Difference Between DHEA and DHA

The main difference between DHEA and DHA is that DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone, which is a steroid hormone, whereas DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that occurs in conjunction with EPA. Furthermore, DHEA is one of the most abundant circulating hormones in humans, while DHA is beneficial for neurological health. Also, DHEA serves as a precursor to estrogens and testosterone while helping to increase follicular stimulation. 

DHEA and DHA are two types of substances important for the functioning of the body. Generally, they are taken as supplements for different purposes.

Key Areas Covered 

1. What is DHEA
      – Definition, Type f Supplement, Importance
2. What is DHA
      – Definition, Type of Supplement, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between DHEA and DHA
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between DHEA and DHA
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Adrenal Hormone, DHA, DHEA, Follicular Stimulation, Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Difference Between DHEA and DHA - Comparison Summary

What is DHEA 

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is one of the most abundant hormones in circulation. Generally, the adrenal gland produces DHEA to serve as a precursor for the synthesis of male and female sex hormones. It is also important for follicular stimulation. Moreover, DHEA supplements extracted from soy and wild yam are given for pregnant mothers to help with age-related symptoms, including osteoporosis, skin thinning, etc. Besides, they are important for erectile dysfunction and certain neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and schizophrenia. 

Main Difference - DHEA vs DHA

Figure 1: DHEA

Furthermore, DHEA is important for people with different inflammatory conditions including Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. DHEA also helps with premature ovarian failure (POF)  and decreased ovarian reserve (DOR). Moreover, DHEA is important for treating, adrenal insufficiency, chronic fatigue, HIV, heart disease, and cancer. 

What is DHA 

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that naturally occurs in fatty fish including herring, salmon, sardines, and mackerel. It is also present in breast milk. Our body is unable to synthesize omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, DHA is a type of essential fatty acid. Furthermore, DHA is important for the development and maintenance of the nervous system. Also, it has the ability to prevent inflammation. 

Difference Between DHEA and DHA

Figure 2: DHA

Moreover, DHA is important as a prenatal supplement as it is beneficial for neurological health of the fetus. Basically, it is recommended during pregnancy as well as during breastfeeding. Additionally, some people take DHA as a supplement for preventing heart disease, arthritis, depression, lupus, menstrual pain, etc.  

Similarities Between DHEA and DHA  

  • DHEA and DHA are two types of supplements.  
  • They have different functions in the body. 

Difference Between DHEA and DHA 

Definition 

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) refers to a hormone produced by adrenal glands, serving as a precursor to male and female sex hormones, while DHA refers to (docosahexaenoic acid) an omega-3 fatty acid, which is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. 

Significance 

While DHEA is a hormone which serves as a precursor for androgens and estrogens, DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid occur in conjunction with EPA. 

Importance 

DHEA is important for improving sex drive, building muscle, fighting the effects of ageing, etc. while DHA is important for the development of the central nervous system and optical system of the fetus.  

During Pregnancy 

Moreover, DHEA should be avoided during pregnancy, while DHA should be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Conclusion 

DHEA is a hormone produced by adrenal glands. It also serves as a precursor for the synthesis of both male and female sex hormones. Generally, DHEA is important as a supplement for improving sex drive, building muscles, etc. On the other hand, DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid which comes into the body through food. Moreover, it is a structural component of different structures of the body. It is important for the development of the central nervous system and the optical system. Hence, DHA is an important supplement during pregnancy. However, DHEA is not allowed during pregnancy. Therefore, the main difference between DHEA and DHA is the type of substance and importance. 

References:

1. “DHEA Supplements: Uses and Side Effects.” WebMD, WebMD, Available Here.
2. Bjarnadottir, Adda. “DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid): A Detailed Review.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 28 May 2019, Available Here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Dehydroepiandrosteron” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia   
2. “DHA numbers” By Timlev37 (talk) – Based on FILE:DHA.svg (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia   

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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