Many different aspects of menopause have been studied using DHEA as a
treatment, such as vaginal pain, osteoporosis, hot flashes, emotional
disturbances such as fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia,
difficulties with concentration and memory, or decreased sex drive (which
may occur near the time of menopause).
the age of 50, women undergo menopause, or the failure of the ovaries and
the cessation of menstruation. This period is distinguished by a rapid drop
in the level of sex hormones, including estrogen, DHEA, testosterone,
pregnenolone, and progesterone.
diseases have been connected to menopause, the rapid loss of hormonal
protection, including heart disease and osteoporosis. Many of the symptoms
of menopause are caused by the loss of estrogen, there are also side effects
associated with the drop in DHEA and testosterone among menopausal women.
G.W. Bates et al gave 15 postmenopausal women
(mean age: 62) 50 mg DHEA for 3 weeks. They concluded that DHEA
supplementation in postmenopausal women may decrease age-related increases
in insulin resistance.
P. Casson and colleagues gave 50 mg DHEA to 11
postmenopausal women in a 3-week placebo/crossover double-blind study.
They noted that the T-lymphocyte insulin binding and degradation increased
with DHEA. Enhancement in T-lymphocyte insulin binding and degradation is
+a previously defined marker of insulin sensitivity.
A 30 mg to 50 mg daily dose improved mood,
sense of well-being, and sexual appetite and activity among women with
A long-term trial of women over 60 reported
significant increases in bone mineral density.
A study among women aged 70 to 79 showed
improvements in sexual desire, arousal, and enjoyment.
The Italian team conducted a 12 month study on
20 healthy, postmenopausal patients, age 50 to 65 years, who were not
using hormone replacements. The patients were divided by age into two
groups: early (aged 50-55 years, n = 10, group A) who were two to three
years postmenopausal; and late (aged 60-65 years, n = 10, group B) who
were five or more years postmenopausal. All patients took 25 mg/day DHEA
supplementation for 12 months. Younger postmenopausal subjects (group A)
demonstrated higher levels of DHEA, DHEAS, testosterone, and
beta-endorphin levels than older subjects. Significant changes in
endocrine levels were observed with therapy. DHEA treatment eliminated
endocrine differences observed between the two groups at baseline.
Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone plasma levels, and plasma E 1 and E 2
levels increased significantly and progressively in both groups. All
pregnanolone and beta-endorphin concentrations significantly increased in
both groups. Cortisol F plasma levels progressively decreased throughout
the study. Both groups also experienced significantly reduced LH and FSH
plasma levels. GH and IGF-1 levels significantly increased in both groups.
Supplementation did not induce changes in endometrial thickness. The study
demonstrates the efficacy of low-dose DHEA administration of endocrine and
psychoneuroendocrine parameters in early and late menopause and confirms
that a low-dose DHEA supplementation increases adrenal androgens plasma
levels, which are significantly impaired during menopause. These data
support and confirm that DHEA must be considered a valid compound and drug
for hormone therapy in postmenopausal women and not just a dietary