Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is produced in the Adrenal gland, gonads and the brain. The steroid hormone acts as an intermediate hormone in the biosynthesis of androgen and oestrogen hormones. DHEA also acts as a neurosteroid, and has been observed to improve memory in middle aged and older adults, ref. Grimley Evans, J; Malouf, R; Oct 18, 2006.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation for cognitive function in healthy elderly people. Cochrane database.
In Postmenopausal women DHEA does convert to Testosterone and is ERbeta agonist and may be a potential source of endogenous oestrogen in the body.
The positive effect on mood enhancement of DHEA may be due to increasing GABA in the brain.
DHEA also increases IGF-1 expression.
Side effects of too much DHEA can be an increase in facial and body hair, acne and an increase in oily skin. If taken late at night insomnia may occur.
DHEA declines in men and women from the age of thirty. By the age of 80, DHEA may decline by as much as 80%.
DHEA supplementation is a part of Hormone replacement therapy and not a substitute for oestrogen and androgen replacement in women and men.
Oral administration of DHEA is mostly converted to DHEA-S in the blood.