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DHEA

DHEA is short for dehydroepiandrosterone (D-hi-dro-epp-E-an-dro-ster-own), the most abundant of one of over 150 hormones made by the adrenal glands located just above the kidneys. DHEA was first discovered by scientists in 1934.

What is DHEA?

DHEA is short for dehydroepiandrosterone (D-hi-dro-epp-E-an-dro-ster-own), the most abundant of one of over 150 hormones made by the adrenal glands located just above the kidneys. DHEA was first discovered by scientists in 1934. After DHEA is made by the adrenal glands, it goes into the bloodstream, and from then on travels all over the body and goes into the 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.

Benefits

A DHEA supplement may benefit those who have adrenal deficiency and low levels of DHEA. The benefits of a DHEA supplement (in those who are DHEA-deficient) include:

  • An improved sense of well-being;
  • Greater alertness and stamina;
  • 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 which derive from DHEA metabolism are often increased when people take a DHEA supplement, and this may lead to both beneficial and harmful effects. DHEA has been tested in people with HIV (and found to provide improvements for mild symptoms of depression) and lupus. The overall DHEA benefit from a supplement must be balanced against the side effects.

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