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What Is DHEA and What Is It Used For?

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DHEA Benefits, Uses and  Side Effects

If your goal is to look younger, feel better, and improve your body composition, read on! The “youth hormone” DHEA has many potential benefits but does also have some noted contraindications so read the following thoroughly, consult with a healthcare practitioner and do your own due diligence.

What is DHEA?

DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, is an adrenal steroid hormone in the body. It is made by the adrenal glands and is then converted to androgens, estrogens and other hormones. These are the hormones that regulate fat and mineral metabolism, sexual and reproductive function, and energy levels. DHEA levels increase until our mid to late 20′s then gradually start to decline. DHEA production in the body may also decrease with the use of certain medications such as insulin and corticosteroids.

What are the benefits of DHEA?

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database,

DHEA is stated to be possibly effective for these conditions:

  1. Aging Skin – Taking DHEA orally seems to increase epidermal thickness, sebum production, skin hydration, and decrease facial skin pigmentation in elderly men and women
  2. Erectile Dysfunction – Taking DHEA orally for 24 weeks seems to improve ED, orgasmic function, sexual desire, and overall sexual satisfaction in men with erectile dysfunction secondary to hypertension. It may not be as beneficial in those with diabetes or neurological conditions.
  3. Osteoporosis – Taking DHEA orally 50-100 mg per day seems to improve bone mineral density (BMD) in older women and men with osteoporosis or osteopenia.
  4. Schizophrenia – Taking DHEA orally seems to improve both negative and positive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. It may be more effective in women than in men.
  5. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – Taking DHEA orally in conjunction with conventional treatment may help reduce SLE disease activity, frequency of flare-ups, and corticosteroid doses needed.

DHEA is also thought to contribute to a sense of well-being when used by those with adrenal and/or androgen insufficiency. In one placebo-controlled trial, DHEA supplementation for a 6 month period supported healthy physical and psychological outlook in men and women at ages 40-70 years. It may also support lean body mass in men and postmenopausal women. In another study, DHEA supplementation supported healthy male sexual function.

What are the side effects of DHEA?

Possible side effects include hair loss, hair growth on the face (in women), aggressiveness, irritability and increased levels of estrogen. Calcium channel blockers may increase DHEA levels and supplementation should be avoided by those using calcium channel blockers. DHEA should not be used if pregnant or nursing, by those under the age of 18 or used by those with healthy levels of DHEA. Anyone with a history of hormone-related cancer should definitely avoid DHEA due to the probability of increased estrogen levels. Anyone with liver problems or disease should avoid DHEA supplementation.

DHEA supplementation can certainly be beneficial but it is highly recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before supplementing and it should be monitored regularly with lab work. There are several different strengths of DHEA from 2 Mg, 5 Mg, 10 Mg, 25 Mg, 50 Mg and 100 Mg – always use the lowest dose appropriate for you. View a variety of options including sublingual drops, and buy DHEA here.

If you don’t feel DHEA is appropriate for you, it may be possible to increase the bodies natural production of DHEA with regular exercise and Calorie restriction. Calorie restriction is associated with a longer life span and the increase in DHEA production may be partially responsible.

An alternative is 7-keto (3beta-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA), a DHEA metabolite. Dr. Oz called 7-keto a “belly-blasting supplement“. 7-keto has many of the same benefits with the exception that it does not convert to sex hormones in the body. 7- keto DHEA will not convert to DHEA and will not raise blood levels of DHEA in the body.  In a double-blind, placebo controlled study by The Chicago Center for Clinical Research results indicate that 3beta-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA is safe and well tolerated in normal healthy men at doses up to 200 mg/d for 4 weeks.

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database does state that, “There is preliminary evidence that 7-keto-DHEA might significantly decrease body weight and fat composition in obese females. More evidence is needed to rate 7-keto-DHEA for this use.”  It also appears that 7-keto may support thyroid function by increasing T3 levels in obese patients.

If you think 7-keto might be for you, you can purchase it here. Again, do your research, consult with your healthcare practitioner and use the lowest dose appropriate for you.

Infographic With 6 benefits of DHEA

8 Responses to What Is DHEA and What Is It Used For?

  1. Kitchen Cupboards ` October 12, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    hyptertension can also be minimized by just taking some relaxation exercises each day;~;

  2. dr.d. frink January 2, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    Where can I buy this and how can it benefit!!

  3. zack May 1, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    I am 74 years old male, I have been taking DHEA 50mg/day, for over 15 years, I was told by 2 physicians
    that DHEA is diminishing when you are over 35 years old, and probably become 1/3 or less when
    you are getting older >50.My mother died because of diabetic when she was 61 years old & my brother
    died when he was 58 also diabetic.A lot of people say that I look in mid 60′s but I am mid 70.s.
    The only problem I have is a little elevated in my BP. since I am taking 25mg of Atenolol,my BP was under
    control 130/80. is very good for an old man.So I have faith in the DHEA, as of now, I am not thinking
    of quitting taking DHEA. But I am also taking mega dose of Multivitamin, – Zeaxanthin-Lutein-Lucopyn-VitD3
    Vit-C, CQ-10,Magnisium,Calcium,Omega3, Flavonoid,VitB12, VitB6-VitB1, I-cap tablets, Vit.E,Folic Acid.
    I believe people who are taking DHEA, if not protected with Anti-Oxidant, can cause problem, among other
    thing is a cancer threat.

  4. andre May 7, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    i am 47 and married to a 30 year old women. my problem was that at this age my levels of libido was down and now after 2 weeks i am on top of the world. thank you

  5. Hugh Woodward November 21, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    DHEA should be used as a bioidentical DHEA cream. DHEA has now been shown to reduce risks of cancer of all types. People with a higher level of DHEA are at a lower risk of cancer of all types, including prostate and breast cancer. In fact, DHEA is now be used in the treatments physicians use for cancer. The top quality bioidentical DHEA cream is Twist 25 DHEA cream. You can simply go to

    • Raquel February 10, 2014 at 8:36 am #

      Mr. Woodward,
      Could you please provide the evidence which shows people who have higher level from DHEA are at a lower risk of all types of cancer? Thank you.

      • Hugh Woodward February 11, 2014 at 9:47 am #

        This is a link to a recent article; and if you will provide me a fax number I can fax you other articles, medical research finds and opinions of many medical doctors about why DHEA helps to reduce ones risk of cancer.

  6. Leah April 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    I have always been in shape and full of energy, thanks to daily exercise and eating well. But at 34, after the birth of my 5th and last child, I permanently injured my back, requiring daily pain meds. It was too difficult to be active and my stress levels steadily increased and by age 44, I was exhausted all the time and had that awful midsection bulge. Yuck. I tried exercising, but was even more tired instead! I began to research about hormones and found that the long term effects of daily pain meds depleted hormones, along with stress and aging. I started taking PharmAssure DHEA 10-15 mg daily and found within 3 days, I was more mentally alert than I’d been for years. A week later I had more physical energy within a month after I’d adjusted the amount to 25 mg, I was back to exercising daily again and just felt 10x’s better than I have in a long time. It’s worked really well and the weight is coming off …….finally!

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About Theresa Groskopp, CN

I am a Certified Nutritionist in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the owner of Natural Healthy Concepts. I am a natural health and nutrition advocate. In my free time, I enjoy gardening, biking, boating, hiking and spending time with family, friends and our two cats. Theresa Groskopp

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