✓ Medically Reviewed and Fact-Checked by Dr. Jesse Ropat, PharmD, RPh, B.Sc.
Dehydroepiandrosterone, known as DHEA, is a hormone that plays a large role in the production of androgen and estrogen. Today we are covering everything you need to know about Dehydroepiandrosterone and the best DHEA supplements on the market.
DHEA is a hormone that is produced naturally in the adrenal glands. It is used to make major male and female sex hormones such as androgen and estrogen, crucial for our overall health and well-being.
DHEA levels reach their peak in your mid-20s then sharply decrease. In fact, studies suggest that we will lose up to 80% of our original DHEA levels throughout adulthood.
Hormones play a large role in regulating mood, weight, and appetite, and an imbalance can disrupt our overall health. Low DHEA levels are associated with several hormonal, mood, and sexual dysfunction disorders.
While there are methods to naturally regulate your hormones, taking a DHEA supplement can target and help treat a variety of issues.
Hormone Balance: DHEA supplements can return your sex hormones return to their normal levels. This, in turn, has a host of benefits. Our hormones are the kings and queens of our health and performance.
Bone Density: For example, studies show that taking a DHEA supplement can help older women increase bone density and reduce fractures.
Sexual Function and Sex Drive: In addition, DHEA can improve libido in men and women, especially those who struggle with sexual dysfunction. It does this by supporting testosterone levels.
Fertility: Some research suggests it might also improve fertility in women.
Healthy Mood: Healthy hormone levels are associated with improved mood. Therefore, by its downstream effects, in some people, DHEA may improve their mood.
In general, DHEA may counteract symptoms associated with aging like chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, and brain fog. It may even improve energy levels.
Now let’s get into the best DHEA supplements on the market.
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Every product on our list is GMP-certified and third-party tested.
Best DHEA Supplement for Weight Loss: Lifeforce DHEA
Best DHEA for Libido: Natural Balance DHEA for Men
Best DHEA Supplement for ED: Natural Balance DHEA for Men
Best DHEA Supplement for Women: Country Life DHEA Complex for Women
Best DHEA Supplement for Men: Natural Balance DHEA for Men
Best DHEA Supplement for Testosterone: Natural Balance DHEA for Men
Best Liposomal DHEA Supplement: Metagenics BioSom Liquid Liposomal DHEA
Lifeforce has a unique DHEA product that’s suited for you if weight loss is your goal. That’s because they use a patented form of DHEA called 7-KETO DHEA, which has been shown to support thermogenesis.
In fact, some research has suggested that this form of DHEA burns twice as many calories as ordinary DHEA.
Lifeforce also includes an ingredient called Pregnenolone. This is a natural hormone that may support cognition and focus.
Another benefit and potential drawback of this product is the dose. With 30mg of DHEA per capsule, it’s on the low end. If you’re looking for a lower dose, it’s a great option. However, it can get expensive if you want a bigger dose and will need to take 2-3 capsules (see our next choice for a high-dose DHEA product.)
With that said, Lifeforce DHEA is unique from everything else out there, which it takes the top spot on our list.
Slim Sciences is next on our list because they check all of the boxes.
First, they have among the strictest 3rd-party testing and manufacturing on our list. Not only are they GMP-certified, but they also make their DHEA+ in an FDA-approved facility in the USA. So when it comes to quality and purity, you have nothing to worry about.
Second, they have a 180-day money-back guarantee. This is a no-questions-asked policy, because they’re confident in their product and are willing to take on all the risk.
This is a pure DHEA product, with 50mg per capsule. It’s non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.
Typically, because of their extensive quality controls, this product is a bit more expensive than others. However, through our link, you can get two bottles for free when you purchase a single bottle. That makes the price in line with other top options.
For these reasons, Slim Sciences DHEA+ is our #1 pick.
Double Wood’s DHEA supplement offers high-quality ingredients at the best value you’ll find. Each of their products is third-party tested for purity and manufactured in the USA. They even have a certificate of analysis for quality and purity.
Their DHEA supplement contains 100 mg of DHEA per capsule, and 180 capsules to last you months. It contains no other ingredients besides the components of the gelatin capsule, so it’s a simple, minimalist supplement choice.
This is the highest dose on our list, so it’s generally for those looking for the most potent effects, but it may come with more side effects as a result. This is the maximum strength DHEA option.
They also have a money-back guarantee, which shows they are confident in their product.
Double Wood DHEA is gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO. It has no fillers, artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.
Each bottle contains over 100 servings if you take the recommended one 100 mg capsules per day.
Best for women. Country Life’s DHEA Complex is a great option for targeting specific women’s issues.
That’s because in addition to 25mg of DHEA, it contains 25mg of black cohosh (Actaea Racemosa), a woodland herb that has been traditionally used to balance estrogen levels in the body. Many studies have shown that herb used in traditional medicine may improve menopause and menstrual symptoms, like aches, hot flashes, PMS, menstrual pain, and more.
This addition makes this product the clear #1 DHEA supplement for women specifically
The complex is also gluten-free and contains a two-month supply for less than 20 dollars.
Country Life also is committed to several sustainability measures, like investing in wind energy, and are vegan-certified.
Action Labs’ DHEA supplement for men supports men specifically in many ways.
In addition to 50mg of DHEA, it contains herbs traditionally known to promote vitality in men including Korean ginseng, horny goat weed, and muira puama, yohimbe, catuaba, and guarana.
Combined, these ingredients can support blood flow, endurance, stamina (in and out of the bedroom), and overall exercise performance.
For example, Yohimbine has been promoted for thermogenic properties, but it’s best known for supporting male sexual function. So if you’re having trouble getting it up, this is THE DHEA supplement for you.
Horny goat weed, as you can imagine, has some similar benefits.
They also include zinc, a mineral that supports testosterone production. This makes this a great DHEA choice for testosterone as well.
Best bulk option. If you like buying in bulk, this one’s for you. Pure Bulk’s DHEA comes in either powder or capsule form and offers different portion options. It is made of micronized powder which means the DHEA particles are reduced in size and easier to absorb. It is also free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives, so you know you’re just getting what you need.
It’s pure DHEA powder.
MRM’s DHEA supplement is a simple, quality DHEA supplement with 50mg per capsule. It’s also vegan and gluten-free for all your alternative dietary needs and contains 90 servings at an affordable price point.
Horbaach’s DHEA supplement is a quality product, from a truly reputable company.
Produced in a cGMP facility, and third-party tested, you can be sure the quality stacks up to the rest on this list.
Plus, it’s free from common allergens like gluten, wheat, soy, and milk. No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors either, making it a great option.
Havasu offers a great DHEA supplement, containing 50 mg of DHEA in each capsule. It’s a great entry option for first-time users of DHEA supplements, allowing you to start with a modest dose to test your body’s tolerance.
This supplement has no chemicals, preservatives, or sugars, and is non-flavored. That means that, if you don’t want to take a capsule form supplement, you can pour the powder from the capsule into your favorite shake without it changing the taste.
Importantly, Havasu 3rd party tests all of their products before being released onto the market, allowing you to have confidence in your purchase.
This is a unique product from Metagenics. It’s a liposomal formulation of DHEA, allowing you to absorb more of the supplement. It comes in a convenient pump spray bottle, and each pump delivers 5mg of DHEA.
That’s right. It’s not a typo. It’s the lowest dose of DHEA on this list, but there is still good evidence for low dose DHEA use as well.
Metagenics third-party tests each product they put out. They also put transparency first. You can track every lot number you purchase, to view the quality testing information for yourself.
Best for tight budgets. Do not let the price point fool you. Natrol’s DHEA is a well-received supplement with quality ingredients. It contains 60 servings for less than 10 dollars if taking the recommended amount of one 50mg tablet per day. It is also vegetarian-friendly.
If you are new to taking DHEA supplements, this is a good product to start with thanks to its low 25mg dose. It is gluten-free and promotes healthy hormone levels for an affordable price. It contains 100 servings if taking the recommended a 25mg dose per day.
Mason Natural’s DHEA supplement, in addition to 50mg of DHEA, contains calcium, which may support bone health. However, it’s a small dose.
DHEA is not a supplement that should be taken casually as it can have mild to severe side effects. Please consult your healthcare provider before taking DHEA.
Possible side effects of DHEA supplementation include oily skin, acne, hair loss, high blood pressure, irregular menstrual cycles, male-pattern hair growth in women, headache, insomnia, and increased cholesterol levels.
DHEA can also interact with a variety of medications including antipsychotics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), testosterone, and estrogen. People with liver issues should avoid taking DHEA as it is metabolized in the liver.
Lastly, it is also important to note that DHEA supplementation is banned by WADA and NCAA. If you’re an NCAA athlete or someone who is drug tested, do not take this supplement.
I repeat: If you’re an NCAA athlete do NOT take this supplement. Looking for a hormone support option that can be athlete-approved? Take a look at tongkat ali.
Experiences vary from person to person. If you want a supplement that promotes healthy aging, DHEA might be a good option for you.
The optimal time to take DHEA can vary depending on your needs . Many recommend taking DHEA in the morning, as this is when the body’s natural production of the hormone is at its peak. Taking it in the morning may help mimic the body’s natural rhythm and can minimize side effects like insomnia.
By improving your overall hormone balance, DHEA can indirectly support weight loss. However, NOT on its own. Sustainable weight loss comes from consistent training and a healthy diet that focuses on a gradual calorie deficit.
With that said, Lifeforce DHEA used the patented 7-KETO form of DHEA, which supports thermogenesis. That’s why it’s our pick if weight loss is your goal.
We mentioned that older women may experience benefit from DHEA; it can be helpful to prevent fractures and improve or maintain bone mineral density. Specifically, women experienced improvements in spine and hip BMD. For men, the results are less substantial. One study showed that men only had a decrease in fat mass, but no improvement to BMD. It seems the benefits may be sex-specific, with women experiencing more pronounced benefits than men.
While the classic form of DHEA has the most research behind it, the 7-KETO form as ford in Lifeforce DHEA has some unique benefits, like supporting thermogenesis.
It’s unclear whether this form is superior for the main goals of DHEA supplementation.
The time it takes for DHEA to produce noticeable effects varies from person to person and also depends on what you mean by “work.” How are you assessing that? For some, improvements in energy levels and mood may be noticed within a few days. For others, particularly those using DHEA for hormonal balance or anti-aging purposes, it may take several weeks to a few months to see significant changes. It’s also worth noting that DHEA is often more effective when used as part of a broader health program, including a good diet, exercise, and great sleep.
The mechanism is likely through its impact on osteoblast activity – these are the cells that form new bone. It may also reduce activity of osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone. A combination of this activity, with an increased expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), aids in both new bone formation, and fracture healing.
Beyond this, DHEA can be converted to more potent sex hormones like testosterone and estradiol. Estradiol plays a key role in preventing bone resorption, and testosterone is crucial for bone formation.
In studies on older men, DHEA does seem to increase testosterone levels. So if you’re an older guy who’s dealing with normal, age-associated testosterone decreases, then DHEA may be a great option to turn to.
To know whether it may help your T levels, you can talk to your healthcare provider about getting your T levels and levels of DHEA checked.
It’s especially useful for increasing T if you have an adrenal insufficiency.
As a downstream effect of higher testosterone, you may see an increase in lean muscle mass, a decrease in body fat, and even markers of improved immune function. Testosterone is a powerful hormone.
DHEA is classified as a steroid hormone. While not as risky as taking a steroid like testosterone directly, DHEA supplementation can impact your body’s natural hormone production. That’s why it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to find a regiment that’s appropriate for you.
If you’re just taking it because some dude at your bodybuilding gym says it’s going to help your gains, this is a bad idea. For healthy people with already high hormone levels, DHEA hasn’t shown to be effective.
Right now, we don’t have strong evidence to support this claim. To get cognitive support, we recommend looking different supplemental routes, like nootropics. Some formualtions contains ingredients that support focus and cognition. Lifeforce DHEA has pregnenolone for this purpose.
It may as a result of improved hormone function. However, only in conjunction with solid training and a healthy diet.
One study showed that DHEA improved lean body mass and reduced fat, but it’s not yet clear whether there is a clinically significant benefit.
DHEA was found to have a neutral impact on blood pressure in one study.
As we discussed, our DHEA levels are constantly declining as we age, until we’re in our 80’s and 90’s with roughly 5% of our max DHEA remaining. Because of this, people worldwide have been combating their low DHEA levels with supplements.
Most clinical studies use doses of 50mg/day (for women) and 100mg/day (for men).
That being said, there is great contention about the correct dose, since these doses reflect roughly 1/20th of the doses used in pre-clinical animal models, leaving many researchers wondering if we’re missing out on the benefit of DHEA. However, we have to go with the information we have.
DHEA has been shown to have anxiolytic and antidepressant qualities. It may also reduce emotional reactivity.
Specifically, the study used brain imaging to analyze the neural circuitry associated with DHEA administration. After giving the subjects 400mg of DHEA, they analyzed their brain scans. They found a reduced activity in the amygdala (emotional center) and the hippocampus (contextual memory).
Both of these regions are also associated with the production of negative emotion and threat detection. Their study suggests that DHEA might be useful as a treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.
With hormonal supplements, the general rule of thumb is: be patient. It can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to notice the maximal benefit from this supplement.
DHEA is a hormone produced in the adrenal gland, and helps produce other hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. DHEA acts as a precursor for these hormones, and can be produced in peripheral tissues that have the proper enzymes.
They’re still exploring the potential benefits for DHEA, and like we said, some of the doses used in clinical trials don’t necessarily stack up to those used in the animal models.
For example, one study used high doses of DHEA in rodents, and found that not only did it lower body fat, it aided in modulating diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity.
Interestingly, it was also shown that DHEA was chemoprotective at low doses in rodents. It may have similar impacts on humans, and its ability to alter the carcinogenesis process, but more research is required.