Is DHEA the Fountain of Youth?

The short answer is NO, but here are some of the connections between DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and aging. They revolve around the hormone's role in various physiological processes and its decline with age. Here's a breakdown of these connections:

  1. Hormonal Decline: DHEA is a precursor hormone produced primarily by the adrenal glands, with smaller amounts synthesized in the brain and gonads. It serves as a precursor to other hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. DHEA levels peak in the body during young adulthood and gradually decline with age. By the time individuals reach their 70s and 80s, DHEA levels can be significantly lower than in younger adults.

  2. Age-Related Changes: The decline in DHEA levels is part of the broader hormonal changes that occur with aging. This decline is often associated with changes in body composition, including decreased muscle mass and increased body fat, as well as alterations in bone density and skin elasticity.

  3. Bone Health: DHEA has been implicated in bone metabolism and may play a role in maintaining bone density. Some studies suggest that lower levels of DHEA are associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures in older adults. 

  4. Muscle Mass and Strength: DHEA has anabolic effects and is involved in the regulation of muscle mass and strength. As DHEA levels decline with age, there may be a corresponding decline in muscle mass and strength, contributing to frailty and functional decline in older adults.

  5. Cognitive Function: DHEA receptors are present in various regions of the brain, and DHEA has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in preclinical studies. Some research suggests that lower DHEA levels are associated with cognitive decline and an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

  6. Sexual Function: DHEA is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen, which are involved in libido and sexual function. Some studies have suggested that DHEA supplementation may improve libido and sexual function in older adults with low DHEA levels.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.