DHEA stands for DE-Hydro-Epi-Androsterone. DHEA is a hormone made by your adrenal glands, which are small organs that sit on top of each kidney. A small amount is also produced in your brain, gonads and skin. DHEA occupies a central position in the steroid hierarchy. Produced from cholesterol by way of pregnenolone, DHEA is metabolized to form androstenedione, which is converted directly to testosterone or estrogen or progesterone. DHEA production declines with age starting in your late twenties. By the age of 70 you only have 10-15% of the levels you once had in your youth. Since DHEA is the precursor to your other hormones when DHEA decreases so do your other essential hormones.
What are the functions of DHEA in the body?
Low levels of DHEA can be due to:
Replacement DHEA can:
DHEA has also been shown to have a protective effect against cancer, diabetes, obesity, increased cholesterol, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.
DHEA is safe
A particularly exciting aspect of using DHEA supplementation is that it’s an exceptionally safe therapy. In fact, doses as high as 1,600mg/day have been given for a month without side effects. Because DHEA is an androgen, or a substance, which stimulates male characteristics, large doses can have temporary masculinizing effects in women, such as facial hair growth or skin breakouts. However at doses normally prescribed (25-100mg/day) these side effects are uncommon and if they do occur they disappear once therapy is ceased.