Skip to main content

Does DHEA Supplements Work?

Posted in

Many researches and studies have been done on DHEA, DHEA supplementation and does DHEA supplements work to treat various health and non-health conditions include advancing ages, menopause, depression, muscle building, weight loss, impotence, etc. Below are just a few of them:

DHEA as anti-aging agents

  • The production of DHEA hormones in human is found to decrease together with advancing age. Thus DHEA deprivation has been linked to many age-associated declines in mental and physical function.
  • Some studies concluded that DHEA supplementation may prevent bone loss, improve skin health, and enhance sexual drive in aging adults, especially women older than 70 years of age.
  • There're some conflicting results on its effect in improving learning and memorizing ability.
  • Further studies are still needed to determine whether DHEA supplementation helps stop or slow down age-related medical conditions.

DHEA and Adrenal Insufficiency

  • DHEA is one of the hormones made in the adrenal glands
  • Adrenal insufficiency is a condition where the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones.
  • DHEA supplements have been shown to improve sexuality and sense of well-being as well as eliminate depression and anxiety in women with this disorder.
  • Only a doctor can determine if one have adrenal insufficiency and if DHEA, along with other hormones, is needed.
  • Adrenal insufficiency may cause low blood pressure, dizziness, lightheadedness, and swelling of the ankles or legs which need medical attention right away.

DHEA and impotence
DHEA supplementation may help impotent men have and keep an erection.

Application of testosterone dhea cream on the inner thigh may increase bone density in older women. Further reading: Causes of Osteoporosis, Risk Factors, and Prevention - Post Menopausal Women.

Anorexia Nervosa
Some studies suggest that DHEA may help protect against bone loss in anorexia patients that tend to have low levels of DHEA.

Muscle building in athletes

  • DHEA supplements are popular among athletes and body builders for its muscle building and fat burning effects
  • There is still very little proof to support these claims and the effects of the long-term uses especially in high doses is not known yet
  • Other point to consider, the building blocks of testosterone, including DHEA, may negatively affect cholesterol in male athletes by lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol.


  • DHEA helps regulate the immune system.
  • It may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of certain autoimmune diseases such as Lupus.
  • It may reduce the need for medications and the rate of recurrence of sudden outbursts, enhance mental function, and boost bone mass in women with lupus.
  • The safety and effectiveness of DHEA for Lupus patients is unknown yet.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus)

  • HIV patients usually have a very low level of DHEA
  • A study showed a mental function improvement after taking DHEA supplementation in HIV patients.
  • Further studies needed to find out whether DHEA supplementation can improve immune function in HIV sufferers or not.

DHEA and Depression
DHEA has been shown to improve symptoms of depression significantly compared to placebo in people with major depression. But up until now, results from DHEA and depression researches are not conclusive and remains unclear

DHEA for weight loss
Since the results of studies utilizing DHEA to lose weight still conflicting, more researches must be done to ensure its safety and effectiveness in helping overweight people to lose weight. Until then, DHEA shouldn't be used as weight loss supplements.

DHEA for Perimenopause and Menopause

  • Many peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women use DHEA supplements to reduce symptoms of menopause and perimenopause including decreased sex drive, shaggy skin, and vaginal dryness.
  • A study indicated that DHEA supplements did increase the amount of certain hormones in post-menopausal women.
  • But the amount of DHEA to alleviate menopause symptoms remains unclear.
  • Some experts' claim that DHEA help to diminished the menopausal symptoms without risking consumers to breast cancer or cancer of the endometrium (lining to the uterus) as opposed to regular, prescription hormone replacement therapy. Nevertheless, there is still no proof that DHEA does not stimulate these cancers as well.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
DHEA levels appear to be low in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. More studies are needed to determine the effects of DHEA supplements to these two bowel diseases.

Does DHEA really work in treating depression, alleviating symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, impotence, weight loss, building muscle mass, etc.? Well, until now the benefits of DHEA supplementation remain unclear, it may work for some people and may not work for some others. Not to mention there're many side effects of taking DHEA that might occur. Most of the DHEA supplements available in the market today are sold as a dietary supplement, there're still a lot of studies needed to be done before it can be really sold and claimed as to treat various health and non-health problems.


Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.