Can DHEA Supplements Really Improve Fertility Over 40?

What are the chances of conceiving decrease after the age of 40?

Can DHEA Supplements Really Improve Fertility Over 40?

by Steve Maleski, PhD

Fertility is an essential factor for every woman, but the chances of conceiving decrease after the age of 40. It becomes more challenging for women of this age to get pregnant due to age-related fertility issues, such as reduced egg quality, diminished ovarian reserve, and hormonal imbalances.

As a result, many women turn to supplements such as DHEA to improve their chances of conception and pregnancy. In this article, we'll explore the effectiveness of DHEA for fertility over 40, its role in reproductive health, and potential benefits and side effects.

What is DHEA?

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone naturally produced by our bodies, primarily made in the adrenal glands. It plays a crucial role in the production of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.

DHEA is converted to androgens and estrogens and is responsible for maintaining bone density, muscle mass, and overall physical health. However, the production of DHEA levels decreases as we age, with women's levels decreasing significantly after age 30. Low levels of DHEA can result in several health issues, including fertility challenges.

DHEA and Female Fertility

Research studies have shown that taking DHEA supplements can increase fertility in women over 40 with low ovarian reserves. Women with low ovarian reserves have fewer eggs left in their ovaries, which may lower their chances of getting pregnant.

DHEA supplementation increases the number of eggs produced and enhances their quality in such women. Studies by reproductive endocrinologists suggest that using DHEA could result in a significant increase in the number of oocytes retrieved and the chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.

DHEA Supplements and Hormonal Balance

DHEA can help with hormonal balance, which is vital for fertility and reproductive health. At adequate levels, DHEA moderates the effects of cortisol, a stress hormone that can negatively affect fertility.

The hormone also helps regulate insulin, which is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. High insulin levels can affect the ovulation process, leading to fertility issues. Supplementing with DHEA has been shown to regulate insulin and cortisol levels and boost fertility in women over 40.

How to Use DHEA Safely

Although DHEA supplements are available over the counter, it’s always advisable to seek medical advice before taking them. The dosage of the supplement is based on an individual's level of DHEA, and generally, the recommended dose is around 25-50mg per day.

It's not recommended for women to self-prescribe without consulting with a healthcare provider, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are on medication. While taking DHEA, it's crucial to monitor hormone levels regularly and adjust the dosage accordingly. Overuse or misuse can cause side effects such as mood swings, acne, and hair loss.


In conclusion, DHEA supplements can benefit women over 40 with low ovarian reserves, diminished egg quality, and hormonal imbalances. It works by increasing the number of eggs produced, enhancing their quality, moderating cortisol and insulin levels, and achieving hormonal balance.

Nonetheless, it's always advisable to get a medical opinion before taking supplements, keeping in mind the potential side effects and risks. DHEA supplements could be significantly beneficial for women suffering from infertility, but it's critical to be informed and make an informed decision.

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Steve Maleski

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