEA is produced in the zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex under the control of adrenocorticotropic hormone (acth) and by the gonads under the control of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (gnrh). It is likewise produced in the brain. DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol by means of the enzymes cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (cyp11a1; p450scc) and 17α-hydroxylase/ 17,20-lyase (cyp17a1), with pregnenolone and 17α-hydroxypregnenolone as intermediates. It is obtained mostly from the adrenal cortex, with only about 10% being produced from the gonads. Approximately 50 to 70% of circulating DHEA originates from desulfation of DHEA-s in peripheral tissues. DHEA-s itself originates practically exclusively from the adrenal cortex, with 95 to 100% being produced from the adrenal cortex in women.

Increasing endogenous production

Routine exercise is understood to increase DHEA production in the body. Calorie limitation has actually also been shown to increase DHEA in primates. Some think that the boost in endogenous DHEA brought about by calorie constraint is partly responsible for the longer life expectancy understood to be related to calorie limitation.


In the blood circulation, DHEA is mainly bound to albumin, with a small amount bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (shbg). The small remainder of DHEA not related to albumin or shbg is unbound and free in the flow.

DHEA easily crosses the blood– brain barrier into the main nerve system.


DHEA is transformed into DHEA-s by sulfation at the c3β position through the sulfotransferase enzymes sult2a1 and to a lesser degree sult1e1. This takes place naturally in the adrenal cortex and throughout first-pass metabolism in the liver and intestinal tracts when exogenous DHEA is administered orally. Levels of DHEA-s in circulation are approximately 250 to 300 times those of DHEA. DHEA-s in turn can be converted back into DHEA in peripheral tissues through steroid sulfatase (sts).

The terminal half-life of DHEA is short at just 15 to thirty minutes. On the other hand, the terminal half-life of DHEA-s is far longer, at 7 to 10 hours. As DHEA-s can be transformed back into DHEA, it acts as a circulating reservoir for DHEA, consequently extending the duration of DHEA.

Metabolites of DHEA include DHEA-s, 7α-hydroxy-DHEA, 7β-hydroxy-DHEA, 7-keto-DHEA, 7α-hydroxyepiandrosterone, and 7β-hydroxyepiandrosterone, along with androstenediol and androstenedione.


During pregnancy, DHEA-s is metabolized into the sulfates of 16α-hydroxy-DHEA and 15α-hydroxy-DHEA in the fetal liver as intermediates in the production of the estrogens estriol and estetrol, respectively.


Prior to adolescence, DHEA and DHEA-s levels elevate upon distinction of the zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex. Peak levels of DHEA and DHEA-s are observed around age 20, which is followed by an age-dependent decline throughout life eventually back to prepubertal concentrations. Plasma levels of DHEA in adult men are 10 to 25 nm, in premenopausal women are 5 to 30 nm, and in postmenopausal females are 2 to 20 nm. Alternatively, DHEA-s levels are an order of magnitude higher at 1– 10 μm. Levels of DHEA and DHEA-s decline to the lower nanomolar and micromolar varieties in men and women aged 60 to 80 years.

DHEA levels are as follows:.

  • Adult males: 180– 1250 ng/dl
  • Adult females: 130– 980 ng/dl
  • Pregnant ladies: 135– 810 ng/dl
  • Prepubertal kids (<< 1 year): 26– 585 ng/dl
  • Prepubertal kids (1– 5 years): 9– 68 ng/dl
  • Prepubertal children (6– 12 years): 11– 186 ng/dl
  • Teen young boys (tanner ii– iii): 25– 300 ng/dl
  • Teen ladies (tanner ii– iii): 69– 605 ng/dl
  • Teen kids (tanner iv– v): 100– 400 ng/dl
  • Teen girls (tanner iv– v): 165– 690 ng/dl


As almost all DHEA is stemmed from the adrenal glands, blood measurements of DHEA-s/DHEA are useful to spot excess adrenal activity as seen in adrenal cancer or hyperplasia, consisting of specific types of hereditary adrenal hyperplasia. Females with polycystic ovary syndrome tend to have elevated levels of DHEA-s. [3]

Working system

Dehydroepiandrosterone (3β-hydroxy-5-androsten-17-one, DHEA) and its sulfated metabolite DHEA-s are the most plentiful steroids in circulation and decrease with age. Rodent studies have revealed that DHEA has a variety of results on liver, kidney, adipose, reproductive tissues, and central nervous system/neuronal function. The mechanisms by which DHEA and DHEA-s impart their physiological effects might be direct actions on plasma membrane receptors, including a DHEA-specific, g-protein-coupled receptor in endothelial cells; different neuroreceptors, e.g., aminobutyric-acid-type a, n-methyl-d-aspartate (nmda), and sigma-1 (s1r) receptors; by binding steroid receptors: androgen and estrogen receptors (ars, erα, or erβ); or by their metabolism to more potent sex steroid hormones, e.g., testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol, which bind with higher affinity to ars and ers. DHEA hinders voltage-gated t-type calcium channels. DHEA triggers peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (pparα) and car by a system apparently involving pp2a, a protein phosphatase dephosphorylating pparα and car to activate their transcriptional activity. We evaluate our current study revealing DHEA triggered gper1 (g-protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1) in hepg2 cells to stimulate mir-21 transcription. This chapter evaluates some of the physiological, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms of DHEA and DHEA-s activity. [4]


DHEA is converted into male and female sex hormonal agents, such as estrogen and testosterone.

Low levels of DHEA have actually been detected in some individuals with conditions like diabetes, breast cancer, heart problem, osteoporosis, and kidney disease. This has actually led to interest in using DHEA supplements as alternative treatments to treat or prevent those conditions.

DHEA is sometimes used as a supplement by individuals with the following health problems. However, much of these are not yet supported by research study:.

  • Alzheimer’s illness
  • Fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Impotence
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Menopausal signs
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s illness

DHEA is also said by some to slow the aging procedure, improve sports performance, enhance libido, promote weight-loss, and reinforce the body immune system.

In addition, DHEA supplements are regularly marketed as testosterone-boosting representatives and used for such purposes as increasing muscle mass and lowering fat mass.

Importantly, the fda has not authorized DHEA for the treatment of any condition.

Benefits of DHEA

Vaginal atrophy

After menopause, some women experience vaginal discomfort during sexual relations or severe dryness of the vaginal area. Intravaginal administration of DHEA administered caused improved vaginal health and lessened discomfort.

In 2016, the fda authorized intrarosa, a DHEA suppository, for menopausal ladies with vaginal atrophy and discomfort during sex.

DHEA has not been authorized by the fda for any medical usage other than vaginal atrophy. Researchers are investigating its capacity for a variety of other functions, but bigger and more effective medical trials are still needed for all of them. Speak with your physician prior to utilizing DHEA, and do not utilize DHEA in place of an authorized medication or therapy.


DHEA levels affect testosterone and estrogen levels due to the fact that it is a precursor to these hormones. Low DHEA is also connected with sexual dysfunction.

Women often take DHEA as a supplement during menopause to increase their level of estrogen.

Ovarian reserve is the capability for the ovaries to produce a healthy egg that is ready for fertilization. Females with poor ovarian reserve who also did not react well to ivf were given DHEA. These females had a higher rate of pregnancy and greater ovarian reserve than the group who did not take DHEA.

This research study only consisted of 30 volunteers. Larger and more robust clinical trials are required to determine the role of DHEA in fertility.

Brain function & & psychological health

DHEA stimulates neurons and hinders cortisol. In humans, salivary DHEA increases with cognitive tasks and working memory.

DHEA also takes part in the emotional policy of memory and the connections in between the amygdala and hippocampus (memory center).

In a rat model of alzheimer’s, DHEA supplements minimized signs and enhanced memory.

DHEA levels in the brain are also associated with visual processing, awareness, and attention.


DHEA has anti-cortisol homes and secures versus anxiety.

In a meta-analysis of 22 research studies, DHEA improved depressive signs in both old and young clients. Nevertheless, only 3 of these studies were concentrated on young clients. The authors of this analysis called making use of DHEA in depression “appealing,” but more robust medical trials are still needed.

Aging skin

Topical application of DHEA enhanced markers associated with skin aging in a pilot study of 40 postmenopausal females.

In another study of 280 older men and women, an oral DHEA supplement brought back blood levels of DHEA to levels expected in more youthful people and improved the look and structure of the skin.

The arise from these studies were appealing, however they need to be duplicated in bigger and more robust trials.

Heart health

Low levels of DHEA are connected with heart disease in guys.

DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol, and DHEA levels slowly decline as people age. One study discovered that DHEA relaxed the capillary (consequently reducing blood pressure) and that DHEA levels were inversely connected with heart disease; the authors recommended that it could be a valuable hormonal agent in the avoidance and treatment of cvd. Nevertheless, additional studies are needed.

Weight management

DHEA-s just had impacted the weight of overweight males, but not females. DHEA-s supplementation caused weight loss and decreased blood insulin levels.

Canines that took DHEA supplements lost more weight than ones that took a placebo. They also had lower cholesterol.

DHEA supplements resulted in huge weight reduction in rats and likewise increased their energy usage.

On the other hand, anorexic women treated with 100 mg of DHEA experienced greater improvements than those who received placebos. Their weight increased, as did their mood.

DHEA might play a role in weight management and balance, however a lot more research studies will be required to flesh out our understanding of that role.

Insulin resistance

Elderly human beings that underwent 6 months of DHEA replacement treatment had actually decreased insulin resistance and enhanced glucose tolerance.

In obese rats, DHEA administration combined with exercise helped lower insulin resistance and increased weight loss. Blood sugar and insulin level of sensitivity enhanced.

Much more medical studies will be needed to clarify the result of DHEA on insulin level of sensitivity.

Sleep quality

DHEA administration enhanced sleep quality in 10 boys. Rem sleep, which is related to memory formation, increased.

Since this is a single research study on only 10 people in one group, many more scientific research studies will be required to understand the role of DHEA in sleep.

Bone density

In a study of over a thousand south korean men, DHEA increased bone mass and reduced the signs of osteoporosis.

DHEA might increase bone (osteoblast) development and prevents bone (osteoblast) cell death, consequently increasing bone volume and bone mineral density. Some scientists have actually suggested utilizing DHEA in menopausal females with osteoporosis.


Low DHEA levels are associated with inflammatory states in human clients; however, it is currently unclear whether taking DHEA might minimize swelling.

Animal and cell research studies have been mainly promising, if limited. DHEA stops swelling and brought back regular colon length. It balanced the immune actions from bowel illness that cause damage.

DHEA minimized swelling due to hiv and prevented neuron degeneration.

In the feline design of hiv (called fiv), DHEA also prevented neuron loss.

DHEA tends to be minimized in people with asthma. According to some scientists, it might decrease swelling in the lungs and prevent the active reactivity of the respiratory tracts.

Nonetheless, the specific function of DHEA in inflammatory states is uncertain. Additional studies will be needed to clarify.

Muscle repair

In a cell study, DHEA protected against oxidative stress and avoided apoptosis (configured death) in muscle cells. It increased the results of antioxidants and stopped the procedures that cause atrophy.

This effect has yet to be examined in animals or human beings.

DHEA advantages for men

There are numerous claims out there about the possible health advantages of DHEA for males. Throughout the years, DHEA supplements have actually been promoted for their capability to enhance sexual function, improve energy, treat adrenal deficiency, and manage body fat and body composition.

However, research study on the benefits of DHEA has actually produced blended results, and big, randomized trials are required to confirm DHEA’s possible advantages for well-being. Before starting DHEA, discuss the potential benefits with your doctor.

DHEA for erectile dysfunction

Because DHEA develops into sex hormones, it appears just natural that males would rely on the extra form to much better their sex lives. Numerous little studies have actually suggested that DHEA can improve erectile dysfunction (ed), a condition where a man can’t get or preserve an erection adequate for satisfying sex.

One study in urology looked at men with ed and found that those who took DHEA daily for 6 months had actually an improved ability to achieve or preserve an erection; however, it did not impact their testosterone levels. Other studies have disappointed that DHEA assists ed, so more research is needed.

DHEA for muscle mass and muscle strength

According to the nih’s report on dietary supplements for exercise and athletic efficiency, DHEA has actually not shown any proven benefit for physical performance in regards to increases in muscle strength, aerobic capacity, lean body mass, or testosterone levels in males.

DHEA for weight problems

Some small research studies suggest that DHEA might help reduce abdominal fat and insulin resistance, aspects linked to type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, other studies do disappoint that DHEA works for weight reduction and treating obesity.

More research study is needed to identify an association in between DHEA and obesity or weight loss.

DHEA for immune function

Little evidence exists to discuss DHEA’s possible impact on the body immune system and immune function. For the few immune illness for which DHEA has actually been evaluated, like sjogren syndrome, the outcomes have not been guaranteeing. There is not enough information to know whether DHEA can assist with other immune conditions like ulcerative colitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or crohn’s illness. [7]

How to increase DHEA naturally in men

For individuals who would like to know how to increase DHEA naturally, food sources packed with this hormone do not exist. Wild yams feature a similar substance, which is suggested to create this hormonal agent in the lab.

The human body is more than efficient in making its own DHEA sources. But, there are some alternatives that can provide a modest impact at best. Working on the hormone imbalance can help with that.

Specialists suggest you:.

Get good quality sleep

Sleep deprivation can set your vitality and hormonal agents in a down spiral. It likewise increases the possibility of cardiovascular disease.

Handle tension

Stress is linked to a variety of health problems. It’s not surprising that it can affect estrogen, cortisol, and DHEA sulfate. The increase in cortisol results in elevated blood pressure and heart rate. While the excess of estrogen triggers unneeded havoc through the body.

Implement energetic physical activity

Activities such as football, swimming, running, or weightlifting help with DHEA production. They are likewise a terrific way to combat weight gain.

When working with dehydroepiandrosterone, supplementation is often the go-to choice. It can help with adrenal imbalance. It may also have some effect on obesity, depression, skin, and specific mental conditions. But, research is typically mixed and sometimes contradictory.

Make certain to speak with a physician about DHEA replacement. Ask them about oral DHEA and whether it is right for your estrogen.

Prior to you start working on your DHEA shortage, adrenal insufficiency, or any other concern you might have, the doctor will recommend you on the best strategy to take with serum DHEA. This is an useful pointer for both males and postmenopausal women. [8]

Side effects

Numerous sources advise against utilizing DHEA, especially without very first seeking medical guidance, because of the possible side effects.

DHEA impacts the endocrine system, which means it impacts hormone activity. Hormonal modifications can influence on a variety of body systems. As a result, a variety of negative effects are possible.

In addition, DHEA has actually not been evaluated or extensively used over a long period of time, so it is not clear what the long-lasting impacts might be.

Side effects appear to vary in different age and between diseases.

They include:.

  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Anxiety, agitation, anxiousness, restlessness, and aggressive behavior
  • Blood in the urine
  • Chest discomfort and unusual heart rhythm
  • Crawling feeling on the scalp
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye problems
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • State of mind and emotional modifications
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Mania in individuals with bipolar illness
  • Rashes
  • Weight gain
  • Low high blood pressure
  • Acne
  • Bleeding and blood-clotting problems

DHEA may affect males and females differently.

Negative effects in females

Females may experience the following:.

  • Smaller breast size
  • Deepened voice
  • Bigger genitals
  • Irregular or unusual menstruation
  • Increased discharge
  • Oily skin
  • Increased hair development

Side effects in men

Male might experience the following:.

  • Smaller testes
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Bigger or tender breasts

A new version of DHEA, called 7-keto-DHEA is a natural by-product of DHEA. Because 7-keto-DHEA is not converted to steroid hormones by the body, the threat of a few of the hormone adverse effects is reduced.

Although 7-keto-DHEA has been promoted as assisting in weight-loss, building muscle and stimulating the immune system, evidence supporting any of these claims is restricted. [9]


The following dosages have actually been studied in clinical research study:.

By mouth:

For aging skin: 50 mg of DHEA taken daily for 12 months has actually been utilized.

For anxiety: 30-450 mg of DHEA taken daily for 6 weeks has actually been used, either alone or together with antidepressant drugs. DHEA has also been used in increasing doses up to 500 mg daily for 8 weeks.

Applied to the skin:

For aging skin: a 1% DHEA cream has actually been applied to the face and hands two times daily for as much as 4 months.

Vaginal thinning: vaginal inserts including 0.25% to 1% DHEA have actually been utilized daily for 12 weeks. A specific vaginal insert including 0.5% DHEA (intrarosa, endoceutics inc.) Is a prescription medicine used for this condition. [10]


Possible interactions include:.

  • Antipsychotics. Use of DHEA with antipsychotics such as clozapine (clozaril, versacloz, others) may decrease the drug’s effectiveness.
  • Carbamazepine (tegretol, carbatrol, others). Use of DHEA with this drug used to deal with seizures, nerve discomfort and bipolar illness might minimize the drug’s effectiveness.
  • Estrogen. Don’t use DHEA with estrogen. Integrating DHEA and estrogen might trigger signs of excess estrogen, such as queasiness, headache and insomnia.
  • Lithium. Use of DHEA with lithium may minimize the drug’s effectiveness.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Use of DHEA with this type of antidepressant might trigger manic signs.
  • Testosterone. Do not use DHEA with testosterone. Integrating DHEA and testosterone might cause signs such as low sperm count and bigger breasts in men (gynecomastia) and the development of normally male qualities in females.
  • Triazolam (halcion). Utilizing DHEA with this sedative may increase the results of this drug, causing excessive sedation and impacting your breathing and heart rate.
  • Valproic acid. Use of DHEA with this medication used to deal with seizures and bipolar affective disorder might minimize the drug’s efficiency. [11]


  • Constantly contact your medical professional prior to you utilize a natural item. Some products may not blend well with drugs or other natural products.
  • This product may interfere with some lab tests. Make certain to talk with your medical professional about this and all drugs you are taking.
  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or strategy to become pregnant quickly. Usage birth control you can rely on while taking this item.
  • Do not utilize this item if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not use this product if you have illness that are sensitive to hormones. These are problems like breast cancer, prostate cancer, or endometriosis.
  • Take additional care if you are taking drugs that impact your hormonal agents. These are drugs like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, anastrozole (arimidex), exemestane (aromasin), fluvestrant (faslodex), letrozole (femara), or tamoxifen (nolvadex).
  • Take additional care if you are taking drugs to thin your blood. These are drugs like warfarin (coumadin), heparin, or enoxaparin (lovenox).
  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to liquify embolism. These are drugs like alteplase (activase), reteplase (retevase), or streptokinase (streptase).
  • Take additional care if you are taking drugs to aid with swelling or inflammation that can likewise increase your risk of bleeding. These are drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids), aspirin, ibuprofen (advil), or naproxen (naprosyn or aleve).
  • Take extra care if you are arranged to receive the vaccine for tuberculosis. This product can make the vaccine less efficient.

Take extra care and contact your doctor if you have:.

  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Issues with your uterus or ovaries
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol issues
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer, especially breast or prostate cancer
  • Low state of mind or other state of mind disorders
  • Mental health problems
  • Keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood glucose. [12]


DHEA is produced in enormous quantities relative to hormonal agents manufactured by other steroid-secreting organs, yet its precise function in regular homeostasis and pathophysiologic states remains a mystery. [13]


  1. Https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/dehydroepiandrosterone
  2. Https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-331/DHEA
  3. Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dehydroepiandrosterone#biochemistry
  4. Https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30029731/
  5. Https://www.verywellhealth.com/DHEA-what-should-you-know-about-it-89136#toc-uses
  6. Https://supplements.selfdecode.com/blog/DHEA-DHEA-s/
  7. Https://ro.co/health-guide/DHEA-for-men-benefits-side-effects/#DHEA-benefits-for-men
  8. Https://www.bensnaturalhealth.com/blog/sexual-health/how-to-increase-DHEA-naturally/#f-h2-2
  9. Https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308684#side-effects
  10. Https://www.rxlist.com/DHEA/supplements.htm#dosing
  11. Https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-DHEA/art-20364199
  12. Https://www.drugs.com/npc/dehydroepiandrosterone.html
  13. Https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate
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