DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone

Disclosures

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57(22) 

In This Article

Introduction

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its active metabolite, DHEA sulfate (DHEAS), are endogenous hormones synthesized and excreted primarily by the zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex in response to adrenocorticotropic hormone. The exact mechanism of action and clinical role, if any, of DHEA and DHEAS remain unclear. Epidemiological data indicate an inverse relationship between serum DHEA and DHEAS levels and the frequency of cancer, cardiovascular disease (in men only), Alzheimer's disease and other age-related disorders, immune function, and progression of HIV infection.[1] Animal (primarily rodent) studies have suggested many beneficial effects of DHEA, including improved immune function and memory and prevention of atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Many of the benefits seen in animal studies have yet to be shown in humans.[1,2,3]

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