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Recapture the Power and Vibrancy of Your Youth with DHEA

New research from the past 2 years—some just a couple of months old—proves the effectiveness and safety of this high-impact, natural youth-promoting substance. It begins developing in your cells 8 weeks after conception. But it starts dropping dramatically once you turn 25. Here’s what you can do to replenish it and to reclaim the youthful you…

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What does recapturing your youth mean to you? We recently did an informal survey of some friends who are over fifty and asked them exactly this question. And we got some interesting and illuminating answers. Not one of our friends craved a Hollywood fantasy of youth. Instead they chose sensible and realistic goals, goals I’m sure you share. What they said can easily be summed up…

What I want from life, what being youthful into my fifties, sixties, and beyond means to me is to stay active.

I want to stay on top of my game. To be mentally alert. To be physically able to do things I was able to do when I was in my thirties.

I want to avoid major illnesses and resist the killers that plague our lives today. I want to be able to stand tall and work, play, and enjoy myself without fear of breaking bones.

And I want to look good, without having to rely on obscenely strict diets or obnoxious foods I can’t stand.

This dream of recaptured youth does not have to be a dream. It can be your reality. One of the most exciting and most promising ways to harness your body’s own power of renewal is through a natural substance your body starts producing shortly after conception.1

High impact youth-promoter

This natural substance is DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA is the most abundant steroid hormone in the human body, found in every organ system.

Now don’t let the words steroid hormone alarm you. Natural hormones are vitally important to the healthy functioning of every system in your body.

Hormones are chemical messengers that transport signals from one cell to another. Only a small amount of hormone is required to have an effect. Some of the better-known hormones include insulin, adrenaline, and human growth hormone.

Steroid hormones such as DHEA are simply hormones that are synthesized in your body using cholesterol as a starting point … hence the designation steroid.

Why DHEA is important for recapturing your youth

What makes DHEA important for recapturing your youth is this: It is the precursor to hormones that regulate youthful energy, brain function, sex, and stress. Often called the mother of all hormones, DHEA is the crucial building block of estrogen and testosterone. 2

As important as DHEA is for regulating your overall metabolism and keeping you youthful, it poses one significant problem. It slowly rises in the human blood stream until puberty, and then it soars.

But once someone hits around 25, its levels start dropping and they continue to drop as you get older at a rate of about 2% a year. However, you don’t really begin to feel the effects of lower DHEA levels until your mid-forties.

By age 80, your DHEA blood levels will be only about 15% of where they were during your 20s. And by the time you’re 90, DHEA levels are down to 5%.3

You can see this Aging Effect clearly in Figure 1.

Figure 1

This precipitous drop in DHEA levels in both men and women captured the interest of researchers over 50 years ago. But some of the most exciting studies have been done over the past 15 years, many within the last 2 to 3.

These studies show that DHEA can bring remarkable, wide-ranging improvement to your health with these specific, positive actions:

  • Improves cognitive function
  • Improves energy
  • Decreases cholesterol
  • Regulates bone formation
  • Boosts immunity by stimulating T-cell activity
  • Improves libido
  • Enhances mood
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Stimulates human growth hormone

Regulates thyroid, pituitary, & thymus glands
In addition, DHEA also enhances your health. Two plus decades of research has demonstrated it can do so because it is:

  • Anti-dementia
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-stress
  • Anti-heart disease
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Anti-obesity

It would take a long time to discuss all these long-range effects. But let’s take a few moments to look at some of the latest studies on how DHEA truly can impact your youthfulness regardless of your age.

Bringing youthful energy back into your life

When you’re sluggish with low energy, does it seem like you feel this way all over your body? Right down to your cells?

For good reason—all your energy— whether you’re gardening, golfing, hiking, playing poker, or even just watching TV—comes from power stations in your cells called mitochondria. I won’t go into how your mitochondria harness the food you eat and turn it into energy, but DHEA is a crucial part of the process.

This decrease in energy metabolism in humans is directly correlated with the normal decrease in DHEA levels we experience as we age.4 A double blind, placebo-controlled study treated both male and female volunteers for 12 weeks with DHEA. The study’s subjects reported significantly increased energy regardless of gender.5

The most current research of the energy-enhancing benefit of DHEA is looking into the sub-cellular basis for this boost. One study reported in 2007 that treatment of rats with DHEA significantly stimulated oxidative energy metabolism in liver and brain mitochondria.67

So, DHEA supercharges your mitochondria, giving your body a meaningful but manageable boost in energy. And because DHEA works as part of normal metabolic pathways, it does not cause energy surges and feelings of excessive nervousness you would get from artificial energizers.8

Keeping yourself mentally alert … while protecting your brain

One of the biggest concerns we all face as we age is losing our mental edge. We often express this concern around fear of Alzheimer’s disease. But our brains are complex organs that are susceptible to assault and damage from many sources, not the least of which is normal aging.

Two of the most exciting areas of research into DHEA’s effects on the brain focus on both bolstering brain function and protecting the brain.

Two separate studies, one published in 2008 involving women and one involving men published in 2006, demonstrated that DHEA administered to healthy volunteers improved memory and general mental functioning.

The 2008 study of 295 women concluded that higher endogenous DHEA levels are independently and favorably associated with the ability to follow complex directions, concentration, and working memory.9

The 2006 double blind, placebo controlled study of male subjects demonstrated that DHEA’s effects cross genders:

“DHEA administration led to a reduction in evening cortisol concentrations and improved mood and memory. Recollection in the episodic memory test was significantly improved following DHEA administration.”

Higher DHEA levels are independently and favorably associated with the ability to follow complex directions, concentration, and working memory.10

But the brain-boosting power of DHEA is only one side of its ability to keep your brain strong as you age. DHEA works directly in the brain. (For this reason it’s called a neurosteroid.)11 It is a powerful neuro-protector, which accounts for the interest it has attracted from Alzheimer’s researchers.

DHEA has been extensively investigated for its ability to protect against brain cell death since the late 1990s.12 The promising results in these studies led researchers to look at the more specific case of Alzheimer’s disease.

Here’s how it works: The brains of Alzheimer’s patients contain deposits called senile plaques.13 These structures are strongly implicated in brain cell death and are made up of a substance called beta-amyloid protein.

Recent research (2008) published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment looked at the effect of DHEA on cultured rat brain cells that had been treated with beta-amyloid to simulate Alzheimer’s.14

The researchers found that DHEA blocks excess calcium from being brought into the nerve cells by beta-amyloid, one of the mechanisms suspected of causing brain cell death in Alzheimer’s patients.

While their results are still a long way from proving that DHEA protects against Alzheimer’s, the researchers summarized their study by saying:

“Our results suggest the possible significance of neurosteroids (DHEA), whose levels are reduced in the elderly, in preventing beta-amyloid neurotoxicity.”15

Walking straight and proud… by protecting yourself from osteoporosis

I don’t really care about looking young, one of the respondents to our informal survey answered. But I don’t want to walk old and stooped over. Osteoporosis frightens me.

The problem of osteoporosis goes much deeper than just walking stooped over. The loss of calcium we all experience with age and which correlates directly with dropping DHEA levels leads to much more serious consequences like fractured spines, broken long bones (arms and legs), and serious infections from unhealed breaks.

The solution to the threat of osteoporosis seemed so simple until recently when researchers looked into the problem closely. That simple solution was this: Since osteoporotic bones have reduced calcium, taking more calcium will fix everything.

However, simply adding more calcium to your diet will not keep your bones strong and your back straight.

That’s because metabolism is never simple. It’s now being clinically demonstrated that DHEA is one of the key factors in maintaining strong bones. This can be especially important if you’re a woman, but it’s important regardless of your gender.

A good double blind, placebo-controlled study that demonstrates this was published in 2008 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In this study men and women between 60 and 81 were given oral DHEA supplementation. After supplementation, hip bone mineral density increased in both men and women.16

This study was corroborated by one published in March of 2009. In this very recent study, researchers stated, DHEA supplementation in older women … improves spine bone mineral density when co-administered with vitamin D and calcium.17

What this means to you is this: You can protect yourself against osteoporosis with a balanced, sensible supplementation program that includes DHEA, vitamin D and vitamin K.

And while DHEA is good for your bones, don’t look for it in high-quality bone health supplements. The dosage for DHEA is both gender and age specific, so it’s better to take DHEA separately at a dosage that’s right for you.

Just the beginning of the new, youthful you

The three areas we've just discussed, energy, brain function, and bone-protection are only the beginning when it comes to reclaiming a new, youthful you. Numerous studies over the past 20 years detail exactly how important DHEA is … and how serious its natural decline can be.

Because DHEA is found in every organ system in the human body, this decline has wide-ranging impact on all aspects of your life. Research is starting to show that increasing DHEA levels can help restore health, function, and youthfulness to those organs.

You can see a good example of this wide-ranging effect in a double blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at the University of California School of Medicine (La Jolla). The subjects, men and women, average age 54, were administered DHEA orally for a 6-month period and were evaluated for feelings of physiological and psychological well-being. The researchers concluded:

These observations together with improvement of physical and psychological well-being in both genders and the absence of side-effects constitute the first demonstration of novel effects of DHEA replacement in age-advanced men and women.

But the study uncovered an unexpected side effect. Sixteen percent (16%) of the subjects self-reported marked improvements of preexisting joint pains and mobility during DHEA replacement.1819 This effect was pronounced enough that the subjects told the researchers about it even though it was not part of the study!

This easing of joint pain including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis has been reproduced in recent rodent experiments (2007)20 as well as in test tube experiments reported in 2006 with human cells. 21

Reclaiming a youthful figure while protecting yourself against Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is one of the major killers in the US today. It’s characterized by insulin resistance where your body no longer responds properly to insulin and starts piling weight on your midsection.

Metabolic Syndrome has been proven to contribute to aging, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health problems. A growing body of evidence indicates that DHEA helps control age-related insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. This helps reduce the risks of Metabolic Syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

A 30-day double blind, placebo controlled study showed significant decrease in serum insulin when DHEA was administered nightly. Serum insulin and glucose did not change significantly in the placebo group.22

Two rat studies published in 2008 elucidated on the mechanisms by which DHEA can protect from Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes, and obesity.23 One of these studies concluded that: DHEA treatment decreases body weight and adiposity in old female rats fed a high-fat diet, leading to an improvement of insulin sensitivity.24

Even more good news if you’re looking to recapture the youthful you

DHEA has numerous other clinically demonstrated effects including improved heart function. For instance, one study published in 2006 showed that DHEA reduced left ventricular stiffness in both aged and young mice,25 a condition resulting from heart disease including congestive heart failure.

DHEA has been shown to improve skin condition particularly in women. The authors of this double blind, placebo-controlled study of 280 healthy men and women (ages 60-79) also found significant increase in most libido parameters in these older women.26

Is DHEA supplementation the right path for you?

Numerous researchers have proposed using regular supplementation with DHEA to replace plummeting levels while indirectly slowing aging and improving quality of life.27 The best place to get any natural supplementation is from natural foods if you can. But there are no foods available that provide natural DHEA in sufficient amounts to have any effect.

Consequently, if you want to begin recapturing your youthfulness by harnessing DHEA’s power, you must look toward a sensible supplementation program. DHEA has been found safe when taken in reasonable amounts. For example, a study published in 2000 states: A number of biological indices confirmed the lack of harmful consequences of this 50 mg/day DHEA administration over one year.28

The key here is to stay within reasonable amounts. DHEA is a hormone and works naturally in small amounts in your body. Women should start their supplementation routine at 10 mgs daily after age 40 and increase the amount as they age. Men over 40 should start at 25 mgs daily. They, too, should increase their daily supplementation as they age.

Caution: DHEA (and all supplements) should be kept out of reach of children. Pregnant or lactating women should avoid using DHEA.

Not a Fountain of Youth but a sensible, safe way to reclaim the youthful life you deserve

Think back to our informal survey of friends and what recapturing their youth meant to them. And what it means to you…

You want renewed, lasting energy without feeling jangled and hyped up. You want to be as mentally sharp and alert as you were back in your twenties.

You want to avoid major illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease that deprive you of vitality and sap your physical, emotional, and financial resources.

And you want to look good without having to resort to obscenely strict diets or expensive, dangerous surgeries.

And while DHEA may not be the fountain of youth, it has exactly these powerful effects to bring youthful vigor back to your life. Two prominent researchers Minal A. Patel and Surendra S. Katyare describe it perfectly: DHEA is … a youth hormone.29 

Editor's Note:

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These articles are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a physician before embarking on a dietary supplement program.


  1. Felig, Philip, Lawrence A. Frohman. Endocrinology & Metabolism, 4th Edition, McGraw Hill Professional, 2001; p. 403. 

  2. Mo et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone and its metabolites: differential effects on androgen receptor trafficking and transcriptional activity.The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology(2006) vol. 99 (1) pp. 50-8. 

  3. Regelson, William, M.D., & Colman, Carol. The Superhormone Promise. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 

  4. Chiu. Correlation of serum L-carnitine and dehydro-epiandrosterone sulphate levels with age and sex in …. Age and ageing (1999).

  5. JMorales et al. Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism (1994) vol. 78 (6) pp. 1360-7. 

  6. Patel et al. Stimulation of oxidative energy metabolism in liver mitochondria from old and young rats by …. Age (2007).

    Patel and Katyare. Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) treatment on oxidative energy metabolism in rat liver and ….Clinical Biochemistry (2007).

    Patel and Katyare. Treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) stimulates oxidative energy metabolism in the liver ….Molecular and cellular biochemistry (2006).

    Patel and Katyare. Treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) stimulates oxidative energy metabolism in the cerebral ….Neuroscience letters (2006).

  7. Patel et al. Stimulation of oxidative energy metabolism in liver mitochondria from old and young rats by …. Age (2007).

  8. Baulieu et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and aging: contribution of the DHEAge Study to a …. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2000).

  9. Davis et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels are associated with more favorable cognitive function in women. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism (2008) vol. 93 (3) pp. 801-8.

  10. Davis et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels are associated with more favorable cognitive function in women. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism (2008) vol. 93 (3) pp. 801-8.

  11. Charalampopoulos et al. Neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone exerts anti-apoptotic effects by membrane-mediated, integrated genomic and non-genomic pro-survival signaling pathways. Journal of neurochemistry (2008) vol. 107 (5) pp. 1457-69. 

  12. Aragno et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone protects tissues of streptozotocin-treated rats against oxidative stress. Free radical biology & medicine (1999) vol. 26 (11-12) pp. 1467-74. 

  13. Selkoe DJ. 1991. The molecular pathology of Alzheimer disease.Neuron, 6:487–98. 

  14. Kato-Negishi and Kawahara. Neurosteroids block the increase in intracellular calcium level induced by Alzheimer's beta-amyloid protein in long-term cultured rat hippocampal neurons.Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment (2008) vol. 4 (1) pp. 209-18.

  15. Kato-Negishi and Kawahara. Neurosteroids block the increase in intracellular calcium level induced by Alzheimer's beta-amyloid protein in long-term cultured rat hippocampal neurons.Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment (2008) vol. 4 (1) pp. 209-18 

  16. Jankowski et al. Increases in bone mineral density in response to oral dehydroepiandrosterone replacement in older adults appear to be mediated by serum estrogens. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism (2008) vol. 93 (12) pp. 4767-73. 

  17. Weiss et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy in older adults: 1- and 2-y effects on bone. The American journal of clinical nutrition (2009) pp.

  18.  Morales et al. Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age. TheJournal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism (1994) vol. 78 (6) pp. 1360-7. 

  19. Morales et al. Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age. TheJournal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism (1994) vol. 78 (6) pp. 1360-7. 

  20. Offner et al. An orally bioavailable synthetic analogue of an active DHEA metabolite reduces established disease in rodent models of rheumatoid arthritis. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics (2009) pp. 

  21. Harding et al. The effects of dexamethasone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on cytokines and receptor expression in a human osteoblastic cell line: potential steroid-sparing role for DHEA. Cytokine (2006) vol. 36 (1-2) pp. 57-68. 

  22. Jakubowicz, D. et al (1995) "Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone on cyclic-guanosine monophosphate in age-advanced men" Ann NY Acad Sci 774: 312-15. 

  23. Pérez-de-Heredia et al. Adiponectin is involved in the protective effect of DHEA against metabolic risk in aged rats. Steroids (2008) vol. 73 (11) pp. 1128-36. 

  24. Sánchez et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone prevents age-associated alterations, increasing insulin sensitivity. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry (2008) vol. 19 (12) pp. 809-18. 

  25. Alwardt et al. Comparative effects of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate on ventricular diastolic function with young and aged female mice. American journal of physiology Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology (2006) vol. 290 (1) pp. R251-6. 

  26. Baulieu et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and aging: contribution of the DHEAge Study to a …. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2000). 

  27. Cherniske S. The DHEA Breakthrough. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996.

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Interested in dhea for me and my husband we are 64 and 60 would take it but want somthing natural and the right amount of mgs and good quality. Also does it thin your blood Im taking natural supplements like E fish oil vit E can I still try Dhea?

What time of day is best to take dhea?


For best results, you want to take supplemental DHEA first thing in the morning when you wake up.  That’s the time your body would normally make DHEA.

DHEA supplementation should not interact with prescription drugs and is safe when used as directed.

can i take dhea 20mg a day and oral chelation, if so how?

I have now read that i should take d.i.m with dhea, it can be rather confusing.

This post on the compound DHEA was much informative and useful to me. I am a middle aged man and was searching for ways have youthful looks. This website has helped me a lot to understand more on the tips to be youthful. Electronic Medical Record

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