Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the most abundant circulating steroid in humans. DHEA acts on the body’s androgen receptors. In men, DHEA in men is primarily produced by the adrenal glands and secondarily produced by the testes and the brain.
DHEA and testosterone are androgen hormones that are responsible for secondary male characteristics. Like most hormones, men have optimal DHEA levels in their 20s, and then it slowly declines with aging. Age-related decline of DHEA is inevitable, but the decline in DHEA associated with chronic stress and adrenal fatigue is not.
Men who are chronically stressed exhaust their adrenal glands, which can result in low cortisol and low DHEA levels. Treatment of adrenal fatigue results in a natural increase in DHEA levels once the adrenal glands are restored to their normal function.
The decline in DHEA levels in men often occurs along with the decline of testosterone levels in men during andropause. Symptoms of low DHEA levels are similar to symptoms of low testosterone, including:
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