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DHEA and Testosterone – Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

If you’ve been looking at testosterone-boosting options before you’ve probably heard of DHEA. There are loads of DHEA testosterone boosters out there, but what do you actually know about this steroid hormone and what it does to your body?

DHEA benefits supposedly include increased fat burn, boosted libido, and raised testosterone levels. It’s also a popular supplement among bodybuilding fanatics. So yes, the benefits sound great.

But before you take a daily DHEA dosage for testosterone increase or excess fat burn, you might want to keep reading. There’s much more to it than this, and it’s not all that positive…

What is DHEA?
What does DHEA do and how does it work?
DHEA benefits for health
DHEA and testosterone
DHEA side effects and potential risks
DHEA dosage for testosterone

muscular young man

What is DHEA?

Below, you’ll find out all about DHEA, testosterone, and how you might benefit from DHEA. But first, let’s have a quick look at what it actually is.

Let’s start with the technical side of things. DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone, also known as androstenolone. Its chemical formula is C19H28O2.

DHEA is a so-called endogenous steroid hormone, which means that your body produces it on its own (in the brain, adrenal glands, and gonads). In other words, you already have DHEA in your body; naturally.

This newly-born hormone then goes on to help your body produce even more, different hormones. Some of these hormones include testosterone and estrogen.

So yes. DHEA and testosterone are linked. But that’s not the full story. A link between the two doesn’t mean you should just go ahead and supplement your daily diet with a DHEA dosage for testosterone. Why not?

You’ll find out in a bit. But, before we go deeper into its testosterone-boosting potential, let’s look closer at how DHEA works in your body.

dhea chemical formula

What does DHEA do and how does it work?

You probably know that testosterone levels decrease as you age, but did you know the same is true for your DHEA levels?

In fact, studies show that DHEA levels may decrease up to 80% during the course of your adult life. This decline starts as early as age 30, which suggests that most adults might benefit from DHEA supplementation.

So DHEA decreases significantly as you age, but what does this mean for your health? In other words, what does DHEA do exactly?

On its own, dehydroepiandrosterone doesn’t do that much. It possesses some androgenic activity, but only mildly. Instead, DHEA’s power mostly lies in it being a precursor to more potent hormones such as the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and the female hormone estrogen.

Due to it being a precursor to other hormones it’s difficult to say exactly what effects are caused by DHEA directly, and what effects are caused by the other hormones that are triggered by DHEA.

Regardless, studies have repeatedly associated low DHEA levels with health issues such as early mortality, heart disease, and depression. This brings us to the next section. What are the benefits of taking DHEA?

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DHEA benefits for health

Let’s start this section with a list. You see, DHEA has been linked to many bodily processes as it affects multiple key hormones. Because of this, DHEA has been used to treat a long list of conditions including:

  • Adrenal deficiency
  • Signs of aging
  • Depression
  • Lupus
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Skincare
  • Osteoporosis
  • Menopause
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s

Although this is quite an impressive list, most of these uses are not supported by (enough) scientific evidence.

For example, DHEA supplements are often used for anti-aging purposes, but there is currently no substantial evidence to support this claim. There simply haven’t been enough studies conducted to prove this theory.

Similarly, DHEA is often used to treat depression, but research has not proven its effectiveness. One study did see a significant improvement among subjects, but there is still much more research needed to fully understand the effect of DHEA on depression.

Scientific results have been equally mixed for most of the other associated benefits in the list above.

One benefit that’s mentioned time and again is how DHEA can increase your testosterone levels. But is this true, or is it just another wild claim that’s not based on scientific proof? Let’s find out.

DHEA and Testosterone

The most common use of dehydroepiandrosterone is probably in testosterone boosters and bodybuilding supplements. These supplements supposedly raise your testosterone levels to give you all the benefits that come with higher T-levels.

Why do people use DHEA for testosterone?

When we age our testosterone levels naturally decrease. Our bodies simply don’t produce as much of it as they used to. As a result, you have less energy, your muscles become weaker, and fat comes on much quicker. Your body ages as your t-levels decrease.

As we’ve seen, the exact same thing happens with DHEA. Now because DHEA helps produce testosterone, it seems logical to conclude that less DHEA = less testosterone, and more DHEA = more testosterone.

This suggests that DHEA supplements can give you the benefits you get from boosting your testosterone levels, which are:

  • Increased energy
  • Stronger bones and improved bone density
  • Enhanced muscle growth and muscle strength
  • Immune support
  • Boosted memory and general mood
  • Decreased body fat mass
  • Improved sexual function

The muscle-building potential leads to another use of these supplements, which is DHEA for bodybuilding.

Now all of this seems very promising. But just because it all sounds logical, doesn’t automatically mean it’s true.

Does DHEA increase testosterone?

Unfortunately, the answer is most likely no. Different studies have reached different conclusions, but the vast majority of studies did not find a DHEA testosterone boost.

This study, for example, found a small – yet significant – effect of supplementation of DHEA on testosterone. However, definitely the majority of studies – like this one – have not found evidence for positive effects of supplementation on testosterone.

Quite frankly, if you dig deeper into DHEA you will find loads of studies; with loads of different conclusions. The most important thing to take from this is that there is no conclusive evidence that supplementation works.

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DHEA side effects and potential risks

Ironically enough, what researchers do all seem to agree upon are the dangers and side effects of DHEA.

Possible potential risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Acne
  • Oily skin
  • Hair loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach

The list of DHEA side effects for women even goes a bit further, reportedly including:

  • Facial hair
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle

Ouch! That’s not exactly an appealing list, and if you think about the fact that there isn’t even any conclusive evidence for DHEA’s effectiveness, it makes you wonder why people would risk it, right?

DHEA dosage for testosterone

With inconclusive research like that and a long list of nasty side effects, it just seems better to stick to more natural ways to try and boost your testosterone, instead of taking DHEA supplementation.

Suggested read: 10 incredible testosterone-boosting foods

But, that’s just my opinion. If you are set on going ahead with DHEA then that is up to you of course. This post is just to give you all the info out there, but in the end, the decision is always yours!

So if you do want to give it a try, here’s some info about the usual DHEA dosage to potentially raise your testosterone levels:

DHEA dosage

Weak/minimal DHEA dosage 10-25 mg per day
Normal DHEA dosage 25-50 mg per day
Strong DHEA dosage 50+ mg per day

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Conclusion

Everything above gives you a clear overview of what DHEA is, how it’s linked to your testo levels, whether a proper DHEA dosage to increase testosterone works, and in general how safe its supplementation is.

Unfortunately, conclusive evidence is lacking and the list of potential side effects is longer than your weekly grocery list. So you might want to think twice before using DHEA supplements.

Alternatively, you can look at a natural testosterone-boosting supplement such as TestoGen, which safely raises your t-levels without causing any harmful side effects.

Find out more about TestoGen >>

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