Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), also known as androstenolone, is one of the most abundant circulating steroids in humans. Once secreted into the blood stream, the body converts DHEA into several other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Because of this vital function, DHEA is sometimes referred to as the “mother of all hormones” or “parent hormone”. DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands (small glands located on top of each kidney), the gonads (sex glands), and the brain.
Aside from being a precursor to other important hormones, DHEA plays the following important functions:
Touted as the “super hormone”, DHEA plays several important functions in women:
In men, this powerful hormone works in numerous ways:
The levels of DHEA tend to gradually deteriorate with age. In addition, certain factors such as lifestyle, diet, emotional health, and stress levels can affect DHEA levels. It is a known fact that the level of this hormone start to decline after the age of 30, causing a wide array of negative health implications. Typical symptoms of DHEA deficiency (adrenal insufficiency) include:
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, consult immediately with a qualified hormone replacement therapy doctor to assess your DHEA levels and come up with an appropriate medical management that is tailored to your needs.
DHEA replacement therapy has gained worldwide attention over recent years. An overwhelming body of clinical research supports the significant beneficial effects of DHEA administration in patients with complete DHEA deficiency. Whether taken orally in the form of tablets or capsules, or given in the form of injections or applied directly to the skin, studies show that this “super hormone” can benefit almost every organ system in the body and can help combat a wide array of fatal diseases.
Inflammation is the root cause of most diseases and is strongly linked with almost all age-related health problems. DHEA’s potent anti-inflammatory properties can help ward off various inflammatory disorders associated with advancing age and improve overall quality of life. Several research studies confirm the anti-inflammatory effects of DHEA:
DHEA possesses potent anti-aging properties that help protect against loss of bone mineral density and strength, thereby reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Apart from aging, bone loss occur at higher rates in people with hormonal imbalances, poor eating habits, unhealthy lifestyle, and those with medical conditions that affect bone quality. As the “mother of all hormones”, evidence suggests that DHEA replacement therapy improves bone production and quality by boosting the production of other hormones necessary for bone production:
DHEA appears to play a major role in cardiovascular function and deficiency in this vital hormone may compromise heart health. In fact several high quality studies found a strong link between DHEA deficiency and higher incidence of heart diseases in both men and women. [193-207] This suggests that replacing DHEA to youthful levels can help boost heart health and prevent various fatal heart diseases. A number of clinical trials support the beneficial effects of DHEA replacement therapy on the cardiovascular system:
As a nootropic agent or cognitive-enhancer, DHEA is among the most important neurosteroids. Neurosteroids are steroids synthesized within the brain that help maintain the functions of nerve cells. There is strong scientific evidence that DHEA supplementation can help boost brain function in the elderly as well as those with cognitive impairments related to various brain problems:
For women who want to increase their chances of getting pregnant, DHEA supplementation can help. In fact, DHEA supplements are actually prescribed by doctors in women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), a condition in which the ovaries lose their reproductive potential. Several clinical trials assessing the beneficial effects of DHEA replacement therapy on pregnancy rate have shown positive outcomes for many women:
While proper diet and regular exercise are important factors involved in maintaining a healthy weight, hormones like DHEA play an important role too. This “super hormone” boosts the body’s natural ability to utilize energy reserves and burn fat, two metabolic processes that gradually decline with advancing age. Studies show that DHEA replacement therapy promotes weight loss, thus reducing one’s risk of developing obesity-related diseases:
Acquiring more DHEA can help combat diabetes and other diseases linked with high blood sugar levels. Results of human studies assessing the anti-diabetic effects of DHEA suggest that it can protect against insulin resistance induced by aging and unhealthy lifestyle:
Troublesome and frustrating, sleeping problems associated with aging can negatively impact one’s quality of life. Hormonal imbalance during this stage is thought to affect sleep quality, resulting in lack of sleep and extreme fatigue. Specifically, the age-related decline in various hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and DHEA contributes to insomnia. Because DHEA is a precursor to several other important hormones in the body, researchers believe that restoring DHEA to youthful levels can help improve sleep quality. A number of clinical trials support the beneficial effects of DHEA on sleep:
Regular exercises along with proper diet are known to increase muscle mass and strength. However, not all older individuals may benefit from these strategies due to reduced activity levels and slower metabolism. Interestingly, there is increasing evidence that DHEA supplementation can aid in improving muscle mass and strength especially in the older population. Studies show that DHEA replacement therapy is beneficial in both older men and women:
Menopausal women often experience debilitating symptoms that ruin their quality of life, including hot flushes, sleeping difficulties, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, headaches, body pains, and mood swings. Researchers believe that menopause and low DHEA levels go hand in hand, and by restoring DHEA to youthful levels through hormone replacement therapy, menopausal women can significantly experience relief from these unpleasant symptoms. A number of high quality studies conducted in menopausal women support the benefits of DHEA:
DHEA doesn’t only treat sexual dysfunction in women, but also in men with ED. As a building block for testosterone, the key male sex hormone, DHEA may be able to ramp up sexual power in men with ED. Strong scientific evidence supports the beneficial effects of DHEA on this condition:
DHEA does not only have anti-aging capability but it also has potent anti-cancer properties. There is strong scientific evidence that this hormone is capable of destroying various cancer cell types, thereby preventing its spread in different body parts (metastasis). Results from numerous studies show that DHEA fights cancer through various mechanisms:
The age-related decline in DHEA levels is believed to contribute to various medical conditions, including impairment of immune function. This predisposes older individuals to a wide array of fatal diseases like autoimmune disorders and inflammatory conditions. Research suggests that DHEA supplementation may help improve symptoms and even prevent immune system-related disorders by boosting immune function via several different mechanisms:
Low mood and depression are among the most common psychological symptoms associated with old age. There is increasing evidence that age-related DHEA deficiency is strongly linked with depression, [340-341] suggesting that DHEA replacement therapy can be beneficial in improving depressive symptoms as well as quality of life. Results from various human studies assessing the beneficial effects of DHEA on mood show that this hormone can help maintain a positive outlook, energy and motivation:
Cholesterol is required for DHEA production. In fact, the process by which DHEA is produced starts when cholesterol enters the “powerhouse” of cells known as mitochondria.  Researchers believe that this process may help lower cholesterol and increase DHEA levels in the body, thereby boosting overall health. Results from several studies support the beneficial effects of DHEA supplementation on cholesterol levels:
DHEA can reduce wrinkles and other skin imperfections associated with aging. Studies show that this hormone exerts its anti-aging effect through various mechanisms:
Stroke is one of the most deadly diseases worldwide. Interestingly, aside from diet and lifestyle, studies show that low DHEA levels are strongly associated with increased risk of stroke and related death.  Fortunately, increasing DHEA levels through replacement therapy can significantly prevent stroke, according to studies:
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