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What is DHEA?
DHEA is short for dehydroepiandrosterone (D-hi-dro-epp-E-an-dro-ster-own), a hormone made by the adrenal glands located just above the kidneys. Scientists have known about this hormone since 1934. More than 150 hormones are made by the adrenal glands. However, the most abundant hormone made by the adrenal glands is DHEA. After DHEA is made by these glands it goes into the bloodstream, and from then on it travels all over the body and goes into our cells where it is converted into male hormones, known as androgens, and female hormones, known as estrogens. Small amounts of DHEA are also made in the brain by neurons.
A DHEA supplement may benefit those who have adrenal deficiency and low levels of DHEA. The benefit from a DHEA supplement (in those who are dhea deficient) include improved sense of wellbeing, more alertness and stamina, and enhanced sexual interest and libido. Women who have low DHEA levels usually have low sex drive and some women notice the DHEA benefit of improved libido. Blood levels of all the steroid hormones that derive from DHEA metabolism are often increased when people take a DHEA supplement. This may lead to both beneficial and harmful effects. DHEA has been tested in those with HIV (improved mild depression symptoms) and lupus. The overall DHEA benefit from a supplement must be balanced against DHEA side effects.
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