what is dhea

What Is DHEA: Powerful Benefits & Dangerous Side Effects

What is DHEA

DeHydroEpiAndrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone naturally generated in the body by the adrenal glands. The glands, located at the back of the abdomen and above the kidneys are also responsible for the production of adrenaline, cortisol, and various other hormones.

It’s also generated in little amounts directly in the brain, ovaries, and testicles. Meaning DHEA has a couple of different roles in the body; it is the precursor for sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and plays a role in hair growth as well as the immune system.

You might ask yourself if DHEA is generated naturally in the body, why should you take it as a supplement? Well, the generation of estrogen and testosterone decreases as we age, which results in various health problems.

Since DHEA is a precursor for those hormones, meaning, DHEA releases then transforms into them, taking DHEA in supplements can intensify the production in the body and safeguard you against the various problems that come with aging.

For those reasons, it has been touted as an anti-aging supplement, as well as various other things. Let’s go over the benefits and see what DHEA has to offer.

DHEA Benefits

Improving Body Imbalances


DHEA supplementing could bring tremendous benefits for people suffering from hormonal imbalances and adrenal deficiencies. Hormone levels severely decrease if DHEA is not produced at a sufficient level.

A DHEA supplement will supply the required “materials” for your body to rebuild those hormones back to normal levels.

Sexual Function & Desire

what is dhea

DHEA can also help with improving sexual desire and sexual function in both men and women. It is actually utilized as a vaginal suppository to get rid of vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex.

DHEA can help treat erectile dysfunction in men and can boost libido.


dhea benefits fertility

Since DHEA is an antecedent to hormones like estrogen and testosterone, it inevitably affects fertility. Women generally take DHEA supplements during menopause to increase estrogen levels, which then increases the possibility to develop a healthy egg.

DHEA is also usually recommended to women if they do not react well to IVF and have a low ovarian reserve.

Bone Density

bone density

Bone density decreases with age or as an effect of different diseases, most notoriously, osteoporosis. DHEA can help increase the formation of bones and restrict bone cell death. It also improves bone mineral density and bone volume.



DHEA supplements have anti-cortisol properties that can help in fighting against depression. Studies found promising results for mild and moderate depression, especially in middle-aged people.

Some studies also found that it can relieve depressive symptoms in people with conditions such as schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa.

Building Muscles

building muscles

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a vital part in building muscle mass and vitality in the body. Bodybuilders often consume DHEA supplements since they help increase testosterone levels in the body, leading to longer workouts with more results.

It also increases the speed of fat breakdown and potentially stagnant muscle growth.

DHEA Side Effects

Side effects are not identical in everybody; they differ in depending on age groups and, obviously, people with certain illnesses.

Generally, there are moderate side effects like nasal congestion and headaches. DHEA could also bring side effects like acne, excessive hair growth (arms, legs, armpits, and face), and abnormal periods.

It can also lead to the promotion of masculine traits like a deeper voice and increased facial hair, which you might find positive if you’re male, but the opposite if you’re female.

DHEA Is Dangerous To Some

Consuming DHEA supplements can be dangerous for people suffering from heart problems, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, or any blood clotting problems.

Men might face the issue of high blood pressure, and it might also increase the danger of cancers associated with hormones in women, like ovarian cancer or breast cancer.

Another critical side effect for men is the possible growth of the prostate and thus increased danger of prostate cancer.

Since there are many risks involved with DHEA, as opposed to other natural supplements, we highly advise you to consult with a doctor before taking it.


DHEA plays a crucial part in our body, it affects many functions, and it could be hugely beneficial for some people as a supplement. But! It is a supplement to be taken with more care than others, because of all of its potential side effects.

So if you decide that it is a supplement for you, advise a doctor before taking it.

If you’re looking for another hugely beneficial natural supplement that doesn’t involve as many potential complications, check out our article about the best mushroom supplements.

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