Research has shown that DHEA supplementation, either oral or as a cream could benefit women and men looking to stimulate their body’s natural production of testosterone and estrogen.

I see it as an alternative to using bio-identical testosterone or estrogens in the early phases of peri-menopause or andropause (in men) when hormones are just starting to show signs of decline.

The interesting thing about DHEA is that when supplemented it has the potential to do three things in the body…

1) make androgens like cortisol and epinephrine (good if you’re low on them)

2) make testosterone

3) make estrogen

Unfortunately, once it gets in there’s no way to encourage it to go down a particular pathway. 

This is why I typically use it in clients who have low DHEA-s and both estrogen and testosterone. 

Recently I’ve started to use it for men and women with low DHEA-s levels and are experiencing symptoms of low DHEA.

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What are the signs of low DHEA?

  • decreased libido
  • increased inflammation
  • decreased circulation
  • not feeling strong and vital
  • depressed mood
  • decreased muscle strength
  • poor mobility
  • increased symptoms of cardiovascular disease
  • insulin resistance

With low DHEA symptoms associated with aging it’s been touted as one of the anti-aging “must haves”.

What impresses me is it’s ability to keep the interleukins involved in inflammation in check. 

In my athletic clients that use DHEA I’ve seen less soreness with and after workouts over time.

This tells me that DHEA supplementation has the potential to keep you moving well for longer!

Another consistent result that I’ve seen with DHEA supplementation is increased libido.

Most of my clients that use DHEA report having an overall better feeling about their vitality, strength and moods.

The most common phrase is, “I feel better in my body.”

Could DHEA be an alternative to adding in estrogens or testosterone for those that want to support their body’s natural production of hormones?

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Quite possibly!

Now before you go out and buy some DHEA, there are some things I want you to know!

Testing to ensure levels of DHEA-s in the blood are low or low normal is key.

You don’t want to add DHEA to a body that already has sufficient levels. 

If you’re a woman who still has your uterus you’ll want to take progesterone with DHEA as DHEA can trigger estrogen production that thickens the lining of your uterus. 

I also highly recommend doing a urine hormone metabolism test before starting DHEA. 

If you know how you break down DHEA you can predict what side effects you may have and can make adjustments to prevent them.

What are the side effects of DHEA supplementation?

  • hair loss – it can cause the hormone DHT to build up
  • anxiety – it can increase cortisol production in someone that already has high cortisol
  • acne – it’s an androgen so if you’re prone to acne you want to think about this
  • estrogen excess – if you’re prone to poor detox of estrogens it can worsen this situation

The side effects of DHEA kept me from recommending it for clients for years till I realized that microdosing of it is an option.

There’s a liquid form from Biomatrix that you take orally.

It has 2 mg of DHEA per drop compared to the 5-50 mg capsules on the market. 

Plus you can add a little DHEA to a bioidentical cream such as progesterone and get both in at once. 

With advances in delivery of DHEA I’m finding more ways to use it to increase overall well being. 

While many functional medicine docs are heading toward medications like Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) on a daily basis for anti-aging I’m considering a few drops of DHEA instead.

Obviously, safety first – test and don’t guess!

You can order your own labs at Labcorp Ondemand and via

I’m happy to review labs and consult on your hormones – just ask!

Have a great weekend!

Here’s to your health,

Dr. J

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