Covid-19 Infection and Subsequent Pathology are Caused by
Low Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

(New support: Low DHEA in Covid-19)

(© Copyright 2020-2023, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.)

New research, 2022, regarding DHEA has been published that supports my hypothesis that Covid-19 is caused by low DHEA: “COVID-19 patients with altered steroid hormone levels are more likely to have higher disease severity,” ( Endocrine volume 78 2022 Jul 30. doi: 10.1007/s12020-022-03140-6.) DHEA was an independent indicator of the disease severity with COVID-19.”

It is my hypothesis that Covid-19 infection and subsequent pathology are caused by low levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which are affected by aging, testosterone and cortisol levels, and antagonism of DHEA by cortisol as in stress, all of which reduce effects of DHEA (© Copyright 2020, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.). It is already known that DHEA provides protection from pathogenic viruses. “In this study it was shown that DHEA protects mice against WNV, SVNI and SFV lethal infection.” (Arch Virol. 1991;120(3-4):263-71. doi: 10.1007/BF01310481.) High testosterone levels affect DHEA levels by decreasing available DHEA by reducing conversion of DHEA sulfate to the active form, DHEA, and low testosterone levels reduce intracellular DHEA; both reduce DHEA. This is why high levels of testosterone in males and high levels of testosterone of blacks compared to whites increase Covid-19 virulence, therefore, drugs such as dexamethasone, which is known to reduce testosterone reduce Covid-19 This is why reduced DHEA and testosterone of aging increases Covid-19 virulence.

Regarding the “cytokine storm” in Covid-19 infection, a case may be made that these cytokines are produced by cells / tissues to stimulate DHEA production. Therefore, the reduction in DHEA caused by Covid-19 would cause numerous tissues to produce cytokines to stimulate DHEA. Individuals who do not recover significantly by eventually producing DHEA experience “long covid.”

This is derived from my explanation of human evolution involving DHEA (mammalian evolution) and human evolution involving DHEA and testosterone. I suggest testosterone directly affects levels of DHEA and testosterone is increasing throughout human history and is ongoing. At this time I think testosterone has increased in human populations sufficiently to adversely affect DHEA levels. I suggest this is why human populations are experiencing increases in obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, infections, at this time, including Covid-19. (Note: some consider obesity as the cause of the others; obesity is simply the earliest sign.)

Since I think these androgens and their ratio control all aspects of the human life span, I think they are involved in all aspects of normal ontogeny as well as pathology. I suggest this is why Covid-19 has been connected with many pathologies as well as disturbances in cytokines, including “hypertension, diabetes, obesity, COPD, and CVD.”

As I stated above, I think testosterone is increasing with time within populations; an over abundance of testosterone can reduce the effects of DHEA and this is why pandemics are occurring, such as the HIV and others at this time. This is why Covid-19 is occurring at this time and is directly connected to other pathology. They are both caused by low DHEA.

Hormones in Mammalian Evolution,” Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 2001; 94: 177-184. If your library does not subscribe to “Rivista … ,” you may find this at: .

Androgens in Human Evolution, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 2001; 94: 345-362. If your library does not subscribe to Rivista , you may find this at: where you may also see a chart of testosterone in humans and great apes which directly supports my hypothesis and was reported in the literature 2 years later.

New connections of low DHEA and Covid-19, January, 2023: Low DHEA has been found in “burning mouth (BM),” (Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2009 Oct;108(4):537-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2009.06.022. PMID: 19778740.). “Glossodynia [burning mouth] is significantly more common in COVID-19 patients and should be considered in the differential diagnoses among the oral complications of this infection.” (Am J Dent 2022;35:9-1. 2022 Feb;35(11) :9-11