DHEA and Blood Pressure

Dear Dr. Dean,

I’m 65 and would like to know the highest safe dose of DHEA I can take. Also, I want to know if DHEA affects blood pressure?

I like to take 200 mg, but cut it back to 100 every other day. I feel a bit more energy when I take 200 a day. Is this too much?

Thank you very much for your time. I have been buying from Life Enhancement for 12 years.

DR. PETE, Sonoma, CA

Dear Dr. Pete,

Several short-term (one-two months) clinical studies have been conducted with doses of DHEA up to 1600 mg/day, without any adverse effects.1–2 To my knowledge, DHEA (at any dose) does not adversely affect blood pressure.

Most long-term studies have aimed at restoring DHEA and DHEA-S blood levels to those of young adults.3–7 That generally requires more modest doses of only 25–50 mg in women (although some very sensitive women only seem to need 5–15 mg/day), and 50–100 mg in men.

The limiting high-end dose in women is the tendency toward hirsutism (i.e., facial hair, acne, masculine characteristics). Women suffering from systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) beneficially tolerate much higher doses (150–200 mg/day) without adverse effects.8 One of my female patients (without lupus) takes 400 mg per day, with no signs of hirsutism. In fact, she said that it wasn’t until she reached that high dose that her skin tone dramatically improved and her hair stopped falling out. I had originally recommended it to her because of her previously unexplained chronic anemia (which has also resolved).

Obviously, the optimum dose varies for everyone. If you feel well with 200 mg per day, and your blood tests (DHEA, DHEA-S, Testosterone, and perhaps cortisol) are reasonably normal, I think you can safely continue your current regimen.

Ward Dean, M.D.



  1. Nestler JE Barlascini, CO, Clore JN, and Blackard WG. Dehydroepiandrosterone reduces serum low-density lipoprotein levels and body fat but does not alter insulin sensitivity in normal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988;66:57-61.
  2. Mortola JF, and Yen SCC. The effects of oral dehydroepiandrosterone on endocrine-metabolic parameters in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990;71:696-704.
  3. Khorram O. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its role in the aging immune system. In: Kalimi M and Regelson W, (eds). Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)—Biochemical, Physiological and Clinical Aspects. New York: Walter de Gruyter; 2000:57-64.
  4. Casson PR, Andersen RN, Herod HG, et al. Oral dehydroepiandrosterone in physiologic doses modulates immune function in postmenopausal women. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993; 169:1436-9.
  5. Morales, A.J., Nolan, J.C., and Yen, S.S.C. Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994;78:1360-7.
  6. Yen SS, Morales AJ, Khorram O. Replacement of DHEA in aging men and women.Potential remedial effects. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1995 Dec 29;774:128-42.
  7. Casson PR, Santoro N, Elkind-Hirsch K, et al. Postmenopausal dehydroepiandrosterone administration increases free insulin-like growth factor-I and decreases high-density lipoprotein: a six-month trial. Fertil Steril. 1998 Jul;70(1):107-10.
  8. Sawalha1 AH. Kovats S. Dehydroepiandrosterone in systemic lupus erythematosus. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2008 August;10(4): 286-91.