DHEA is an abbreviation for dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone
produced primarily in the adrenal glands. DHEA is also produced
in other parts of the body including the testicles, ovaries, and
brain. After production, the bloodstream carries DHEA to tissues
and cells. Some of it is converted to sex hormones testosterone
How is DHEA produced in the body?
In the body, cholesterol is the starting material to make all
steroid hormones in the body. In the adrenal glands, cholesterol
is converted to pregnenolone. Therefore pregnenolone is the very
top of the hormone pyramid. Pregnenolone is converted to DHEA
and a number of sex hormones including testosterone and estrogens.
What is a steroid?
Steroids are hormones. All of the steroid hormones produced in
the body are made using cholesterol as the starting material.
Some of the steroid hormones include DHEA, pregnenolone and the
female hormones estrogen and progesterone and the male hormone
Where does DHEA come from?
The source material for DHEA powder is derived from wild yams,
which are grown commercially. Plant sterols (a class of plant
hormones) are extracted from the wild yams. The most common sterol
is diosgenin, which has a molecular structure very similar to
DHEA. In the laboratory, the diosgenin extract is converted to
DHEA by clipping away a few side chains by means of chemical reactions
Will natural yam extracts increase my DHEA levels?
No. Ingestion of wild yam extracts will not increase your DHEA
levels. This is because the body does not have the necessary enzymes
to make the conversions. Wild yam extracts can only be converted
to DHEA in the laboratory and not in the human body. Taking wild
yam extracts is just a waste of money.
How much DHEA do our body make?
Some researchers estimate that humans make between 10 and 15 mg
of DHEA daily, but other researchers have estimated higher levels.
Will taking DHEA supplements suppress my natural DHEA production?
The production of most steroids in the body is controlled by a
feedback loop. When hormone levels get too high, the body makes
less of it, and when hormone levels are too low, the body makes
more. However, DHEA is an exception to this rule. Preliminary
studies do not seem to indicate a feedback loop for DHEA. It is
suggested that small supplement DHEA dosage will not stop our
bodys natural DHEA production. However, supplementation
with high DHEA dosages and for a long period could have an influence
in the bodys natural DHEA production.
What is DHEAS?
DHEAS stands for DHEA-Sulphate. DHEAS is the most abundant steroid
in the blood of young adult humans. Your body makes most of its
DHEA in the morning. DHEA levels in the body decline fairly rapidly
during the day because DHEA is quickly cleared by the kidneys.
However, DHEAS is cleared slower, and the blood levels remain
much more stable during the day. When you take DHEA supplements,
some of it will circulate as DHEA, but the majority (90% or more)
will circulate as DHEAS