Before puberty blood DHEA levels both in males and females is very low. However it rapidly increases at puberty and starting in late 20s or early 30s levels begin to decrease with age.
A DHEA supplement may benefit those who have adrenal deficiency and low levels. The benefit from a supplement (in men and women who are deficient) include improved sense of wellbeing, more alertness and stamina, and enhanced sexual interest and libido. Blood levels of all the steroid hormones that derive from DHEA metabolism are often increased when people take this hormone pill. This may lead to both beneficial and harmful effects. The overall benefit from a supplement must be balanced against potential side effects. Mid to late fifties is the time that some people start noticing benefits from taking this hormone. Others may never need to use hormone replacement therapy.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (D-hi-dro-epp-E-an-dro-ster-own) is a hormone made by the adrenal glands located just above the kidneys. Scientists have known about it since 1934 but it became available to the public without a prescription in 1995, shortly thereafter pregnenolone became available. More than 150 hormones are made by the adrenal glands. However, the most abundant is DHEA. Humans are thought to make between 10 and 15 mg a day. These numbers are lower in women by about 10 to 20 %. After it is made by these glands it goes into the bloodstream and from then on it travels all over the body and goes into our cells where it is converted into male hormones, known as androgens, and female hormones, known as estrogens. Small amounts are also made in the brain by neurons (brain cells). Many doctors prescribe this hormone supplement to their patients in high dosages without realizing the risks and dangers it can cause.