DHEA - the allround talent with large unknown effects


Effect of DHEA on energy and vitality

In a study at the University of San Diego, California, vitality and energy were increased by 82 % in women and 67 % in men after just a few weeks of use (see chapter “studies”)

Effect against HIV virus and AIDS

Similar to patients with breast cancer, significantly lower DHEA levels have been observed in the blood of HIV patients.

DHEA exerts its antiviral activity via the stimulation of white blood cells, catoxinin and lymphoid organs, and has been shown to prevent the spread of type 1 HIV in the human body (see ‘DHEA studies’).

Study and research outcomes regarding DHEA

With more than 4,000 scientific publications, DHEA has been well-researched and has shown positive results in both humans and animals in atherosclerosis, cancer, weight loss, and longer lifespan.

DHEA shows antioxidant (cell-protecting) properties in studies, protecting our cells from destructive free radicals.[1]

Excellent effect against stress confirmed in studies

In studies, DHEA shows stress-reducing properties by acting as a strong antiglucocorticoid to counteract the stressor ‘corticosteroid’.[2]

Studies on the effects of DHEA on anxiety

As a neurosteroid, DHEA has a regulating effect on the psyche and counteracts anxiety.[3]

In studies DHEA prevents cancer by 80 %

Studies by Dr. Schwartz showed an impressive reduction in tumour rates by up to 80 %. [4]

Studies on DHEA levels in breast cancer

In British studies on more than 5,000 women from 1962 and 1971, amazing findings came to light. The studies showed that women with breast cancer had abnormally low DHEA levels.[5]

In studies, DHEA increases insulin sensitivity and lowers insulin levels

By promoting the production of insulin-producing cells, DHEA has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in studies. Decreased insulin sensitivity is equivalent to insulin resistance, which is the causative and central disorder in diabetes.[6]

In studies, DHEA significantly reduces the risk of heart attack

In trials, DHEA has demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce the risk of heart attack.[7] 

Lower DHEA scores measured in heart disease

Another study on 242 men between the ages of 50 and 79 has shown that lower levels of DHEA are measurable in heart patients.[8]

Within an observation period of two and four years, it was found that men with low DHEA levels have significantly higher mortality due to cardiovascular failure.[9]

Studies show that DHEA improves circulation in blood vessels

In trials, DHEA has been shown to significantly improve dilatation capacity and perfusion in arteries by optimising endothelial function.[10]

DHEA reduces vascular calcification (atherosclerosis) in animal trials by 50 %

At the John Hopkins Department of Medicine in 1988, taking DHEA reduced arterial calcification (atherosclerosis) in rabbits by 50 %, which should be considered a sensational result.

DHEA protects against viral infections in studies

By boosting interferon production, DHEA has been shown to protect against viral infections. Both oral and subcutaneous doses of DHEA have been shown to protect mice and rats from fatal infections in animal experiments.[11]



DHEA counteracts lupus in studies

In one study, DHEA was able to demonstrate its effectiveness against systematic lupus erythematosus.[12]

Studies aimed at optimising brain performance

DHEA activates the metabolism of the forebrain and other sections of the brain and can optimise nerve cell activity.[13]

DHEA increases cognitive properties

In animal experiments, DHEA significantly improved cognitive properties.[14]

DHEA improves skin texture in studies

In one study, DHEA was shown to lead to improvements in skin texture.[15]



In studies, DHEA suppresses the human HIV virus

In one study, DHEA was able to suppress the spread of type 1 HIV in humans.[16]

In another study, DHEA was able to show positive effects on mood and fatigue in 45 AIDS patients.[17]

DHEA boosts sexual desire in women

In a double-blind study, one group of women received 50 mg daily of DHEA over a four-month period, while the control group received a placebo (a dummy treatment).

Through psychological questionnaires, a total increase of 5 times as much propensity for sexual thoughts and sexual interest was observed throughout the study. As a result of the study, it could be stated that those women who took DHEA developed an increasing interest in sex while taking DHEA.[18]



DHEA causes increased bone density in studies

In women over the age of 70, one study found that bone density increased.[19]

Improvement in physical and mental well-being from DHEA proven in studies

Within a three-month study, an improvement in physical and mental well-being was noted.[20]

Low level of DHEA detected in the blood of HIV patients

Studies indicate that most HIV sufferers have significantly lower levels of DHEA in their blood than non-infected people.[21]

Increase in vitality by up to 82 % in studies

In a study at the University of San Diego, California, vitality and energy increased by 82 % in women and 67 % in men after just a few weeks of taking DHEA.

Anabolic effects of DHEA confirmed in studies

In a study examining the anabolic effect of DHEA, young men were able to increase their fat-free body mass (= muscle) by a whopping 4.5 kg over a four-week period; this was, however, achieved with a high dose of 1600 mg DHEA/day.[22]

DHEA intake

Which groups of people should consider taking DHEA?

DHEA is one of the hormones that declines greatly in old age; for example, the proportion of DHEA among 30-year-olds is already dropping markedly, and by up to as much as 80-90 % at the age of 75 and over.

Fortunately, DHEA, taken as a dietary supplement, can compensate for the age-related decline in the body and contribute to the benefits described. Thus, for those who have already passed their thirties, many age researchers recommend an additional intake of DHEA to compensate.



Ingestion and dosage

While DHEA has been sold over the counter in every US health store since 1994 (mostly in a dosage of 25-50 mg) and has been taken daily by millions of Americans without significant side effects, it is not officially authorised in the EU as a (non-prescription) dietary supplement.

The dose of 25-50 mg a day is perfect for preventive purposes. In one study, a dose of 50 mg DHEA a day in people of both sexes aged 40 and 70 doubled the level of DHEA after two weeks, with the subjects feeling more stress-free, more energetic, and sleeping better as a result. In the case of medical indications (diseases), substitution by appropriately qualified personnel (alternative practitioners, naturopaths, complementary oncologists and the like) is recommended.

[1] Biochem. J. 301, 1994, p. 753-758

[2] Loria R. M.: Antiglucocorticoid function of androstenetriol. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1997; 22 Suppl 1, p. 103-108

[3] Dubrovsky B., 1997, 49, p. 51-55.

[4] Schwartz 1981, 1984

[5] Bulbrook et al., 1962, 1972

[6] Am. J. Med. Sci. 1993, 306, p. 320-324; Villareal, D.T. et al.: JAMA 2004, 292, p. 2243-2248

[7] Am. J. Med. Sci., 1996, 311, p. 205-210

[8] Barrett-Connor, E. et al.: NEJM, 1986, 315, p. 1519-1524

[9] Berr, C.: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996, 93, p. 13410-13415

[10] Kawano H. et al.: Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation improves endothelial function and insulin sensitivity in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003, 88, p. 3190-3195.

[11] J. Endocrinol. 1996, 150, p. 209-220

[12] Derksen R. H .: Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1998, 27, p. 335-347

[13] J. Neurosci. 1996, 16, p. 1193-1202

[14] Wolf, T. and Kirschbaum, C.: Brain Research Reviews 1999, 30, 264-288, 1999

[15] Baulieu, E.-E., et al.:  DHEA sulphate, and ageing: Contribution of the DHEAge Study to a sociobiomedical issue, PNAS 2002, 97, 4279–4284.

[16] J. INfect. Dis 1992; 165, p. 413

[17] Rabkin J.G. et al.: Psychoneuroendocrinology 2000, 25, p. 53-68

[18] Fc N. Engl. J. Med. 1999; 341, p. 1013-1020

[19] Baulieu E.-E. et al.: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Apr 11; 97 (8), p. 4279-4284.

[20]Huppert FA, Van Niekerk JK., Herbert J. (2003) Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation for cognitive function (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2003. Oxford: Update Software.

[21] J. of the American Medical Association 1989, 261, p. 1149

[22] J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1988, 66, p. 57-61

Tags: DHEA, effects, studies

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