DHEA - Dehydroepiandrosterone


By Dr. Joline Fernandes

DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone is the most abundant steroid hormone in the plasma which is an intermediate product in the pathway of synthesis of both testosterone and oestrogen. It is synthesised by the adrenal cortex, gonads and brain.

The level of DHEA in the plasma changes during the entire lifespan, it rises during childhood, reaches its peak in young adults and then declines with the increase in age. Its functions are related to age-related changes in the immune system, mood and cognition. It is found that DHEA may help in improving the mood in cases of depression, it can also help to moderate the actions of cortisol and reduce the ill effects of persistent stress.

Supplementation of DHEA as an anti-ageing agent is suspected to decrease bone resorption, while an increased level of DHEA in the serum appears to be related to an increase in bone loss. Supplementation of DHEA may adversely affect the functioning of the liver leading to acne and masculinizing effects.