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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that is turned into male and female sex hormonal agents in the body. Prescription DHEA is used 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 grow older. DHEA levels appear to be lower in people with anxiety and after menopause.

People commonly utilize prescription DHEA for vaginal tissue thinning. DHEA supplements are utilized for aging skin, depression, infertility, muscle strength, cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction (ed), and many other conditions, but there is no good clinical proof to support a lot of these other uses.

DHEA is prohibited by the national college athletic association (ncaa), the worldwide olympic committee, and the world anti-doping firm (wada). Do not confuse DHEA with 7-alpha-hydroxy-DHEA, 7-beta-hydroxy-DHEA, and 7-keto-DHEA. These are all various forms of DHEA however are not the like 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 via 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 derived primarily from the adrenal cortex, with only about 10% being produced from the gonads. Around 50 to 70% of flowing DHEA originates from desulfation of DHEA-s in peripheral tissues. DHEA-s itself stems almost solely from the adrenal cortex, with 95 to 100% being produced from the adrenal cortex in females.

Increasing endogenous production

Regular workout is known to increase DHEA production in the body. Calorie restriction has likewise been revealed to increase DHEA in primates. Some theorize that the boost in endogenous DHEA produced by calorie restriction is partially responsible for the longer life span understood to be associated with calorie restriction.


In the circulation, DHEA is generally bound to albumin, with a small amount bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (shbg). The little rest of DHEA not associated with albumin or shbg is unbound and free in the flow.

DHEA quickly crosses the blood– brain barrier into the central nerve system.

Metabolic process

DHEA is transformed into DHEA-s by sulfation at the c3β position by means of the sulfotransferase enzymes sult2a1 and to a lower degree sult1e1. This takes place naturally in the adrenal cortex and during first-pass metabolic process in the liver and intestines when exogenous DHEA is administered orally. Levels of DHEA-s in circulation are roughly 250 to 300 times those of DHEA. DHEA-s in turn can be transformed back into DHEA in peripheral tissues via steroid sulfatase (sts).

The terminal half-life of DHEA is short at only 15 to thirty minutes. In contrast, 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 functions as a distributing reservoir for DHEA, therefore extending the period of DHEA.

Metabolites of DHEA include DHEA-s, 7α-hydroxy-DHEA, 7β-hydroxy-DHEA, 7-keto-DHEA, 7α-hydroxyepiandrosterone, and 7β-hydroxyepiandrosterone, in addition to 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 puberty, DHEA and DHEA-s levels raise upon differentiation 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 ultimately back to prepubertal concentrations. Plasma levels of DHEA in adult guys are 10 to 25 nm, in premenopausal ladies are 5 to 30 nm, and in postmenopausal ladies are 2 to 20 nm. On the other hand, 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 ranges in men and women aged 60 to 80 years.

DHEA levels are as follows:.

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


As almost all DHEA is originated from the adrenal glands, blood measurements of DHEA-s/DHEA are useful to identify excess adrenal activity as seen in adrenal cancer or hyperplasia, consisting of certain types of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Ladies 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 abundant steroids in circulation and decline with age. Rodent research studies have revealed that DHEA has a wide array of impacts on liver, kidney, adipose, reproductive tissues, and central nervous system/neuronal function. The mechanisms by which DHEA and DHEA-s impart their physiological impacts may be direct actions on plasma membrane receptors, consisting of 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 powerful sex steroid hormonal agents, e.g., testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol, which bind with higher affinity to ars and ers. DHEA inhibits voltage-gated t-type calcium channels. DHEA activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (pparα) and car by a mechanism obviously including pp2a, a protein phosphatase dephosphorylating pparα and cars and truck to activate their transcriptional activity. We evaluate our recent research study showing DHEA activated gper1 (g-protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1) in hepg2 cells to promote mir-21 transcription. This chapter examines some of the physiological, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms of DHEA and DHEA-s activity. [4]


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

Low levels of DHEA have been spotted in some people with conditions like diabetes, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and kidney illness. This has actually resulted in interest in using DHEA supplements as alternative treatments to treat or avoid those conditions.

DHEA is sometimes used as a supplement by individuals with the following health issue. Nevertheless, a lot of these are not yet supported by research:.

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Menopausal signs
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Several sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

DHEA is also stated by some to slow the aging process, enhance sports efficiency, enhance sex drive, promote weight loss, and reinforce the immune system.

In addition, DHEA supplements are frequently marketed as testosterone-boosting representatives and utilized for such functions as increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass.

Significantly, the fda has actually not approved DHEA for the treatment of any condition.

Advantages of DHEA

Vaginal atrophy

After menopause, some ladies experience vaginal pain during sexual intercourse or severe dryness of the vaginal area. Intravaginal administration of DHEA administered led to improved vaginal health and decreased pain.

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

DHEA has not been approved by the fda for any medical use other than vaginal atrophy. Researchers are examining its potential for a number of other functions, but larger and more effective scientific trials are still required for all of them. Talk with your medical professional before using DHEA, and do not use DHEA in place of an authorized medication or therapy.


DHEA levels impact testosterone and estrogen levels since it is a precursor to these hormonal agents. Low DHEA is likewise related to sexual dysfunction.

Women in some cases take DHEA as a supplement throughout menopause to increase their level of estrogen.

Ovarian reserve is the capacity 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 provided DHEA. These females had a higher rate of pregnancy and higher ovarian reserve than the group who did not take DHEA.

This study only included 30 volunteers. Larger and more robust scientific trials are needed to figure out the role of DHEA in fertility.

Brain function & psychological health

DHEA promotes nerve cells and hinders cortisol. In people, salivary DHEA increases with cognitive jobs and working memory.

DHEA also participates in the emotional guideline of memory and the connections between the amygdala and hippocampus (memory center).

In a rat design of alzheimer’s, DHEA supplements lowered signs and improved memory.

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


DHEA has anti-cortisol residential or commercial properties and secures against anxiety.

In a meta-analysis of 22 studies, DHEA improved depressive symptoms in both old and young patients. However, only 3 of these studies were focused on young patients. The authors of this analysis called making use of DHEA in depression “appealing,” but more robust clinical trials are still needed.

Aging skin

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

In another research study of 280 older men and women, an oral DHEA supplement restored blood levels of DHEA to levels expected in more youthful people and enhanced the appearance and structure of the skin.

The results from these research studies were appealing, however they should be repeated in larger and more robust trials.

Heart health

Low levels of DHEA are related to heart disease in guys.

DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol, and DHEA levels slowly decrease as individuals age. One research study discovered that DHEA unwinded the blood vessels (thus reducing blood pressure) and that DHEA levels were inversely connected with heart disease; the authors recommended that it could be an important hormone in the prevention and treatment of cvd. Nevertheless, extra studies are needed.

Weight management

DHEA-s only had affected the weight of obese males, however not ladies. DHEA-s supplementation resulted in weight reduction and minimized blood insulin levels.

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

DHEA supplementation resulted in big weight loss in rats and also increased their energy usage.

On the other hand, anorexic ladies treated with 100 mg of DHEA experienced greater improvements than those who got placebos. Their weight increased, as did their state of mind.

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

Insulin resistance

Elderly humans that went through six months of DHEA replacement treatment had reduced insulin resistance and enhanced glucose tolerance.

In obese rats, DHEA administration combined with workout assisted lower insulin resistance and increased weight loss. Blood glucose and insulin sensitivity enhanced.

A lot more scientific research studies will be needed to clarify the impact of DHEA on insulin sensitivity.

Sleep quality

DHEA administration improved sleep quality in 10 boys. Rem sleep, which is associated with memory formation, increased.

Due to the fact that this is a single research study on only 10 people in one group, much more clinical research studies will be needed 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 decreased the signs of osteoporosis.

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


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

Animal and cell research studies have been mostly appealing, if restricted. DHEA stops swelling and restored typical colon length. It stabilized the immune reactions from bowel disease that trigger damage.

DHEA decreased swelling due to hiv and avoided neuron degeneration.

In the feline design of hiv (called fiv), DHEA also avoided nerve cell loss.

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

Nonetheless, the exact role of DHEA in inflammatory states is uncertain. Additional research studies will be needed to clarify.

Muscle repair

In a cell research study, DHEA secured versus oxidative tension and avoided apoptosis (configured death) in muscle cells. It increased the results of anti-oxidants and stopped the procedures that lead to atrophy.

This result has yet to be investigated in animals or humans.

DHEA advantages for men

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

However, research study on the advantages of DHEA has produced combined outcomes, and big, randomized trials are required to validate DHEA’s possible advantages for wellness. Prior to starting DHEA, discuss the prospective benefits with your doctor.

DHEA for erectile dysfunction

Since DHEA becomes sex hormones, it seems only natural that males would rely on the supplemental kind to better their sex lives. Several small research studies have recommended that DHEA can enhance erectile dysfunction (ed), a condition where a guy can’t get or keep an erection enough for pleasing sex.

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

DHEA for muscle mass and muscle strength

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

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. However, other studies do not show that DHEA works for weight reduction and treating weight problems.

More research study is required to determine an association in between DHEA and obesity or weight-loss.

DHEA for immune function

Little proof exists to explain DHEA’s potential result on the body immune system and immune function. For the few immune illness for which DHEA has been checked, like sjogren syndrome, the outcomes have actually not been assuring. There is inadequate 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 males

For people who wish to know how to increase DHEA naturally, food sources loaded with this hormonal agent do not exist. Wild yams feature a similar compound, which is suggested to produce this hormone in the lab.

The human body is more than capable of manufacturing its own DHEA sources. However, there are some choices that can offer a modest impact at finest. Working on the hormone imbalance can aid with that.

Professionals recommend you:.

Get good quality sleep

Sleep deprivation can set your vitality and hormones in a downward spiral. It likewise increases the possibility of heart problem.

Manage stress

Tension is connected to a variety of health issues. It’s no wonder that it can impact estrogen, cortisol, and DHEA sulfate. The increase in cortisol results in elevated high blood pressure and heart rate. While the excess of estrogen sets off unnecessary havoc through the body.

Implement energetic exercise

Activities such as football, swimming, running, or weight training help with DHEA production. They are also an excellent method to fight weight gain.

When working with dehydroepiandrosterone, supplements is typically the go-to choice. It can aid with adrenal imbalance. It may also have some impact on obesity, anxiety, skin, and specific mental conditions. However, research study is typically mixed and in some cases contradictory.

Be sure to talk with a medical professional about DHEA replacement. Ask about oral DHEA and whether it is right for your estrogen.

Prior to you begin working on your DHEA shortage, adrenal deficiency, or any other concern you might have, the physician will encourage you on the very best strategy to take with serum DHEA. This is a beneficial suggestion for both males and postmenopausal women. [8]

Negative effects

Many sources advise against using DHEA, specifically without first looking for medical recommendations, because of the possible side effects.

DHEA affects the endocrine system, which implies it impacts hormonal activity. Hormonal modifications can influence on a variety of body systems. As a result, a wide range of negative effects are possible.

In addition, DHEA has actually not been tested or extensively used over an extended period of time, so it is unclear what the long-term impacts might be.

Negative effects appear to differ in various age groups and between diseases.

They include:.

  • Acute breathing failure
  • Stress and anxiety, agitation, uneasiness, restlessness, and aggressive habits
  • Blood in the urine
  • Chest discomfort and abnormal heart rhythm
  • Crawling experience on the scalp
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye problems
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Mood and emotional modifications
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Mania in people with bipolar affective disorder
  • Rashes
  • Weight gain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Acne
  • Bleeding and blood-clotting issues

DHEA may affect males and females in a different way.

Negative effects in ladies

Women might experience the following:.

  • Smaller sized breast size
  • Deepened voice
  • Larger genital areas
  • Irregular or irregular menstruation
  • Increased discharge
  • Oily skin
  • Increased hair development

Side effects in males

Guy might experience the following:.

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

A brand-new version of DHEA, referred to as 7-keto-DHEA is a natural byproduct of DHEA. Because 7-keto-DHEA is not converted to steroid hormonal agents by the body, the danger of a few of the hormone side effects is minimized.

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


The following doses have been studied in clinical research:.

By mouth:

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

For depression: 30-450 mg of DHEA taken daily for 6 weeks has been utilized, either alone or together with antidepressant drugs. DHEA has likewise 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 consisting of 0.25% to 1% DHEA have been utilized once daily for 12 weeks. A specific vaginal insert including 0.5% DHEA (intrarosa, endoceutics inc.) Is a prescription medication utilized for this condition. [10]


Possible interactions include:.

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


  • Constantly talk to your doctor prior to you use a natural item. Some items may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.
  • This item may disrupt some lab tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.
  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Usage birth control you can rely on while taking this item.
  • Do not utilize this item if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not utilize this item if you have health issue that are sensitive to hormones. These are problems like breast cancer, prostate cancer, or endometriosis.
  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs that affect your hormones. 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 dissolve embolism. These are drugs like alteplase (activase), reteplase (retevase), or streptokinase (streptase).
  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to help with swelling or inflammation that can also increase your risk of bleeding. These are drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids), aspirin, ibuprofen (advil), or naproxen (naprosyn or aleve).
  • Take additional care if you are set up to receive the vaccine for tuberculosis. This item can make the vaccine less efficient.

Take additional care and check with your doctor if you have:.

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


DHEA is produced in enormous amounts relative to hormones synthesized by other steroid-secreting organs, yet its exact function in normal homeostasis and pathophysiologic states remains a secret. [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
  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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