DHEA, the full name being Dehydroepiandrosterone, is a natural steroid hormone precursor that is produced in the body of both, men and women. It is mainly created from the cholesterol present in the body, by adrenal glands, the gonads, adipose tissue and brain. DHEA is also produced in the skin, by an autocrine mechanism. A precursor of androstenedione, it is further converted into the androgen - testosterone and the estrogens - estrone and estradiol and is classified as a potent sigma-1 agonist.
Since the amount of DHEA produced by the body declines significantly with age, the hormone may be taken in the form of artificial supplements as well. In fact, DHEA has been classified as a dietary supplement and is available without a prescription, as an over-the-counter supplement. Touted to be a wonder drug or a 'fountain of youth', the hormone is used to treat many age-related ailments, one of them being decrease in sexual desire or performance. In the following lines, we will know how does DHEA work in the body.
Working of DHEA In Human Body
DHEA is produced in the human body, from cholesterol, mainly by the adrenal glands i.e. the small glands that sit above the kidneys. As for the working of the hormone, there is no conclusion as to what DHEA, in itself, does. What is clear is that it is converted by the human body, into other steroid hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. In other words, DHEA can be considered as a prohormone for the sex steroids.
Whether DHEA will produce more of testosterone or estrogen differs from one person to another and there are no set patterns regarding the same. While in some people, DHEA is converted mainly into testosterone, others experience an abundance of estrogen. The more noticeable effects of DHEA, on the human body, range from increased sex drive to higher energy levels. It is also believed to help in building muscle and burning fat.