What are the biologic effects of DHEA?
The actions of DHEA are thought to be mediated primarily through conversion to androgens and/or estrogens, and thus it may function as a large storage pool of prehormone. DHEA is the precursor for 30% to 50% of androgens in older men and > 70% of androgens in older women and is a major source of estrogens in men and postmenopausal women. Tissues that can be targeted by DHEA include muscle, bone, adipose, blood vessels, heart, and liver. As such, the decline in DHEA with aging may contribute to physiologic changes that occur as a result of sex hormone deficiency (e.g., the loss of bone and muscle mass). Other biological effects of DHEA may include increased IGF-1 levels, antiglucocorticoid effects, and antiinflammatory effects via PPAR-alpha agonism.