Home :: DHEA FAQs (DHEA Frequently Asked Questions)

DHEA FAQs (DHEA Frequently Asked Questions)

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) Frequently Asked Questions.

 What is DHEA?

DHEA is an abbreviation for dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone produced primarily in the adrenal glands. DHEA is also produced in other parts of the body including the testicles, ovaries, and brain. After production, the bloodstream carries DHEA to tissues and cells.  Some of it is converted to sex hormones testosterone and estrogens.

 How is DHEA produced in the body?

In the body, cholesterol is the starting material to make all steroid hormones in the body. In the adrenal glands, cholesterol is converted to pregnenolone.  Therefore pregnenolone is the very top of the hormone pyramid. Pregnenolone is converted to DHEA and a number of sex hormones including testosterone and estrogens.

 What is a steroid?

Steroids are hormones. All of the steroid hormones produced in the body are made using cholesterol as the starting material. Some of the steroid hormones include DHEA, pregnenolone and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and the male hormone testosterone.

 Where does DHEA come from?

The source material for DHEA powder is derived from wild yams, which are grown commercially.  Plant sterols (a class of plant hormones) are extracted from the wild yams.  The most common sterol is diosgenin, which has a molecular structure very similar to DHEA.  In the laboratory, the diosgenin extract is converted to DHEA by clipping away a few side chains by means of chemical reactions

 Will natural yam extracts increase my DHEA levels?

No. Ingestion of wild yam extracts will not increase your DHEA levels. This is because the body does not have the necessary enzymes to make the conversions.  Wild yam extracts can only be converted to DHEA in the laboratory and not in the human body.  Taking wild yam extracts is just a waste of money.

 How much DHEA do our body make?

Some researchers estimate that humans make between 10 and 15 mg of DHEA daily, but other researchers have estimated higher levels.

 Will taking DHEA supplements suppress my natural DHEA production?

The production of most steroids in the body is controlled by a feedback loop.  When hormone levels get too high, the body makes less of it, and when hormone levels are too low, the body makes more. However, DHEA is an exception to this rule. Preliminary studies do not seem to indicate a feedback loop for DHEA. It is suggested that small supplement DHEA dosage will not stop our body’s natural DHEA production.  However, supplementation with high DHEA dosages and for a long period could have an influence in the body’s natural DHEA production.

 What is DHEAS?

DHEAS stands for DHEA-Sulphate.  DHEAS is the most abundant steroid in the blood of young adult humans. Your body makes most of its DHEA in the morning. DHEA levels in the body decline fairly rapidly during the day because DHEA is quickly cleared by the kidneys. However, DHEAS is cleared slower, and the blood levels remain much more stable during the day. When you take DHEA supplements, some of it will circulate as DHEA, but the majority (90% or more) will circulate as DHEAS.

Booklet - Frequently Asked Questions all about DHEA

If you wish to find answers to these questions, please kindly purchase an excellent and informative booklet written by Ray Sahelian, MD: Frequently Asked Questions all about DHEA: Size: 4 inch wide x 6 inch tall x ¼ inch thick, 89 pages full of invaluable information on DHEA. Price $2.99 plus shipping and handling.

 Other questions regarding DHEA:

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Does DHEA raise levels of other hormones?

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Can DHEA influence the aging process?

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Is is OK if I self-medicate with DHEA?

 DHEA and aging:

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What happens to the body’s production of DHEA with age?

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Do all hormones decline with age?

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What are the potential benefits of hormone supplementation?

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Have there been long-term studies with DHEA in aging people?

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Can you tell me about other human research on DHEA as we age?

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Do brain DHEA levels decline or change with age?

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Would supplementing with DHEA as we get older improve brain function?

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Does DHEA influence mood?

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Does DHEA affect memory?

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Does DHEA protect against brain cell damage?

 DHEA and the brain:

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Is DHEA found in the brain?

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Do brain DHEA levels decline or change with age?

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Would supplementing with DHEA as we get older improve brain function?

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Does DHEA influence mood?

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Does DHEA affect memory?

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Does DHEA protect against brain cell damage?

 DHEA and the heart:

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Is DHEA associated with a lower risk of heart disease?

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What are “blood thinners” and is DHEA a blood thinner?

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Is DHEA an antioxidant?

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Can high doses of DHEA cause a heart risk?

 Cancer control:

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In general, what do the studies indicate about DHEA and cancer?

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How does DHEA affect prostate cancer?

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Is it possible to safely administer DHEA for prostate cancer?

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Would you recommend using DHEA as a cancer treatment?

 The Immune System:

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What exactly is the immune system?

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Does DHEA improve how the immune system works?

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How does AIDS affect the immune system?

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What is the relationship between AIDS and DHEA levels?

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If DHEA were given to patients with AIDS would their symptoms improve? Or might DHEA supplementation slow the progress of HIV infection to AIDS?

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What steps can I take to improve my immune system?

 Autoimmune Conditions:

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What is Lupus?

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Does DHEA help patients with lupus?

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What is rheumatoid arthritis?

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Can DHEA help rheumatoid arthritis?

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What are pemphigus and pemphigoid?

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Can DHEA help treat pemphigus and pemphigoid?

 DHEA’s other effects:

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Can DHEA help me lose weight?

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Does DHEA influence my sex drive?

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Does DHEA help improve my bone density?

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How does DHEA affect skin and hair?

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Is DHEA use allowed in sports competition?

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Is DHEA involved in pregnancy?

 The Right Dose of DHEA:

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In what forms and in what dosages does DHEA come?

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Are pills the best form of DHEA to take?

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What is “micronized” DHEA?

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What is the best form of DHEA to take?

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What is the best dosage to start with?

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What time of the day to take my DHEA?

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Does estrogen replacement interfere with DHEA?

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Since pregnenolone can be converted to DHEA, progesterone and other steroid hormones, why not use pregnenolone exclusively, and let the body convert it into the specific steroid hormones it requires?

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What about combining hormones and vitamins?

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How soon will I notice an effect from DHEA?

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What should my doctor and I consider before I take DHEA?

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How important are lab tests for DHEA or DHEAS levels?

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At what age should I get my DHEAS levels tested, and how is it done?

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How are DHEA levels measured?

 DHEA - Cautions and Side Effects:

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What are the common side effects?

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Are there any precautions I can use to protect myself from these side effects, but still benefit from DHEA?

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What about DHEA’s influence on cancer?

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Who should not take DHEA?

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Can DHEA be combined with other medicines?