DHEA And Its Benefits – How To Increase DHEA Naturally

DHEA – or Dehydroepiandrosterone – is one of the “youthful” hormones, and a precursor to Testosterone and Estrogen.

DHEA supplementation more readily converts to Testosterone and Androgens than Pregnenolone.

DHEA is a neurosteroid, with potent effects on brain health and the nervous system. DHEA is synthesized in great amounts in the brain from Pregnenolone, and the brain contains higher concentrations of DHEA than the blood stream.

In old age, as little as 5% is produced compared to youth, and this figure is similar to the levels of Pregnenolone and Progesterone as well.

Ray Peat has said that young people produce about 12-15mg of DHEA each day.

DHEA can improve memory and cognitive function, and has been found to do so in some studies, and is further supported by its synthesis and concentration in the brain.

DHEA and Pregnenolone have similar traits and effects.

Both DHEA and Pregnenolone are taken to and have been proven to support memory and cognitive function.

DHEA promotes neurogenesis – the growth of new neurons, and likely increases neurotrophic factors like BDNF and NGF.

A study on rabbits found that DHEA protected and restored pancreatic Beta cells after treatment with alloxan, a toxin that kills pancreatic Beta cells and induces diabetes. DHEA protected against Diabetes.

According to Ray Peat, brewer’s yeast and DHEA have been used by many to improve blood sugar, and DHEA simulates the entrance of sugars into the cell, which is deficient in Diabetes.

DHEA – similar to Pregnenolone – stabilizes and promotes enzymes like Cytochrome P450, and protect against toxins and promote detoxification.

DHEA lowers cortisol, and could lower adrenaline, and restores the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Adrenal axis to a healthier state, similar to Pregnenolone and Progesterone.

DHEA can and is used as a potent anxiolytic, alongside Pregnenolone, as they both lower cortisol.

DHEA, like Pregnenolone, protects against the toxic effects of excessive cortisol and stress, and rejuvenates the organs and skin, promoting youthful appearance and health.

Topical DHEA, Pregnenolone, and Progesterone can all promote hair regrowth on the scalp, and rejuvenate skin, and reduce wrinkles.

DHEA, Pregnenolone, and Progesterone restore youthful “glow” of the skin, and youthful complexion.

DHEA can restore immune function and protect against Estrogen’s toxic effects on the immune system, and even improve autoimmune conditions.

DHEA has been found to have some anti-cancer properties, possibly by its anti-estrogenic effects, but Ray Peat hypothesizes it likely has other functions to do this.

Metabolism, heat production, and energy-usage are promoted by DHEA, and is one of the reasons younger, healthier individuals can eat more without gaining weight as is seen later in life and with decreasing health and DHEA production.

Supplementing with Pregnenolone will naturally raise DHEA and Progesterone, and is the safest and more natural, and effective, way of restoring youthful hormonal status.

Ray Peat On DHEA

Ray Peat took several milligrams but no more, around 10mg or less, when he experimented with DHEA several times over years.

Ray Peat recommends taking no more than 10mg of DHEA at a time, and preferably no more than 15mg a day, because DHEA in higher doses can raise Estrogen.

10-15mg a day is roughly the cut-off point before estrogenic effects.

“People who have taken an excess of DHEA have been found to have abnormally high estrogen levels, and this can cause the liver to enlarge, and the thymus to shrink.

One study has found that the only hormone abnormality in a groupt of Alzheimers patients’ brains was an excess of DHEA. In cell culture, DHEA can cause changes in glial cells resembling those seen in the aging brain. These observations suggest that DHEA should be used with caution. Supplements of pregnenolone and thyroid seem to be the safest way to optimize DHEA production.” – Ray Peat

In his newsletter: “DHEA, Moles, etc.” Ray Peat recounts how a mole fell off after taking DHEA orally.

“I had been experimenting with oral doses of DHEA in oil for two or three weeks, and had noticed that it made me feel like an adolescent, but it was causing me to get pimples.” – Ray Peat


  • Ray Grew ~1.5”, and His Midline Thinned From Growing Taller, Without Losing Any Weight
  • His Wisdom Teeth Rotated Into Position
  • DHEA Topically Returned Colour To His Hair

DHEA promotes bone growth and healing, as seen in its treatment for arthritis and osteoporosis, and several studies, so the restoration of height that is lsot with aging and bone loss would make sense.

It is interesting the purported effects on his wisdom teeth. DHEA could have promoted jaw growth, from its androgenic and bone-growth properties.

Dosing DHEA & Cycling

Studies have used as much as 50mg or more.

In one in-vitro study, DHEA increased Testosterone and Estrogen, but interestingly, after 72 hours aromatase was upregulted.

Cycling DHEA, by having 10-25mg every other day, or every third day, might be effective in raising DHEA and its beneficial actions, without raising Estrogen or aromatase activity.

I think a dosage of maybe 10mg is good, with maybe as much as 25mg fine in a day, if other aspects of health – especially those that keep aromatase in check – such as Vitamin K2, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D, and Magnesium and Zinc, and adequate protein are also in check.

When I take DHEA, I take 25mg. I do this everyday or roughly every other day or two, depending on whether I feel like taking it.

Because young people produce around 12-15mg of DHEA each day, a dosage of around 10mg would be a very effective and replenishing dosage, and would explain the estrogenic conversion at higher amounts.

Personal Experience

I’ve taken 25mg of DHEA, and have found acne on my shoulder, though I’m not sure if that’s from increased Testosterone & DHT or increased Estrogen (increasing Testosterone & DHT tends to increase Estrogen unless aromatase is kept in check, which is rare).

Testosterone, DHT, and Estrogen can contribute to acne, but through observations and understanding, I have a theory that Androgens determine shoulder and back acne, and facial acne is more a product of Estrogen.

DHT increases sebum production.

DHEA definitely lowers stress for me, and I feel less anxious and hyperventilative.

I would always recommend Pregnenolone first and foremost, and then maybe 10mg of DHEA to elicit stronger “youthful” action.

The acne on my shoulders isn’t as bad as I had in the peak of puberty, and it isn’t awful either. I haven’t noticed any facial acne from it either.

How To Increase DHEA Naturally:

  • Vitamin A (I.e. Liver, Cod Liver, Egg Yolks, etc.)
  • Vitamin D
  • Increase Cholesterol Synthesis (Fructose (I.e. Fruit, Honey, Dairy, Ice Cream, Potatoes)
  • Zinc (E.g. Oysters, Mussels, Zinc Glycinate)
  • Copper (E.g. Liver, Mussels, Copper Glycinate)
  • Aromatase-Inhibiting Compounds (Vitamin A, D, E, K2)
  • Adequate Protein
  • Adequate Calories
  • B Vitamins (esp. Thiamine)
  • Pregnenolone Supplementation
  • Increasing / Improving Thyroid (E.g. See above, Selenium, Protein, Fruit, etc.)
  • Avoid Low-Carb, Keto, Excessive Fasting (Adequate blood sugar and glucose intake is essential to cholesterol and steroid hormone synthesis)
  • Saturated Fats (E.g. Coconut Oil, Grass-Raised Beef and Lamb, etc.)
  • Avoiding Polyunsaturated Fats (Cooked Fish, Seed Oils, Nuts, etc.)
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