DHEA supplement may provide the elderly with numerous health benefits. These includes more energy, strong muscles and bones, better mood, balanced hormone levels, improved sexual function, healthy immune function, and improved brain and heart health.
Each tiny, easy to swallow capsule contains 25 mg of DHEA.
Take one capsule a day or as recommended by a healthcare professional. The usual starting dose of DHEA is 25 mg a day. Then, you can slowly increase it under the supervision of a doctor.*
What is DHEA anyway?
DHEA stands for DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE. It is a hormone which mainly comes from the adrenal glands. – two tiny structures sitting on top of your kidneys. In addition, testis, ovaries, skin, and brain also produce small amounts of DHEA.
It is important to know that DHEA comes from cholesterol. For this reason, some researchers worry that too low of cholesterol may decrease DHEA levels.
DHEA has a direct effects on our well being. In addition, it also converts into testosterone and estrogen in both women and men.
Why do DHEA levels go down?
- Age – Your DHEA levels go down as you age. By the age of 70–80 years, your level of DHEA may be as low as 10%–20% of your young age.
- Severe systemic illness including COVID, which may be one of the factors for Long COVID
- Anorexia nervosa
- Adrenal insufficiency
Symptoms of Low DHEA
- Chronic fatigue
- Weak muscles
- Weak bones
- Decreased sense of well-being
- Poor immune function
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex in women
Potential Benefits of DHEA supplements
Numerous scientific studies support the following health benefits of DHEA supplements:
May improve muscle mass and prevent fracture
A fracture happens after you fall down. One of the major risk factors for falls is muscle weakness. Your muscle mass decreases with age at a rate of 6% per decade, beginning around age 45.
Studies show DHEA supplementation may improve your muscle strength, and physical performance.1
In this way, DHEA decreases your odds of a fall and bone fracture. In addition, improved muscle mass gives you more energy and keeps you active. In this way, you can ward off many medical issues that arise due to physical inactivity.
May improve bone density
The risk for a bone fracture goes high as we age. According to medical estimates, 51% for women and 20% for men after the age of 50 are at risk of having a bone fracture.
Studies show a beneficial effect of DHEA supplementation on the bone strength.
For example, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, USA enrolled 10 elderly women and 8 men in the study. And gave them 50 mg of DHEA supplement per day for six months. At the end of six months, there was a significant improvement in the bone strength of these individuals as compared to the control group.2
DHEA Supplements may improve depression
HEA plays a significant role in boosting our mood. For this reason, low DHEA can lead to depression. Thereafter, depression itself causes further lowering of its level. In this way, a vicious cycle sets in: low DHEA causing depression and depression causing further lowering of DHEA.
Results of several studies confirm that DHEA levels go down during depression.3 For this reason, it is reasonable to give DHEA supplement to improve depressed mood.
And scientific studies support this notion. In one such study, researchers from University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, USA observed a more than 50% improvement in the depression score of their patients who received DHEA supplement as compared to placebo-group. 4
Good for the cardiovascular health
DHEA is important for our cardiovascular health. When DHEA levels goes down, your risk for heart disease may go up. And scientific studies confirm that individuals with low level of DHEA are at high risk for heart disease.5
This raises question if DHEA supplementation may reduce the risk of heart disease. The answer is probably yes. Several animal studies suggests a beneficial effect of DHEA supplement against heart disease. 6
Studies in humans also show beneficial effects of DHEA on the heart. For example, a study was published in the prestigious medical journal, New England Journal of Medicine in 1986. In this study, researchers found that an increase of DHEA levels by 100 μg/dL was associated with a reduction of total mortality by 36% and cardiovascular mortality by 48%, which is quite impressive.7
DHEA supplements may improve sexual function in men and women
Low DHEA levels leads to a high risk for impotence in the aging men.8 For this reason, researchers from Austria decided to give DHEA supplement – 50 mg per day – to 20 elderly men with erectile dysfunction. Results were impressive: there was a significant improvement in erectile function, desire, sexual interest, sexual activity, arousal, and fantasy.9
In another study (from Laval University, Canada), researchers administered DHEA intra-vaginally in 216 postmenopausal women with moderate to severe symptoms of vaginal atrophy. The results were remarkable: A significant improvement in all aspects of sexuality: improved sexual arousal, sensation, lubrication, orgasm, and relief of pain during sexual activity.10
Use of DHEA supplement is generally safe.
In women, only minimal adverse effects have been reported such as mild acne, seborrhea, facial hair growth, and ankle swelling.
However, you probably should avoid DHEA supplements if you have a history of breast or endometrial cancer. Along the same line, men with prostate cancer should avoid DHEA supplements.
Discuss with your healthcare professional before taking DHEA supplement.
Usual dose of DHEA supplement is 25-50 mg per day. researchers have used doses up 100 mg in clinical studies and found it to be safe. However, it is a good idea to start low such as 25 mg dose and then increase slowly.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product in not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Menopause is not for the sissies! I developed vaginal dryness and lack of libido. My gynecologist recommended DHEA. I tried 100 mg dose but I started to grow hair at the wrong places. Then, I switched to this product – 25 mg. It is working well. No more extra hair on the upper lip. I would strongly recommend to start at this dose – and not a higher dose – if you are in the same boat. The article is also very informative. Thank you Dr. Z.