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an androgen occurring in normal human urine and synthesized from cholesterol; its level decreases with age.

de·hy·dro·ep·i·an·dros·ter·one (DHEA),

A steroid secreted chiefly by the adrenal cortex, but also by the testis; it is the principal precursor of urinary 17-ketosteroids. Weakly androgenic itself, it is metabolized to δ-5 androstenediol, a hormone with both androgenic and estrogenic effects, and is one of the precursors of testosterone. Serum levels are elevated in adrenal virilism. It may function as a neurotransmitter.

DHEA secretion begins during fetal life, reaches a peak in the third decade, and declines steadily thereafter; the level at age 80 is only 10-20% of the peak level. This decline has been speculatively associated with the changes of aging. Commercial formulations of DHEA are marketed as dietary supplements, although this substance is neither a nutrient nor a component of the human food chain. DHEA has been promoted for the prevention of degenerative diseases including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer dementia, parkinsonism, and other effects of aging. None of the alleged benefits has been demonstrated in large, randomized clinical trials. Limited studies in animals and human subjects suggest that DHEA reduces the percentage of body fat, perhaps by blocking the storage of energy as fat. Long-term administration to postmenopausal women has been associated with insulin resistance, hypertension, and reduction of LDL cholesterol levels. An analysis of 16 preparations of DHEA by high-performance liquid chromatography showed a variation in content from 0-150% of the labeled strength; only seven products fell between the expected 90-110% of labeled strength.


/de·hy·dro·epi·an·dros·ter·one/ (DHEA) (-ep″e-an-dros´ter-ōn) a steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, the major androgen precursor in females; often present in excessive amounts in patients with adrenal virilism.




(DHEA) (dē-hī'drō-ep-ē-an-dros'tĕr-ōn)
Steroid agent related to male hormones that has been advocated as able to prevent physiologic consequences of aging, without studies that confirm benefit or safety.


Quantitatively the principal male sex hormone (ANDROGEN), of the adrenal cortex. Output declines with age, a decline thought by some to be causally related to ageing and to the development of various diseases. It is thought likely that, given to elderly people in dosage that would restore the blood levels to those of young adults, the hormone would improve physical and psychological well-being. The hormone has also been claimed to be effective in treating depression and osteoporosis.


n See DHEA.


an androgen occurring in normal human urine and synthesized from cholesterol.

Patient discussion about dehydroepiandrosterone

Q. Is DHEA supplement beneficial, if so to what extent? I am an athlete and a high school student. I gain extra fat during exam time and it becomes difficult to shed them easily. Is DHEA supplement beneficial, if so to what extent?

A. Hi. I would pay attention to the warnings in the answers from Corey and Aprilbean. I've checked it out in my book on Nutrituonal Healing and you are still at an age when your body is producing it naturally. It declines later in life, especially after 40. It said; "CAUTION SHOULD BE EXERCISED WHEN TAKING THIS SUPPLEMENT". Some physicians believe that it may suppress the bodies natural ability to synthesize this hormone. High doses can lead to liver damage. I'd rethink this idea Waylon.

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References in periodicals archive ?
If approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this indication, prasterone would be appropriate as a first-line treatment for patients with mild to moderate disease, experts said.
Overall, 58% of women treated with prasterone experienced improvement or stabilization of their SLE, based on four disease-score instruments, compared with 46% of those in the placebo group, a statistically significant difference, reported Dr.
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When the analysis of this study is complete we plan to meet with the FDA and determine our course of action for Prestara(TM), our formulation of prasterone.
Separately, there is also a clinical trial of prasterone being conducted by Genovate Biotechnology Co.
The active ingredient in Prestara(TM) is prasterone, the synthetic equivalent of the androgenic hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the lead author of the paper which is entitled "Effects of Prasterone on Disease Activity and Symptoms in Women with Active Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Results of a Multicenter Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.