Where does DHEA come from?

DHEA is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands, which sit atop each kidney. In the first few years of life, the adrenals make very little DHEA. Around age 6-7, they begin producing more of it. The DHEA levels peak between ages 20-25 when DHEA is the most abundant hormone in circulation, and then decrease approximately 10% per decade. From the early 30s on, there is a steady decline in DHEA production, so the average 75-year-old has only 20% of the DHEA in circulation that he or she had 50 years earlier. At all ages, men tend to have higher DHEA levels than women do. Studies have also shown that DHEA creates an increase in sexual aggressiveness, which is a sign that DHEA is indeed converted into testosterone.


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