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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the parent hormone your body changes into a hormone called androstenedione. It is a steroid which is produced by the adrenal cortex. The levels of this steroid increase before the onset of puberty and decrease significantly with age. It is the most abundant steroid in the bloodstream and is present at even higher levels in brain tissue.

Your body produces DHEA primarily in the morning hours, and your kidneys secrete this DHEA quickly. DHEAS, however, remains in your body much longer. For this reason, doctors use DHEAs levels to determine the blood level of the DHEA in your body.