Dhea

How does Dhea work?

DHEA is a "parent hormone" produced by the adrenal glands near the kidneys and in the liver. In men, DHEA is also secreted by the testes. It is changed in the body to a hormone called androstenedione. Androstenedione is then changed into the major male and female hormones.

DHEA levels seem to go down as people get older. DHEA levels also seem to be lower in people with certain conditions like depression. Some researchers think that replacing DHEA with supplements might prevent some diseases and conditions.

Are there safety concerns?

DHEA is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when used for just a few months. It can cause some side effects including acne, hair loss, stomach upset, and high blood pressure. Some women can have changes in menstrual cycle, facial hair growth, and a deeper voice after taking DHEA.

DHEA is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in larger amounts and long-term. Do not use DHEA in doses higher than 50-100 mg a day or for a long period of time. Using higher doses or long-term use of DHEA can increase the chance of side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: DHEA is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It can cause higher than normal levels of a male hormone called androgen. This might be harmful to the baby. Don't use DHEA if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: DHEA is a hormone that can affect how estrogen works in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use DHEA.

Liver problems: DHEA might make liver problems worse. Don't use DHEA if you have liver problems.

Diabetes: DHEA can affect how insulin works in the body. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully if you are taking DHEA.

Depression and mood disorders: There is some concern that patients with a history of depression and bipolar disorder might have some mental side effects if they use DHEA. DHEA can cause mania (excitability and impulsiveness), irritability, and sexual inappropriateness in people with mood disorders. If you have a mood disorder, be sure to discuss DHEA with your healthcare provider before you start taking it. Also, pay attention to any changes in how you feel.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Taking DHEA might make this condition worse. Don't use DHEA if you have PCOS.

Cholesterol problems: DHEA might lower "good cholesterol" (high lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL). If your HDL level is already too low, discuss DHEA with your healthcare provider before you start taking it.


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