DHEA Benefits Testosterone
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
If you've been looking at testosterone-boosting options before you've probably heard of DHEA. DHEA is a claimed testosterone booster that's widely available. But what exactly does it do to the body and how can you use it?
DHEA is said to have many benefits, including increased fat burning, an improved libido and higher testosterone levels. It has to be said that the benefits do sound good.
You might want to read on before taking a DHEA daily dosage for increased testosterone or fat loss. It's more complicated than that, and the results are not always positive.
- What is DHEA?
- How does DHEA work and what does it do?
- DHEA health benefits
- DHEA and Testosterone
- DHEA Side Effects and Potential Risks
- DHEA dosage for testosterone
You'll learn all about DHEA and testosterone below, as well as how DHEA can benefit you. Let's first take a look at exactly what DHEA is.
What is DHEA?
Let's start with the technical aspect. DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone, also known as androstenolone. The chemical formula of DHEA is C19H28O2.
DHEA, also known as endogenous steroids, is produced by your own body (in the adrenal glands and in the gonads). You already produce DHEA naturally.
The newly produced hormone helps your body to produce more hormones. These hormones can include estrogen and testosterone.
So yes. DHEA is linked to testosterone. It's important to note that this is not the whole story. The fact that there is a link does not mean you need to supplement your diet every day with DHEA for testosterone. Why?
In a moment, you'll learn more. But, before we go deeper into its testosterone-boosting potential, let's look closer at how DHEA works in your body.
How does DHEA work and what does it do?Did you know your DHEA level decreases as you age?
Studies show that DHEA can decrease by up to 80% over the course of adulthood. The decline begins as young as 30 years old, which means that many adults could benefit from DHEA supplements.
What exactly does DHEA actually do?
On its own, dehydroepiandrosterone doesn't do that much. The androgenic properties are mild. DHEA is a powerful precursor of more potent androgenic hormones, such as testosterone, dihydrotestosterone(DHT), and estrogen.
It's hard to tell which effects DHEA has directly and which effects the hormones are having that DHEA triggers.
Studies have shown that low DHEA is associated with various health problems, including early mortality, depression, and heart disease. We now move on to the following section. What are the advantages of DHEA supplementation?
DHEA health benefits
This section will begin with a short list. DHEA is linked to multiple bodily functions as it influences several key hormones. DHEA is used for a variety of ailments, including:
- Adrenal deficiency
- Age-related signs
- The following are some of the ways to reduce your risk:
- Testosterone deficiency
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart disease
This list is impressive, but most of the uses listed aren't supported (enough by) scientific evidence.
DHEA is often taken as a supplement to help with anti-aging, however, there are no studies that support the claim. This theory has not been proven by enough research.
DHEA, too, is used as a treatment for depression. However, research has yet to prove its efficacy. In one study, there was a noticeable improvement in the subjects. However, more research is needed to understand DHEA's effect on depression.
The scientific results are also mixed on most other benefits listed above.
DHEA is said to increase testosterone. Is this true or just another unfounded claim?
Testosterone and DHEA
The most common use of dehydroepiandrosterone is probably in testosterone boosters and bodybuilding supplements. The supplements are supposed to raise testosterone levels and give you the many benefits of higher T levels.
Why do people use DHEA for testosterone?
As we grow older, our levels of testosterone naturally decline. It's just that our bodies don't make as much as they once did. You will have less energy and your muscles weaken. Fat also accumulates much faster. Essentially, you will feel 'older'.
We've already seen that DHEA does the same. DHEA is a hormone that helps to produce testosterone. Therefore, it makes sense that more DHEA would lead to more testosterone.
DHEA can provide you with the same benefits as boosting testosterone, such as those outlined below:
- Energy consumption increases
- Bone density and strength increased
- Muscle strength and growth are enhanced.
- Immune support
- Memory and mood are improved.
- Reduced Body Fat Mass
- Sexual function improved
DHEA is used as a bodybuilding supplement because people believe it has the potential to build muscle.
All of this sounds very promising. Just because something sounds rational doesn't mean that it is true.
Does DHEA increase testosterone?
Unfortunately, it is likely that the answer will be no. Diverse studies reached different conclusions. However, the majority did not show a DHEA boost in testosterone.
In this study, supplementation with DHEA had a significant, effect on testosterone, but also estradiol and DHEA-S levels. The result wasn't any improvement of muscle mass or fat loss.
That said, a 2013 study found that supplementing oral DHEA did prevent the fall of free testosterone in sedentary middle aged men after a bout of high intensity interval trainng (HIIT).
A meta-analysis of 42 studies did find that females and younger, healthier people benefited the most from DHEA supplementation.
Is DHEA Legal?
DHEA is a banned substance under the rules of the World-Anti Doping Association (WADA).
Therefore, express extra caution when you are looking at the ingredients label on supplements.
DHEA appears on dietary supplement labels by various names, but some names we have seen recently include:
However, it is not illegal to use outside of competitive sport.
DHEA Side Effects and Potential Risks
Researchers seem to be in agreement about the side effects and dangers of DHEA.
The following are some of the possible risks:
- Skin oily
- Hair loss
- Blood pressure
- Stomach upset
According to reports, the list of side effects from DHEA for women goes a little further.
- Facial hair
- Voice deepening
- Menstrual Cycle Changes
This is not a very appealing list. And, if we consider that DHEA isn't allowed to use in competitive sport it is a risk probably not worth taking.
DHEA dosage for testosterone
If you're interested in giving it a go, then here are some details about how much DHEA is usually taken to raise testosterone:
- Weak/minimal DHEA dosage 10-25 mg per day
- Normal DHEA dosage 25-50 mg per day
- Strong DHEA dosage 50+ mg per day
The information above will give you an overview of DHEA, its relationship to testosterone, whether it is safe to supplement with DHEA to boost your levels and how effective the dosage is.
The list of possible side effects is worth consideration, as is the position of WADA. You might think twice about taking DHEA.
Alternatively, you can look at a natural testosterone-boosting supplement such as Military Muscle, which safely raises your t-levels without causing any harmful side effects.