Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone produced in the adrenal gland of the human body. It is the most abundant steroid circulating in the blood stream and is present at even higher levels in the tissues of the brain. DHEA acts as a precursor to numerous steroid sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, and has been suggested to decline with age.* It is difficult for researchers to separate the effects of DHEA from those of the primary sex steroids into which it is metabolized, thus it has been suggested that DHEA may serve the role of a "buffering hormone" which alters the state-dependency of other steroid hormones.* While the precise mechanisms of action for DHEA are only partially understood, supplemental DHEA has mainly been suggested for possible weight-loss supporting and anti-aging effects, while it may simultaneously help support nerve-cell growth.* DHEA has also been suggested to play a role in glucose metabolism; high blood glucose can inhibit the production of human growth hormone (HGH) which can lead to inefficiency in many bodily functions and negatively impact athletic performance. Researchers suggest that DHEA inhibits glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), an enzyme known for breaking down glucose.* There are two glucose-metabolizing pathways in the body: The catabolic, energy-yielding pathway, and he anabolic, biosynthetic pathway
G6PDH happens to be the first enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway, the one which results in the synthesis of fatty acids and ribose; in other words, G6PDH turns glucose into fat. DHEA's inhibition of G6PDH may redirect glucose from anabolic fat-production into catabolic energy metabolism, thus promoting a leaner metabolism.* Exact dosages for humans have not been clearly established. Daily dosages range from 5 to 10mg to as much as 2,000mg, with 5, 10, 25 and 250mg being the range for typical capsule and tablet sizes.* DHEA is typically split into 2-4 daily doses, particularly at the higher dosage levels. Researchers have suggested that DHEA may in fact be the most significant endocrine biomarker identified, and all of its effects may be explained by its action as a precursor hormone which provides "a host of steroid progeny with which to maintain the broad balance of host responses related to species and individual survival."* By encouraging balanced levels of glucose and insulin, promoting proper hormone function and supporting immune system function, DHEA may be useful to potentially promote efficient anabolism and metabolism.