The problem is that if the adrenals are shut down supplementing DHEA won’t help. Basically the low DHEA shows that the adrenals are not producing its core hormones. So without getting them going again, supplementing the DHEA won’t do anything for mood, sexual function or fatigue.
Results: Circulating DHEAS and androstenedione rose significantly in both sexes, with testosterone increasing to low normal levels only in females. DHEA reversed ongoing loss of bone mineral density at the femoral neck ( P < 0.05) but not at other sites; DHEA enhanced total body ( P = 0.02) and truncal ( P = 0.017) lean mass significantly with no change in fat mass. At baseline, subscales of psychological well-being in questionnaires (Short Form-36, General Health Questionnaire-30), were significantly worse in Addison’s patients vs. control populations ( P < 0.001), and one subscale of SF-36 improved significantly ( P = 0.004) after DHEA treatment. There was no significant benefit of DHEA treatment on fatigue or cognitive or sexual function. Supraphysiological DHEAS levels were achieved in some older females who experienced mild androgenic side effects.
In men, higher basal testosterone levels are likely to have obscured the relatively small additional effect of administered DHEA. Although DHEA is converted to estradiol, the magnitude of this effect is insufficient to cornify the vaginal epithelium in rats (a sensitive assay) ( and by analogy, we suggest that our observed lack of change in circulating estradiol levels in men receiving DHEA is not unexpected.
Long-Term DHEA Replacement in Primary Adrenal Insufficiency: A Randomized, Controlled Trial