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DHEA is a precursor for the sex steroids including estrogen and testosterone. It is primarily produced in the adrenal gland with a small amount secreted by the ovaries. DHEA plays an important role in immune function and stress response.
Blood measurements of DHEA-S (sulfate) are correlated with a lower risk of death or cardiovascular disease.1 Additionally, a 2007 study found that DHEA reduced oxidative stress and helped to protect diabetics against the damaging effects of high blood sugar.2
A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society measured serum DHEA in 940 men and women ranging from age 21 to 88, following them from 1978 until 2005. The researchers found that low levels of DHEA-S showed a significant association with shorter life span and that higher levels strongly predicted longevity.3
Fasting is not required for this test. Take all medications as prescribed. DHEA supplements should be taken approximately 2 hours before the blood draw.
1. N. Engl. J. Med. 315(24):1519–24. PMID 2946952.
2. "DHEA Restores Oxidative Balance in Type 2 Diabetes". Medscape. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/567316. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
3. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 56(6):994. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.01692.x.
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