Update on DHEA and Mental Health

2010 has been an interesting year for DHEA research related to mental health issues. The role of DHEA in Alzheimer’s [1, 2], neurogenesis [3], depression [4], problem solving [5] PTSD / childhood abuse [6], drug seeking behavior [7], and neurocognitive deficits in schizophrenia [8] show that DHEA may become an alternative or adjunct to psychoactive medication for both medical and non-medical practitioners to consider.  Of course this raises the question of safety, and this year’s crop of research has also been interesting in that arena, suggesting that DHEA is a safe option for most people. [9]  My read is that DHEA supplementation can be safely considered on a case by case basis for a wide range of mental health concerns.

1.    Aldred, S. and P. Mecocci, Decreased dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentrations in plasma of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Arch Gerontol Geriatr, 2010. 51(1): p. e16-8.

2.    Sinha, M., et al., Aging and antioxidants modulate rat brain levels of homocysteine and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S): implications in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurosci Lett, 2010. 483(2): p. 123-6.

3.    Li, L., et al., DHEA prevents Abeta(25-35)-impaired survival of newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus through a modulation of PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling. Neuropharmacology, 2010. 59(4-5): p. 323-33.

4.    Nakano, M., et al., Fluvoxamine and sigma-1 receptor agonists dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)-sulfate induces the Ser473-phosphorylation of Akt-1 in PC12 cells. Life Sci, 2010. 86(9-10): p. 309-14.

5.    Wemm, S., et al., The role of DHEA in relation to problem solving and academic performance. Biol Psychol, 2010. 85(1): p. 53-61.

6.    Kellner, M., et al., Increased DHEA and DHEA-S plasma levels in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and a history of childhood abuse. J Psychiatr Res, 2010. 44(4): p. 215-9.

7.    Yadid, G., et al., The role of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in drug-seeking behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 2010. 35(2): p. 303-14.

8.    Ritsner, M.S. and R.D. Strous, Neurocognitive deficits in schizophrenia are associated with alterations in blood levels of neurosteroids: a multiple regression analysis of findings from a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial with DHEA. J Psychiatr Res, 2010. 44(2): p. 75-80.

9.    Labrie, F., DHEA, important source of sex steroids in men and even more in women. Prog Brain Res, 2010. 182: p. 97-148.

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