Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormonal agent that is developed into male and female sex hormonal agents in the body. Prescription DHEA is utilized to treat 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 individuals with anxiety and after menopause.

People typically use prescription DHEA for vaginal tissue thinning. DHEA supplements are utilized for aging skin, depression, infertility, muscle strength, heart problem, impotence (ed), and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these other usages.

DHEA is prohibited by the national collegiate athletic association (ncaa), the international olympic committee, and the world anti-doping company (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 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 also produced in the brain. DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol through 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 just 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 originates practically exclusively from the adrenal cortex, with 95 to 100% being produced from the adrenal cortex in ladies.

Increasing endogenous production

Regular exercise is known to increase DHEA production in the body. Calorie constraint has actually likewise been shown to increase DHEA in primates. Some theorize that the boost in endogenous DHEA produced by calorie limitation is partially responsible for the longer life expectancy known to be associated with calorie restriction.


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

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


DHEA is transformed into DHEA-s by sulfation at the c3β position through the sulfotransferase enzymes sult2a1 and to a lower level sult1e1. This happens 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 by means of steroid sulfatase (sts).

The terminal half-life of DHEA is short at only 15 to 30 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 works as a distributing tank for DHEA, thereby extending the duration of DHEA.

Metabolites of DHEA consist of 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 the age of puberty, 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 guys are 10 to 25 nm, in premenopausal ladies are 5 to 30 nm, and in postmenopausal ladies are 2 to 20 nm. Conversely, DHEA-s levels are an order of magnitude higher at 1– 10 μm. Levels of DHEA and DHEA-s decrease 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 females: 130– 980 ng/dl
  • Pregnant ladies: 135– 810 ng/dl
  • Prepubertal kids (<< 1 year): 26-- 585 ng/dl
  • Prepubertal children (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 girls (tanner ii– iii): 69– 605 ng/dl
  • Adolescent young boys (tanner iv– v): 100– 400 ng/dl
  • Teen girls (tanner iv– v): 165– 690 ng/dl


As almost all DHEA is originated from the adrenal glands, blood measurements of DHEA-s/DHEA work to discover excess adrenal activity as seen in adrenal cancer or hyperplasia, consisting of specific types of genetic adrenal hyperplasia. Females with polycystic ovary syndrome tend to have raised 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 actually shown that DHEA has a wide variety of results on liver, kidney, adipose, reproductive tissues, and main nervous system/neuronal function. The mechanisms by which DHEA and DHEA-s impart their physiological impacts might be direct actions on plasma membrane receptors, including a DHEA-specific, g-protein-coupled receptor in endothelial cells; numerous 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 greater affinity to ars and ers. DHEA hinders voltage-gated t-type calcium channels. DHEA activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (pparα) and car by a system obviously involving pp2a, a protein phosphatase dephosphorylating pparα and cars and truck to trigger 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 reviews a few 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 actually been identified in some individuals with conditions like diabetes, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and kidney disease. This has led to interest in using DHEA supplements as alternative solutions to deal with or prevent those conditions.

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

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Impotence
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

DHEA is also stated by some to slow the aging process, enhance sports performance, improve libido, promote weight loss, and reinforce the immune system.

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

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

Advantages of DHEA

Vaginal atrophy

After menopause, some females experience vaginal discomfort during sexual intercourse or serious dryness of the vagina. Intravaginal administration of DHEA administered caused enhanced vaginal health and minimized pain.

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

DHEA has actually not been approved by the fda for any medical use aside from vaginal atrophy. Scientists are investigating its capacity for a number of other purposes, however larger and more powerful clinical trials are still required for all of them. Talk to your doctor prior to utilizing DHEA, and do not utilize DHEA in place of an authorized medication or therapy.


DHEA levels affect testosterone and estrogen levels because it is a precursor to these hormones. Low DHEA is likewise connected with sexual dysfunction.

Ladies sometimes take DHEA as a supplement during 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. Women with bad ovarian reserve who also did not react well to ivf were given DHEA. These women had a higher rate of pregnancy and greater ovarian reserve than the group who did not take DHEA.

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

Brain function & mental health

DHEA promotes neurons and inhibits cortisol. In humans, salivary DHEA increases with cognitive jobs and working memory.

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

In a rat design of alzheimer’s, DHEA supplements reduced symptoms 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 versus anxiety.

In a meta-analysis of 22 research studies, DHEA enhanced depressive signs in both old and young clients. Nevertheless, just 3 of these studies were concentrated on young patients. The authors of this analysis called the use of DHEA in depression “promising,” but more robust clinical trials are still needed.

Aging skin

Topical application of DHEA enhanced markers connected with skin aging in a pilot research 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 research studies were promising, however they should be duplicated in larger and more robust trials.

Heart health

Low levels of DHEA are related to heart problem in males.

DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol, and DHEA levels slowly decrease as individuals age. One research study found that DHEA relaxed the blood vessels (consequently reducing blood pressure) which DHEA levels were inversely associated with heart disease; the authors recommended that it could be a valuable hormone in the avoidance and treatment of cvd. However, additional research studies are required.

Weight management

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

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

DHEA supplementation led to huge weight loss in rats and likewise increased their energy usage.

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

DHEA might play a role in weight management and balance, but many more studies will be needed to expand our understanding of that role.

Insulin resistance

Elderly people that went through 6 months of DHEA replacement treatment had reduced insulin resistance and enhanced glucose tolerance.

In obese rats, DHEA administration integrated with workout helped lower insulin resistance and increased weight-loss. Blood glucose and insulin level of sensitivity improved.

Much more clinical studies will be required to clarify the impact of DHEA on insulin level of sensitivity.

Sleep quality

DHEA administration improved sleep quality in 10 young men. Rapid eye movement, which is related to memory formation, increased.

Due to the fact that this is a single study on only 10 individuals in one demographic, many more scientific research studies will be needed to comprehend the function of DHEA in sleep.

Bone density

In a research study of over a thousand south korean males, DHEA increased bone mass and minimized the signs of osteoporosis.

DHEA may increase bone (osteoblast) development and hinders bone (osteoblast) cell death, thereby increasing bone volume and bone mineral density. Some researchers have actually recommended utilizing DHEA in menopausal females with osteoporosis.


Low DHEA levels are associated with inflammatory states in human patients; nevertheless, it is presently uncertain whether taking DHEA might reduce inflammation.

Animal and cell studies have been mainly appealing, if limited. DHEA stops inflammation and restored regular colon length. It stabilized the immune responses from bowel disease that trigger damage.

DHEA lowered inflammation due to hiv and prevented neuron degeneration.

In the feline model of hiv (called fiv), DHEA likewise avoided neuron loss.

DHEA tends to be lowered in individuals with asthma. According to some researchers, it might lower swelling in the lungs and prevent the active reactivity of the airways.

However, the exact function of DHEA in inflammatory states is unclear. Extra studies will be required to clarify.

Muscle repair

In a cell study, DHEA protected versus oxidative tension and avoided apoptosis (programmed death) in muscle cells. It increased the impacts of antioxidants and stopped the processes that lead to atrophy.

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

DHEA benefits for men

There are many claims out there about the possible health benefits of DHEA for men. For many years, DHEA supplements have actually been promoted for their capability to improve sexual function, enhance energy, deal with adrenal insufficiency, and handle body fat and body composition.

However, research study on the benefits of DHEA has produced blended outcomes, and large, randomized trials are needed to verify DHEA’s potential benefits for wellness. Prior to starting DHEA, discuss the potential benefits with your doctor.

DHEA for impotence

Considering that DHEA develops into sex hormonal agents, it seems only natural that males would turn to the extra type to much better their sex lives. Several little research studies have actually recommended that DHEA can improve erectile dysfunction (ed), a condition where a man can’t get or preserve an erection adequate for satisfying sex.

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

DHEA for muscle mass and muscle strength

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

DHEA for obesity

Some small research studies suggest that DHEA may help in reducing stomach fat and insulin resistance, factors connected to type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, other studies do not show that DHEA works for weight-loss and dealing with obesity.

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

DHEA for immune function

Little proof exists to describe DHEA’s prospective result on the immune system and immune function. For the few immune illness for which DHEA has actually been evaluated, like sjogren syndrome, the results have not been assuring. There is not enough information to understand whether DHEA can help with other immune conditions like ulcerative colitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or crohn’s disease. [7]

How to increase DHEA naturally in guys

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

The human body is more than efficient in making its own DHEA sources. However, there are some choices that can offer a modest effect at finest. Working on the hormone imbalance can aid with that.

Professionals suggest you:.

Get good quality sleep

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

Manage stress

Stress is linked to a range of health problems. It’s no wonder that it can impact estrogen, cortisol, and DHEA sulfate. The boost in cortisol results in raised blood pressure and heart rate. While the excess of estrogen activates unnecessary havoc through the body.

Execute vigorous exercise

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

When working with dehydroepiandrosterone, supplementation is often the go-to choice. It can help with adrenal imbalance. It might likewise have some impact on weight problems, anxiety, skin, and certain psychological conditions. However, research study is often mixed and sometimes inconsistent.

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

Before you start dealing with your DHEA deficiency, adrenal insufficiency, or any other problem you may have, the physician will advise you on the best course of action to take with serum DHEA. This is a helpful suggestion for both males and postmenopausal females. [8]

Adverse effects

Numerous sources advise against using DHEA, specifically without first seeking medical guidance, because of the possible adverse effects.

DHEA impacts the endocrine system, which indicates it impacts hormone activity. Hormone changes can effect on a range of body systems. As a result, a wide variety of side effects are possible.

In addition, DHEA has actually not been tested or commonly utilized over an extended period of time, so it is not clear what the long-lasting effects might be.

Side effects appear to vary in various age groups and in between illness.

They consist of:.

  • Severe respiratory failure
  • Anxiety, agitation, anxiety, uneasyness, and aggressive habits
  • Blood in the urine
  • Chest discomfort and unusual heart rhythm
  • Crawling sensation on the scalp
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye problems
  • Fatigue
  • 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 issues

DHEA may affect men and women differently.

Adverse effects in ladies

Females might experience the following:.

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

Adverse effects in guys

Guy might experience the following:.

  • Smaller sized testes
  • Seriousness to urinate
  • Enlarged or tender breasts

A new variation of DHEA, referred to as 7-keto-DHEA is a natural by-product of DHEA. Since 7-keto-DHEA is not converted to steroid hormonal agents by the body, the danger of some of the hormone adverse effects is reduced.

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


The following doses have been studied in scientific research study:.

By mouth:

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

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

Applied to the skin:

For aging skin: a 1% DHEA cream has been applied to the face and hands twice 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 particular vaginal insert including 0.5% DHEA (intrarosa, endoceutics inc.) Is a prescription medication used for this condition. [10]


Possible interactions include:.

  • Antipsychotics. Use of DHEA with antipsychotics such as clozapine (clozaril, versacloz, others) may lower the drug’s effectiveness.
  • Carbamazepine (tegretol, carbatrol, others). Use of DHEA with this substance abuse to treat seizures, nerve discomfort and bipolar affective disorder might reduce the drug’s efficiency.
  • Estrogen. Don’t utilize DHEA with estrogen. Integrating DHEA and estrogen may trigger symptoms of excess estrogen, such as queasiness, headache and insomnia.
  • Lithium. Use of DHEA with lithium might lower the drug’s effectiveness.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Use of DHEA with this kind of antidepressant might cause manic signs.
  • Testosterone. Do not utilize DHEA with testosterone. Integrating DHEA and testosterone may cause signs such as low sperm count and bigger breasts in guys (gynecomastia) and the development of usually male characteristics in ladies.
  • Triazolam (halcion). Using DHEA with this sedative might increase the results of this drug, causing extreme sedation and impacting your breathing and heart rate.
  • Valproic acid. Use of DHEA with this medication used to treat seizures and bipolar illness may minimize the drug’s effectiveness. [11]

Safety measure

  • Constantly talk to your medical professional before you utilize a natural item. Some items may not mix well with drugs or other natural items.
  • This product may disrupt some laboratory tests. Make sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.
  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or strategy to conceive quickly. Use contraception you can rely on while taking this item.
  • Do not utilize this product if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not use this item if you have health problems that are sensitive to hormones. These are problems like breast cancer, prostate cancer, or endometriosis.
  • Take additional 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 additional care if you are taking drugs to dissolve blood clots. These are drugs like alteplase (activase), reteplase (retevase), or streptokinase (streptase).
  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to aid with swelling or inflammation that can also increase your danger 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 arranged to get the vaccine for tuberculosis. This item can make the vaccine less effective.

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

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


DHEA is produced in enormous quantities relative to hormones manufactured by other steroid-secreting organs, yet its precise role in normal homeostasis and pathophysiologic states stays 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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