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Hormone Insufficiency


DHEA is one of the hormones made in the adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands do not make enough hormones, including DHEA and cortisol, this is called adrenal insufficiency. Women with this condition who were given DHEA supplements reported improved sexuality and sense of well-being (including decreased feelings of depression and anxiety).

Several studies suggest that DHEA may improve well-being, quality of life, exercise capacity, sex drive, and hormone levels in people with insufficient adrenal function (Addison's disease).

Studies of men have shown that DHEA replacement therapy is an important complement to testosterone therapy. Among aging men, the amount of “free” testosterone, or testosterone that is available to the body, falls more quickly than the level of total testosterone. Thus, it is important to design a hormone replacement program that raises the level of free testosterone.


Clinical Studies

  • A 2006 study supplemented DHEA to men of average 65 years of age, and found that the men experienced significant increases in testosterone and cGMP (Cyclic guanosine monophosphate), and significant decreases in low-density liprotein (LDL). The authors say that the findings suggest that chronic DHEA supplementation would exert antiatherogenic effects, particularly in elderly subjects who display low circulating levels of this hormone.

  • A 2005 study, measured serum DHEA in 206 men with type-2 diabetes, and found an inverse relationship between serum DHEA and carotid atherosclerosis in men. The authors say the study supports the notion that DHEA, which is sold in increasing amount as a food supplement, is atheroprotective in humans, and that androgen replacement therapy should be considered for men with hypogonadism.

  • In a 1997 study, DHEA levels were shown to parallel the levels of free testosterone in the blood. The study authors suggested that DHEA might help raise free testosterone. If this conclusion is correct, then DHEA replacement therapy would not only raise the blood level of DHEA, but also the level of free testosterone.











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