Not surprisingly, one of the main issues when it comes to penis health is erectile function (or dysfunction, as the case may be). This is an area in which there is a great degree of interest, and many researchers are looking at various possible factors which might contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction in men. One factor which is being investigated is the level of DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, in a man.

What is DHEA?

According to the Mayo Clinic, "your body naturally produces the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the adrenal gland. In turn, DHEA helps produce other hormones, including testosterone and estrogen." DHEA is considered a steroid hormone, and it is created in both men and women. Although the Mayo Clinic specifically references the production of DHEA in the adrenal gland, it is also produced in the liver and, in men, in the testes.

DHEA is still being tested and need to be more thoroughly understood. Some doctors believe that DHEA can help slow down the aging process, including cognitive function and body composition. There may also be some benefit from DHEA in terms of increasing bone mineral density, and some believe that it can also be used to help lessen depression. There is a need for further research in all these areas.

Erectile function

But this piece is interested in the possibility that DHEA might have an impact on erectile function. One reason for this belief is the fact that studies have shown that DHEA can in some instances be converted to testosterone. And testosterone is identified as being one possible factor in the development of erectile dysfunction.

A 2018 study offers a look at research into DHEA and its role in erectile issues. It demonstrates that DHEA definitely decreases with age; when a man is 70 to 80 years old, he typically has only 10-20% of the DHEA that he did when younger. This can be significant, as DHEA seems to play a role in smooth muscle relaxation. In the penis, I tis the relaxation of the smooth muscle that plays a key role in the ability of the penis to achieve an erection. So, if there is too little DHEA, the smooth muscle may be negatively affected.

In addition, DHEA helps to activate potassium channels which in turn add to the process by which nitric oxide is produce. Nitric oxide is necessary to help keep blood vessels open and expanded - and in the penis, this is important because expansion of blood vessels is crucial to allow enough blood to reach the penis during the erectile phase.

Can it help?

So, if DHEA levels can affect erectile function, should a man with erectile problems use DHEA supplements? The evidence is mixed, and more studies are needed get a better picture.

In addition, there can be drawbacks associated with DHEA supplementation. For example, too much DHEA is thought by some to be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. It also may be associated with lowering the "good" cholesterol that is beneficial to a person’s health. So no man should consider DHEA supplementation without first consulting with his doctor and discussing the possible risks and benefits.

DHEA may have an impact on penis health, but maintaining that health requires a more "macro" approach. For example, men definitely should be using a top notch penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) regularly. Select a crème that includes L-arginine, an amino acid which is helpful in keeping penis blood vessels open and expanded. The best crème will also include vitamin A, which helps fight persistent penis odor through its anti-bacterial properties.