2 minute read

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

Side Effects

The majority of the available research investigates the benefits of DHEA supplementation, but few studies discuss the possible adverse side effects associated with this hormone. One study found that prolonged DHEA treatment in rats induced liver tumors, especially in females. In male rats, sustained delivery DHEA and DHEAS treatments caused atrophy of the seminferous tubules and testes. The application of the studies on the benefits of DHEA is also limited. Much research has been conducted on rats and mice, but few clinical trials on humans have actually been performed. More research is needed on the toxicity and morphological effects of DHEA and DHEAS, as well as on its specific action on humans, before its widespread use.



Solomon, Eldra Pearl. Biology. Orlando: Saunders College Publishing, 1999.

Starr, Cecie. Biology—Concepts and Applications. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997.


Gordon, C. "Changes in Bone Turnover Markers and Menstrual Function after Short-term DHEA in Young Women with Anorexia Nervosa." Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 14, no. 1 (1999).

Prasad, A. "Dehydroepiandrosterone DecreasesBehavioral Dispair in High- but not Low-anxiety Rats." Physiology & Behavior 62, no. 5 (1997).

Jennifer McGrath


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anabolic steroid

—Any of a group of synthetic steroid hormones sometimes abused by athletes in training to temporarily increase the size of their muscles.


—Any substance that prevents oxidation from occurring.


—Decreasing in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue.


—Misdirected immune response in which lymphocytes mount an attack against normal body cells.

Endocrine system

—A system of glands and other structures that secrete hormones to regulate certain body functions such as growth and development of sex characteristics.


—Biological molecule, usually a protein, which promotes a biochemical reaction but is not consumed by the reaction.


—Produced by factors outside the organism or system.


—One of a variety of communication signals that drive immune responses.


—An autoimmune disease characterized by skin lesions.


—A product of the controlled, enzyme-mediated chemical reactions by which cells acquire and use energy.


—Dealing with the form and structure of organisms.


—Loss of electrons by a compound during a certain type of chemical reaction called a redox reaction.


—A type of virus that inserts its genetic material into the chromosomes of the cells it infects.

Seminiferous tubules

—Tubes lining the testes which produce sperm.


—A group of organic compounds that belong to the lipid family and that include many important biochemical compounds including the sex hormones, certain vitamins, and cholesterol.


—Male gonads, primary reproductive organs in which male gametes and sex hormones are produced.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cyanohydrins to Departments of philosophy:Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) - Dhea As A Neurosteroid, Actions Of Dhea, Marketing, Side Effects