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an androgen occurring in normal human urine and synthesized from cholesterol; its level decreases with age.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


(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.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


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.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

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 ?
Archer and his collaborators pooled data from two prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials (NCT02013544 and NCT01256684) of intravaginal prasterone dosed at 0.50%, 6.5 mg once daily for 12 weeks; he presented the subgroup analyses at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in San Diego.
Effects of prasterone on corticosteroid requirements of women with systemic lupus erythematosus: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial." Arthritis Rheum, 2002; 46(7):1820-9.
A medication combining the drug prasterone and the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, stabilizes or improves symptoms of the autoimmune disease lupus, according to a study from a company in California.
Low-dose vaginal estrogen is a sec ond-line therapy for symptomatic vulvovaginal atrophy; newer pharmacologic options include dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) suppositories (prasterone), solubilized estradiol capsules, and the selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) ospemifene.
M2 PHARMA-May 23, 2018-Mundipharma Licenses Intrarosa (Prasterone) in MEA Region
In conjunction with the approvals, Mundipharma has gained the commercial rights to Intrarosa (Prasterone) in the Middle East and Africa pursuant to an agreement with Endoceutics Inc.
But the most exciting work in this area involves the use of intravaginal dehy-droepiandrosterone (DHEA) capsules (prasterone), according to Dr.
Michelle Petri of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and her associates reported significant increases of BMD that averaged 1.7% in the lumbar spine and 2% in the hip among 24 women with lupus who took the adrenal androgen prasterone (also known as dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA), compared with 31 women who received placebo.
Petri and her colleagues plan to evaluate the efficacy and safety of prasterone on BMD in women with lupus as a primary end point in a future 6-month trial.
M2 EQUITYBITES-April 5, 2017-AMAG purchases US rights to Intrarosa (Prasterone) for treating post-menopausal VVA women
The objectives of the study was to confirm the local beneficial effects of intravaginal Prasterone on moderate to severe dyspareunia or pain during sexual activity, the most frequent symptom of vulvovaginal atrophy due to menopause or genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).