How DHEA Deficiency Leads To Depression

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How DHEA Deficiency Leads To Depression

One of the potential depression causes is hormonal imbalance.

In turn, among the various hormonal imbalances associated with depression, the less commonly known is deficiency in the dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) hormone.


The link between DHEA and depression

DHEA is an adrenal steroid hormone [2] which some researches have found to be lower in depressed people.

In turn, DHEA treatment has been found to improve depression, raise libido and low moods, as well as increase energy levels, create a sense of well-being and enhance thought clarity and memory [3].

It seems that DHEA interacts with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin to relax and keep us calm. [3]

DHEA also seem to provide a protective buffer against cortisol, a steroid stress hormone that rises with age [2]. In turn, on-going stress uses up DHEA in our body. As such, under conditions of chronic or extreme stress, DHEA levels can drop severely and eventually contribute to depression causes. [3]


Research on DHEA and depression

While findings on DHEA have not been absolutely consistent, most double-blind trials lasting at least 6 weeks have reported some success in treating depression causes with DHEA. [1]

One double-blind study saw positive effects in both men and women after DHEA use (50mg daily) for about 6 months [1]. Another double-blind study obtained 50% reduction in depressive symptoms in 5 out of 11 subjects after just 6 weeks of DHEA (90mg daily) [1, 2]. And yet another double-blind study found dramatic reduction in depressive symptoms in both men and women after 6 weeks of DHEA treatment (90-450mg daily) [1].

However, some double-blind studies found that treatment periods using DHEA for only 2 weeks are inadequate in dealing with depression effectively [1].

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