DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone, is produced by the adrenal glands in the liver and in male testes. Dietary supplements manufacture DHEA from soy and wild yam. DHEA is metabolized to androstenedione, and then testosterone or estrogen. Men have higher DHEA levels than women. Low DHEA levels affect mortality in men more than women. Side effects include liver dysfunction, mania, abdominal pain, and hypertension. The recommended dose for most indications is 25 to 50mg once daily.
DHEA improves erectile dysfunction because of its androgenic properties. DHEA improves erectile dysfunction symptoms, orgasmic function, sexual desire, and overall satisfaction. Men with idiopathic erectile dysfunction or with high blood pressure respond well to DHEA; however, DHEA is ineffective for erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes or neurological disorders. The dose of DHEA for erectile dysfunction is 50 mg once daily.
Improve Bone Mineral Density
Bone loss in men is possibly caused by the loss of androgen during aging. This results in reduced bone mineral density and bone formation. DHEA doses of 50 to 100mg once daily improves bone mineral density in men with pre-existing osteoporosis or osteopenia, but not in otherwise healthy men over 60 years of age. The use of DHEA to improve bone mineral density appears safe in elderly men.
DHEA levels decrease with aging and contributes to the dermatological signs of aging. A 2000 study by Dr. Baulieu published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America," reported 50mg once daily of DHEA increased skin thickness, improved skin hydration, and decreased facial skin pigmentation. Although these findings were more predominant in women, men also benefited from DHEA supplementation. Study participants took DHEA for one year without significant adverse effects.