I first started taking DHEA supplements decades ago when my neurologist recommended I try it for pain relief. It didn’t seem to help the pain, but it did seem to give me energy.
Since then, I’ve periodically stopped taking it for several weeks at a time to see if it was even helping, but I think I always feel better when I take it. It’s hard to tell with such subtle changes, but every little bit helps. (I take 50mg)
From what I found in these 4 articles on PubMed, there’s some evidence of benefit and no evidence of harms, so it seems safe to try.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEAS) have been reported to have memory enhancement effects in humans. A neuro-stimulatory action and an anti-cortisol mechanism of action may contribute to that relation
We measured salivary DHEA, DHEAS and cortisol both before each task and at 30 and 60 min. Under working memory load, a higher baseline cortisol/DHEA ratio was related to higher distraction as indexed by an enhanced novelty P3.
This suggests that cortisol may lead to increased distraction whereas DHEA may hinder distraction by leading to less processing of the distractor.
An increased DHEA production with consecutive cognitive tasks was found and higher DHEA responses attributed to working memory load were related to enhanced working memory processing as indexed by an enhanced visual P300
Overall, the results suggest that in women DHEA may oppose cortisol effects reducing distraction and that a higher DHEA response may enhance working memory at the electrophysiological level.
Influence of cortisol and DHEA-S on pain and other symptoms in post menopausal women with fibromyalgia. – PubMed – NCBI – J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2012
OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) levels in post-menopausal women with FMS and correlate it with pain threshold and tolerance, depression and quality of life.
In the FMS group, a tangential effect was observed for DHEA-S (p=0.094) and positive correlations were found between DHEA-S, pain threshold (p=0.017) and pain tolerance (p=0.044). No correlation was observed between cortisol and DHEA-S levels and the variables of depression and quality of life for either group.
CONCLUSIONS: There seems to be an influence of the decreased levels of DHEA-S and increased pain sensitivity in post-menopausal women with FMS.
The balance between DHEAS and DHEA has been suggested to influence brain functioning
We explored DHEAS, DHEA, cortisol, DHEA/cortisol and DHEAS/DHEA ratios relations to the processing of negative emotional stimuli at behavioral and brain levels by recording the electroencephalogram of 21 young women while performing a visual task with implicit neutral or negative emotional content in an audio–visual oddball paradigm
For each condition, salivary DHEA, DHEAS and cortisol were measured before performing the task and at 30 and 60 min intervals
DHEA increased after task performance, independent of the implicit emotional content.
With implicit negative emotion, higher DHEAS/DHEA and DHEA/cortisol ratios before task performance were related to shorter visual P300 latencies suggesting faster brain processing under a negative emotional context
In addition, higher DHEAS/DHEA ratios were related to reduced visual P300 amplitudes, indicating less processing of the negative emotional stimuli
With this study, we could show that at the electrophysiological level, higher DHEAS/DHEA and DHEA/cortisol ratios were related to shorter stimulus evaluation times suggesting less interference of the implicit negative content of the stimuli with the tas
Furthermore, higher DHEAS/DHEA ratios were related to reduced processing of negative emotional stimuli which may eventually constitute a protective mechanism against negative information overload.
Several studies suggest that DHEA may improve well-being, quality of life, exercise capacity, sex drive, and hormone levels in people with insufficient adrenal function (Addison’s disease). Though promising, additional study is needed to make a strong recommendation.
The majority of clinical trials investigating the effect of DHEA on depression support its use for this purpose under the guidance of specialist
The majority of clinical trials investigating the effect of DHEA on weight or fat loss support its use for this purpose.
Systemic lupus erythematosus
The majority of clinical trials investigating the effect of DHEA for systemic lupus erythematosus support its use as an adjunct treatmen
Chronic fatigue syndrome
The scientific evidence remains unclear regarding the effects of DHEA supplementation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Initial research reports that DHEA supplements are safe for short-term use in patients with Crohn’s disease.
DHEA supplementation may be beneficial in women with ovulation disorders
Below is an article showing benefit from a related hormone:
Functional Metabolomics Reveals Novel Active Products in the DHA Metabolome – Front Immunol. 2012 – Free full-text PMC article
Endogenous mechanisms for successful resolution of an acute inflammatory response and the local return to homeostasis are of interest because excessive inflammation underlies many human diseases
In this review, we provide an update and overview of functional metabolomics that identified a new bioactive metabolome of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Systematic studies revealed that DHA was converted to DHEA-derived novel bioactive products as well as aspirin-triggered forms of protectins (AT-PD1).
The new oxygenated DHEA-derived products
- blocked PMN chemotaxis,
- reduced P-selectin expression and platelet-leukocyte adhesion, and
- showed organ protection in ischemia/reperfusion injury.
These products activated cannabinoid receptor (CB2 receptor) and not CB1 receptors.
The AT-PD1 reduced neutrophil (PMN) recruitment in murine peritonitis.
With human cells, AT-PD1 decreased transendothelial PMN migration as well as enhanced efferocytosis of apoptotic human PMN by macrophage
The recent findings reviewed here indicate that DHEA oxidative metabolism and aspirin-triggered conversion of DHA produce potent novel molecules with anti-inflammatory and organ-protective properties, opening the DHA metabolome functional roles.