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DHEA for Men: Can It Help with ED?

Katelyn Hagerty FNP

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 4/4/2022

DHEA for men: Is it the latest over-the-counter male enhancement solution, or just another supplement that comes with health warnings?

There are many treatments available to men suffering from erectile dysfunction today. In the last century, tons of research on the topic along with some medical discoveries with surprising benefits for men with erectile dysfunction have brought a lot of solutions into the conversation about male performance. 

As with any supplement or even new treatment, education is warranted to help net best (and safe) results. 

If you’re wondering about DHEA benefits for men, along with the proper dosage of DHEA and other information about the supplement, read on. When used correctly, DHEA could possibly help with ED. But read on before trying it. 

What Is DHEA?

DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone (we’re only typing that once) is a hormone that your body produces which gets converted into sex hormones.

Your adrenal glands and liver produce DHEA, and according to the National Library of Medicine, most people see their DHEA levels decrease as they get older. Lower DHEA levels are also sometimes seen in individuals with depression.

If you’re a guy reading this, you probably aren’t going to be dealing with menopause, but it’s helpful to know that DHEA is commonly prescribed to treat vaginal atrophy, or rather, vaginal tissue thinning. 

In the dietary supplement world, DHEA is used for a wide range of conditions and problems, including aging skin, infertility, heart disease, depression and strength needs.

And it seems that there’s evidence that DHEA is effective, particularly when it comes to muscle strength. The NCAA, U.S. and International Olympic Committees, World Anti-Doping Agency and other organizations have all banned DHEA because it works like a steroid.

DHEA and ED: Can It Help?

Maybe. DHEA is used for the treatment of ED. However, while the National Library of Medicine (NLM) does include DHEA as a potential treatment option for ED, researchers don't necessarily think there’s much substance to the idea. 

The NLM categorizes DHEA use-cases into one of four categories: likely effective, possibly effective, possibly ineffective and likely ineffective. ED isn’t listed in any of these categories, which are based on data from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

More research is needed to determine if there are DHEA benefits for men.

Is Taking DHEA for ED Safe?

Little is currently known about DHEA as a treatment for ED. According to the NLM, DHEA is “possibly safe” when taken orally for a short term of up to two years, in doses of around 50 mg daily.

Higher doses of DHEA can carry the risk for cancer over time, and there’s not a firm understanding of how quickly that risk can turn into a diagnosis.

Because DHEA can increase androgens, it’s not safe for people with a high risk of certain cancers related to estrogen levels. 

DHEA can also be problematic for people with high cholesterol, as it can lower HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels.

Certain liver problems can be worsened by DHEA, too, as can some mood disorders like depression. The NLM advises talking to a healthcare professional before taking DHEA if you have an existing mood disorder.

It’s also wise to consult with a healthcare provider before taking DHEA supplements if you’re taking anticoagulants, medications for cancers, antidepressants, medications for liver disease, estrogen or testosterone supplements, or if you’ve recently received the vaccine for tuberculosis.

The NLM also advises being mindful if taking DHEA when consuming soy, licorice and other supplements, as there could be potential interactions. 

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DHEA Dosage for Men

As mentioned above, DHEA seems to present no serious, immediate risks when taken for a short period of time at a dose of around 50 mg. Generally speaking, DHEA is considered safe in this dosage for up to one year.

However, it’s unclear what an appropriate dose or DHEA level might be for ED, and how that dose would affect your health.

Since DHEA is widely considered useful for its vaginal wall benefits, most of the data is focused on women, as well as on topical applications (such as DHEA cream).

Regardless of your gender, though, DHEA should not be taken in doses of more than 100 mg daily, and not for a long period of time, as it can increase the risk of the problems mentioned above.

If you’re considering DHEA for ED, talk to a healthcare provider first and get their feedback. They will likely suggest other treatment options first — some of which we also recommend.

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction: Other Options

Erectile dysfunction treatments are plentiful, and it’s seemingly possible to find male enhancement products everywhere. But do they work? Some do…and some don’t. Some treatments just don’t have any scientific backing.

If you’re looking for treatment for erectile dysfunction, the right place to begin your search is with a healthcare provider. 

We know talking about sexual dysfunction can be difficult, even with a healthcare professional, but there are countless benefits to discussing your issues with someone with ED expertise.

Your healthcare provider may suggest a wide variety of research-backed ED treatments, from dietary and lifestyle changes, to psychological support, to medications. 

If you’re suffering from one of the psychological causes of ED, you might benefit from therapy. Discussing what makes you anxious, self conscious, or panicked before intimacy can help you clear the barriers between you and your partner, and you and your pleasure. 

Likewise, changes to your diet, exercise routine, and smoking and drinking habits might be all that is needed to get a green light for the bedroom. 

If more support is needed, there’s always medication in the forms of Cialis® (tadalafil) and Viagra® (sildenafil).

Both of these medications function as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors — which help enhance the dilation of your penis’s blood vessels giving your erection more longevity and stamina. 

The difference between sildenafil and tadalafil is mostly situational, and you might choose tadalafil for its “always” on daily functionality, or sildenafil for its take-before-getting-intimate convenience.

Talk to a healthcare provider about if you have existing blood pressure or hypertension concerns before starting these medications, as they can lead to some serious side effects.

Should You Take DHEA for Erectile Dysfunction?

If your hormone levels are out of whack and you're looking for a way to restore your sexual function — it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider. 

Sex hormones and the health conditions associated with ED aren't the sort of thing you deal with by supplements — or at least not with supplements that haven’t been suggested by your healthcare provider.

A healthcare professional can help you determine what’s causing your ED — and set you up with the correct plan to treat it. So you’ll be performing your best in the bedroom in no time. 

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What Is DHEA?

DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone (we’re only typing that once) is a hormone that your body produces which gets converted into sex hormones.

Your adrenal glands and liver produce DHEA, and according to the National Library of Medicine, most people see their DHEA levels decrease as they get older. Lower DHEA levels are also sometimes seen in individuals with depression.

If you’re a guy reading this, you probably aren’t going to be dealing with menopause, but it’s helpful to know that DHEA is commonly prescribed to treat vaginal atrophy, or rather, vaginal tissue thinning. 

In the dietary supplement world, DHEA is used for a wide range of conditions and problems, including aging skin, infertility, heart disease, depression and strength needs.

And it seems that there’s evidence that DHEA is effective, particularly when it comes to muscle strength. The NCAA, U.S. and International Olympic Committees, World Anti-Doping Agency and other organizations have all banned DHEA because it works like a steroid.

DHEA and ED: Can It Help?

Maybe. DHEA is used for the treatment of ED. However, while the National Library of Medicine (NLM) does include DHEA as a potential treatment option for ED, researchers don't necessarily think there’s much substance to the idea. 

The NLM categorizes DHEA use-cases into one of four categories: likely effective, possibly effective, possibly ineffective and likely ineffective. ED isn’t listed in any of these categories, which are based on data from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

More research is needed to determine if there are DHEA benefits for men.

Is Taking DHEA for ED Safe?

Little is currently known about DHEA as a treatment for ED. According to the NLM, DHEA is “possibly safe” when taken orally for a short term of up to two years, in doses of around 50 mg daily.

Higher doses of DHEA can carry the risk for cancer over time, and there’s not a firm understanding of how quickly that risk can turn into a diagnosis.

Because DHEA can increase androgens, it’s not safe for people with a high risk of certain cancers related to estrogen levels. 

DHEA can also be problematic for people with high cholesterol, as it can lower HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels.

Certain liver problems can be worsened by DHEA, too, as can some mood disorders like depression. The NLM advises talking to a healthcare professional before taking DHEA if you have an existing mood disorder.

It’s also wise to consult with a healthcare provider before taking DHEA supplements if you’re taking anticoagulants, medications for cancers, antidepressants, medications for liver disease, estrogen or testosterone supplements, or if you’ve recently received the vaccine for tuberculosis.

The NLM also advises being mindful if taking DHEA when consuming soy, licorice and other supplements, as there could be potential interactions. 

DHEA Dosage for Men

As mentioned above, DHEA seems to present no serious, immediate risks when taken for a short period of time at a dose of around 50 mg. Generally speaking, DHEA is considered safe in this dosage for up to one year.

However, it’s unclear what an appropriate dose or DHEA level might be for ED, and how that dose would affect your health.

Since DHEA is widely considered useful for its vaginal wall benefits, most of the data is focused on women, as well as on topical applications (such as DHEA cream).

Regardless of your gender, though, DHEA should not be taken in doses of more than 100 mg daily, and not for a long period of time, as it can increase the risk of the problems mentioned above.

If you’re considering DHEA for ED, talk to a healthcare provider first and get their feedback. They will likely suggest other treatment options first — some of which we also recommend.

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction: Other Options

Erectile dysfunction treatments are plentiful, and it’s seemingly possible to find male enhancement products everywhere. But do they work? Some do…and some don’t. Some treatments just don’t have any scientific backing.

If you’re looking for treatment for erectile dysfunction, the right place to begin your search is with a healthcare provider. 

We know talking about sexual dysfunction can be difficult, even with a healthcare professional, but there are countless benefits to discussing your issues with someone with ED expertise.

Your healthcare provider may suggest a wide variety of research-backed ED treatments, from dietary and lifestyle changes, to psychological support, to medications. 

If you’re suffering from one of the psychological causes of ED, you might benefit from therapy. Discussing what makes you anxious, self conscious, or panicked before intimacy can help you clear the barriers between you and your partner, and you and your pleasure. 

Likewise, changes to your diet, exercise routine, and smoking and drinking habits might be all that is needed to get a green light for the bedroom. 

If more support is needed, there’s always medication in the forms of Cialis® (tadalafil) and Viagra® (sildenafil).

Both of these medications function as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors — which help enhance the dilation of your penis’s blood vessels giving your erection more longevity and stamina. 

The difference between sildenafil and tadalafil is mostly situational, and you might choose tadalafil for its “always” on daily functionality, or sildenafil for its take-before-getting-intimate convenience.

Talk to a healthcare provider about if you have existing blood pressure or hypertension concerns before starting these medications, as they can lead to some serious side effects.

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get hard or your money back

Should You Take DHEA for Erectile Dysfunction?

If your hormone levels are out of whack and you're looking for a way to restore your sexual function — it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider. 

Sex hormones and the health conditions associated with ED aren't the sort of thing you deal with by supplements — or at least not with supplements that haven’t been suggested by your healthcare provider.

A healthcare professional can help you determine what’s causing your ED — and set you up with the correct plan to treat it. So you’ll be performing your best in the bedroom in no time. 

3 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Publishing, H. (n.d.). Which drug for erectile dysfunction? Retrieved January 17, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/which-drug-for-erectile-dysfunction.
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). DHEA: Medlineplus supplements. MedlinePlus. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/331.html.
  3. Yafi, F. A., Jenkins, L., Albersen, M., Corona, G., Isidori, A. M., Goldfarb, S., Maggi, M., Nelson, C. J., Parish, S., Salonia, A., Tan, R., Mulhall, J. P., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2016). Erectile dysfunction. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 2, 16003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.