DHEA is a hormone produced by both the adrenal gland and the brain. DHEA leads to the production of androgens and estrogens. DHEA levels in the body begin to decrease after age 30. Levels decrease more quickly in women.
Lower levels of DHEA have been associated with immune dysregulation, heart disease, osteoporosis, insomnia, depression, inflammation and decreased libido. Corticosteroids, birth control pills, and some medications used to treat psychiatric disorders may reduce DHEA levels.
High levels are usually due to supplementation and can cause side effects releated to DHEA's influence on downstream androgens and estrogen production. Symptoms mimic those of elevated testosterone and/or estrogens.
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