DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is made in large amounts in the adrenal glands of both sexes and is the most abundant steroid hormone in the body. DHEA facilitates vibrancy and good health in men and women. DHEA levels drop more dramatically with age than any of the other hormones. This is unfortunate because DHEA has so many functions in the body. It serves as precursor to male and female sex hormones including testosterone, estrogen and cortisol and can produce these hormones in the body when necessary.
DHEA protects against stress and inflammation, increases bone mineral density, enhances immune system function, increases libido improves mood, reduces body fat and cholesterol, and is essential for protein building and repair. DHEA also enhances memory and overall brain function and promotes the restorative rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. DHEA may be beneficial in treating autoimmune disorders such as lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Low DHEA levels have been reported in some people with anorexia, end-stage kidney disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes, AIDS, adrenal insufficiency, and in the critically ill. DHEA levels may be depleted by a number of drugs, including insulin, corticosteroids, and opiates.