What Is DHEA?

Pills Spilling From Bottle
DHEA. Snap Decision / Getty Images


DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) has been helpful for patients with SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) for:

  • Reducing fatigue
  • Improving thinking difficulties
  • Improving quality of life

Research indicates that DHEA has been shown to improve or stabilize signs and symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus.

DHEA is commonly available in health food stores, pharmacies, and many groceries. DHEA is a steroid hormone made by the adrenal glands that acts on the body much like testosterone and is converted into testosterone and estrogen.

DHEA and its sulfate (DHEAS) are abundant in the body, but their normal roles are not fully understood.

Blood levels of DHEA and DHEAS decline with age. The favorable clinical and immunological effects of DHEA associated with lupus have not been achieved for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

According to WholeHealthMD, "before starting to take DHEA supplements, have a blood test to determine your present level of this hormone. Only proceed if your level is low; healthy people under age 50 rarely need to take DHEA. Have another blood test three weeks after taking DHEA to determine if a satisfactory DHEA blood level has been reached. Once within the normal range, revert to a maintenance dose of DHEA (typically 5 to 10 mg a week)."

Related Resources - DHEA

Related Resources - Lupus

Pronunciation: DHEA - (duh-hidro-ep-ee-andro-stare-own)

Also Known As: DHEA - dehydroepiandrosterone

Common Misspellings: DEHA

Examples: Ask your doctor if DHEA is a supplement you should try.


DHEA, WholeHealthMD

Pills, Patches, and Shots: Can Hormones Prevent Aging?, National Institute on Aging, January 2005

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