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DHEA and Testosterone – Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

If you’ve been looking at testosterone-boosting possibilities in the past there’s a good chance you’ve come across DHEA. Testosterone levels could presumably be increased by stocking up on this supplement, and indeed some of the supposed DHEA benefits sound awesome. But what do you really know about this steroid hormone? Before you start taking a daily DHEA dosage for testosterone increase you might want to have a look below…

What is DHEA?

What is DHEA used for?

DHEA benefits for health

DHEA and testosterone

Does DHEA increase testosterone?

DHEA dangers and side effects

What is a normal DHEA dosage?

muscular young man

What is DHEA and what are different forms of DHEA?

Before you even begin to THINK about DHEA supplements you need to know what DHEA is and which different forms of DHEA there are. And is DHEA legal? Is DHEA sold as medication, or is it maybe an over-the-counter supplement?

All these things you wanna know before you think about buying DHEA supplements. You don’t want to just put something in your body because the internet told you to do it, right?


What is DHEA

For all you brainiacs out there, let’s get technical first and start with the science bit.

DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone, also known as androstenolone (as if the first name wasn’t enough). 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 estrogen and – here it comes – testosterone.

Fact – DHEA and testosterone are indeed linked

Ok, so we can conclude for now that there is in fact a link between DHEA and testosterone, but that shouldn’t get your blood pumping just yet. A link between the two doesn’t mean you can go ahead and supplement your diet with a big DHEA dosage to increase testosterone. But, before we go deeper into it’s possible t-boosting powers, let’s get to know that tong-twisting hormone a bit better.

dhea chemical formula

Forms of DHEA

So you know your body naturally makes the stuff, but what if you want an extra top-up? How is DHEA sold exactly? Do you have to resort to nasty injections, can you buy supplements at your local drugstore, do you need a prescription for DHEA? Who knows, maybe you can just boost it with the right DHEA food sources.

Luckily, we know.

First of all: no, you cannot increase DHEA with food, unfortunately. No food contains DHEA. The closest things you can find in nature are wild yams and soy. They contain something similar to DHEA which, in fact, is used to make actual DHEA supplements. However, your body needs more than just that to actually raise your DHEA levels.

So don’t bother going crazy and stuffing your face with yams and soy. It won’t raise your DHEA. Probably, it’ll just make you really, really sick…


These wild yams and soy ARE often the basis for DHEA supplements though. This is the most common form of DHEA on the market. Confusingly enough, DHEA is known under many different names, all meaning basically the same thing, so if you see any of the following you know you’re dealing with DHEA:

  • DHEA
  • Prasterone
  • DHEA-S
  • DHEA Sulfate
  • Prasterone Sulfate

And then we haven’t even mentioned all the different product names, like Intrarosa and Gynodian Depot…

Now maybe you’re thinking: “those last two sound weirdly familiar…but I definitely didn’t hear about them from my bros in the gym…”

You are correct. These two products are in fact used by women who have reached menopause and struggle with certain ‘intimate difficulties’, so to speak. That is because there are possible DHEA benifits for men and women alike. Just make sure when you do end up getting DHEA supplements you get the right one!

And that brings us to the next point: what about legal DHEA supplements? So these two mentioned above are legally sold as over-the-counter medication in the United States. Aside from these there are loads of different forms of DHEA supplements, both legal and illegal, which can be taken in a multitude of ways: by injection into your muscle, in through the vagina, applied to the skin, or orally as a supplement. The ways seems endless.

What is DHEA used for?

You get it, DHEA is many, many things. But what is DHEA exactly used for? After browsing the internet it becomes clear DHEA is used for many puposes as well, helping with:

  • Adrenal deficiency
  • Depression
  • Lupus
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Skin care
  • Osteoporosis
  • Menopause
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s

Again, the list seems endless, but do bear in mind that most of these uses are not backed by science or at least not proven with solid evidence.

Now if you’re a bright fellah with some analytical skill you probably noticed a pattern in that list of uses: they are all (possibly) age-related problems. And that’s the main reason why people take DHEA supplements: for anti-again purposes.

man wrinkles

DHEA benefits for health

The list of DHEA benefits kind of mimics the list above. Some of the benefits associated with DHEA supplements are:

  • Increasing energy
  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Boosting memory and general mood
  • Decreasing fat mass
  • Improving sexual function
  • Slowing down general changes associated with age

These are just a few of the supposed DHEA benefits for men and women alike. For women specifically one of the additional benefits associated with Prasterone is treating dyspareunia (pain during or after sex).

Again, if you are a bright fellah you will look at that list of benefits and think to yourself “gosh, those benefits do sure look a lot like the testosterone benefits I’ve been reading about…”

And that brings us to the main event of today’s blog post: DHEA and Testosterone.


DHEA and Testosterone – Why Do People Use DHEA to Increase Testosterone?

DHEA & Testosterone = a match made in heaven?

Many people use DHEA for low testosterone. When we age, our testosterone levels naturally decrease, because 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, fat comes on much quicker: your body ages as your t-levels decrease.

Now the exact same thing happens with DHEA. Your levels decline as you get older; similarly adding to the aging process. Because DHEA helps produce other hormones like testosterone, it seems logical to conclude that less DHEA = less testosterone, and thus that automatically more DHEA = more testosterone.

But just because it sounds good doesn’t automatically mean it’s true…


Does DHEA increase testosterone?

Let’s really get ourselves balls-deep into the science for this one. Time to collect some research.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (couldn’t resist using that tongue-twister one more time) is one of the major steroid hormones connected to aging, studies confirm. However, this doesn’t mean that DHEA should be considered the ‘fountain of youth’, as some studies have affectionately labeled DHEA’s potential rejuvinating qualities.

It gets even more blurred when we look at DHEA supplementation and how this may affect testosterone. 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 – has not found evidence for positive effects of DHEA supplementation on testosterone. But, there does seem to be good news for ladies; as prasterone does seem to help their postmenopausal pains, resulting in the FDA’s approval of products containing DHEA for this purpose.

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 DHEA supplementation works.


DHEA dangers and side effects

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

Be prepared: the following list is long and nasty!

Possible DHEA side effects:

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

The list of DHEA side effects for women even go 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?


Read also:  What is depo testosterone? >>

What is a normal DHEA dosage?

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.

But, that’s just an opinion, and if you are set on going ahead with DHEA then definitely no judgment here bro. 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 DHEA dosage:

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

man kettlebell


Everything above is aimed at giving you a detailed overview of what DHEA is, how DHEA and testosterone are linked, whether a proper DHEA dosage to increase testosterone works, and in general how safe supplementation is.

Unfortunately, with conclusive evidence lacking and the list of side effects being longer than your weekly grocery list, you might want to think twice about using DHEA supplements. Nevertheless, the ultimate conclusion is simple: in the end the choice is always yours.

Read also: Is testosterone a steroid? >>

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