How to Use DHEA

Q I am 55 years old and have just started using DHEA. Are there any recommendations as to cycling of the 50 mg and 100 mg caps?

RUSSELL, Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia

A A distinguished team of French researchers published a study in 2000 to examine the metabolism of orally administered DHEA in healthy elderly humans, and particularly to determine whether the proposed dosages of 25 and 50 mg daily were physiological doses that did not lead to an excess of DHEA or any of its metabolites.1 The study was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled (a crossover design, in which all the subjects acted as their own controls).

The subjects were 12 men and 12 women (average age 68 ± 4 years) who had not had any health problems over the previous month, were not obese, and were not heavy smokers. Some were on hormone replacement therapy (which was withdrawn for at least one month prior to the tests) or were taking medications for hypertension, high cholesterol, or osteoarthritis. For the tests, they were given 25 or 50 mg of DHEA or placebo daily for two 8-day periods separated by a 2-week washout interval.

In describing this study, it is necessary to distinguish between DHEA and DHEAS. At baseline, the serum DHEAS levels were significantly higher (about 130%) in men than in women; this is typical. By contrast, there was no gender difference in the serum DHEA levels. After administration of DHEA, the serum levels of DHEAS rose rapidly in proportion to the dose. In men, both the 25-mg and 50-mg doses restored levels to the normal range for young adults. In women, the 50-mg dose induced peak levels of DHEAS, on day 8 of the test, just above those observed in young adults. The DHEA levels also showed significant increases, in both sexes, to just above the normal values for young adults. At no time was there an accumulation of excess hormone of either form, in either sex. There was no mention of any side effects.

So, in answer to your question, you should first test your levels of DHEAS. Tests are available from most testing services. Then, after taking a lower dose, you should test again in one month’s time. The standard blood test to evaluate DHEA status is one that measures DHEAS (sulfate). The DHEAS is calculated in micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) of blood. Youthful levels for men are in the 400–560 range; for women, youthful levels are in the 350–430 range. If you have not achieved a desirable range, try increasing your dose. Also, it is always best to discuss your results with a knowledgeable health professional.


  1. Legrain S, Massien C, Lahlou N, Roger M, Debuire B, Diquet B, ChatellierG, Azizi M, Faucounau V, Porchet H, Forette F, Baulieu ÉÉ. Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement administration: pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies in healthy elderly subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85(9):3208-17.

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