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DHEA Supplement - Benefits, Dosages, Sources and Side Effects

DHEA Supplement - Benefits, Dosages, Sources and Side Effects

DHEA Supplement
Figure 1. DHEA Supplement - Benefits, Dosages, Sources and Side Effects

What Is DHEA Supplement?

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a natural prohormone, which is produced by the adrenal glands. Individuals should know that the level of dehydroepiandrosterone drops naturally after the age of 30. Some individuals think that consuming DHEA supplements will help in maintaining better health and prevent various diseases.

Moreover, DHEA supplements are generally used by those who believe that these can increase sex drive, fight the effects of ageing, build muscle, and enhance various health conditions. But you must know that there is no such evidence for calming every benefit, and it also comes with several risk factors. Moreover, DHEA supplement is manufactured using soy or wild yam.

However, there is nothing much discovered by the scientists about how DHEA works? But they are able to understand the functions such as a precursor for female and male sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Precursors refer to a substance, which is converted by the body and turns into a hormone.

DHEA peaks in the mid-20s, but in most people, the production will gradually decrease with age. Estrogen and testosterone production also decreases with age. But one should know DHEA supplements can improve the production level of these hormones, which is why various claims state about their potential health benefits. 

Health Benefits Associated With DHEA Supplements

In a well-researched publication "DHEA in Human Health and Aging", Professor Ronald Ross Watson has shown that DHEA supplements can benefit people suffering from obesity, depression, adrenal insufficiency, muscle building plateau, and lupus. Moreover, DHEA can also improve the health of the skin in aged people and aid in treating osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, vaginal atrophy, and other psychological conditions.

Having low levels of DHEA is the primary cause of ageing and various diseases like type II diabetes, anorexia, and HIV. In rare cases, low levels of DHEA are also associated with great chances of death. Though, one should know that it is not clear whether DHEA supplements will decrease the chances of acquiring any disease.

DHEA is consumed by those individuals who are considering reversing the process of ageing and boost cognitive functions, immunity, and muscle strength. But people should know that there is not a single study that would back up those claims and uses. It is studied to treat various health conditions, which can range from menopause to cardiovascular to Alzheimer's, but the results are still unclear. So, without further ado, let us look at the health benefits you can attain after consuming DHEA supplement. 

  • Professor Watson claims that it will help strengthen the adrenal gland, which means the production of sex hormone in the human body will be better after maintaining a proper balance between the hormones. 
  • As discussed above, DHEA is a naturally produced hormone, and the production of DHEA reduces after the age of 30, but when begun consuming, it helps maintain better health of the immune system. 
  • Moreover, it helps slow down the process of natural changes in the body, which comes with age, such as reduction in muscle volume, decreased muscle strength, etc. 
  • It also boosts the energy level of the body and helps in maintaining muscle health. 
  • Professor Watson also claims that DHEA helps in improving the memory and mood of an individual. 
  • DHEA aid in building up muscle strength and bones. 
  • Depression is integrated with a low level of DHEA, and there are several pieces of evidence, which could help individuals from getting relief from depression. Recent studies have suggested that DHEA might decrease the symptoms of depression in individuals with anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, adrenal insufficiency, and HIV. However, one should not consume DHEA with other drugs, which are used for treating these kinds of situations. 
  • Some researchers suggest that DHEA may help in reducing body weight in older patients suffering from metabolic conditions. A recent study on DHEA has indicated that it will have a small but positive impact on the overall body of older people. However, one should remember that it will only happen when the body is able to convert the DHEA available inside the supplement into estrogens and androgens. And the effects of gain weight in younger people is not known. 
  • It can reduce the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency as this situation happens when adrenal glands are inefficient for producing enough amount of steroid hormone plus DHEA. Thus, supplements including DHEA will reduce the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, but one should consider the side effects associated with consuming DHEA supplement. Moreover, other results and finding are required for acknowledging the effectiveness of the DHEA. 
  • DHEA can improve the symptoms of lupus in women. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, which affects the organs and skin. The level of DHEA is low in women suffering from lupus. Consuming DHEA supplements will improve the numbers of DHEA and eventually reduce the symptoms of lupus. 
  • Some studies have shown that DHEA may improve erectile dysfunction, libido, and sexual function of individuals. However, other results may differ from the health and medication of an individual. Moreover, there are significant effects on women with menopause. But some individuals conclude that the administration of DHEA is not effective in enhancing male sexual functions.  

Therefore, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before consuming DHEA supplement to know more about the perfect dosage for DHEA suitable for your body. Moreover, it is seen that DHEA supplement provide some promising treatment for people with moderate to mild depression and help them to get relief. Recent studies have shown that DHEA supplements to aid in treating moderate to mild depression, which might occur in middle-aged people. It also helps in improving the aging skin of elderly people. 

Dosages Of DHEA Supplements

Though there is no such standard dosage of DHEA, some researchers have suggested consuming between 25-200 milligrams in a whole day or sometimes more; it depends on the health conditions for which medication is used. It would be better for you to ask your doctor for suggesting the right amount of dosage required for your body. It will help you make the most out of DHEA supplements.

Moreover, if you are taking any medication consistently, it is suggested to consult your doctor before incorporating DHEA supplement in your daily medication. You should know that it can interact with anticonvulsants, blood thinners, drugs for diabetes, hormone therapy, and liver or heart problems.

And it can result in severe side effects, so it would be better to ask your doctor whether to consume DHEA supplements or not as DHEA is a sturdy hormone and is not recommended for kids or women who are breastfeeding pregnant.  

Moreover, consuming high dosage of DHEA may not be suitable for those suffering from liver disease, heart problems, high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid problems, a person having clotting problems, and polycystic ovary syndrome should not consume DHEA. But it might increase the risk of various cancers affected by hormone imbalance, such as cancers of the prostate, ovaries, and breast. 

Sources Of DHEA 

Moreover, you should know that DHEA is not present in any food. Wild yams contain a unique substance similar to DHEA, which is used to manufacture DHEA inside the laboratory. One should know that DHEA is produced naturally inside the body by the adrenal glands.  

Side Effects Associated With DHEA Supplement

Many sources are calming against using DHEA, especially when consumed without the guidance of a professional doctor due to its possible side effects. People should consider that DHEA is produced naturally, which means consuming DHEA will affect the working of the endocrine system, affecting the natural process of producing hormones.

Moreover, hormonal changes can affect a wide range of body systems. Thus, resulting in numerous side effects. Furthermore, DHEA is not yet tested or used widely to know about the benefits and side effects it comes with. That means

it is not clear how long the results will last. The side effects will vary from different age group to various diseases. It will include 

  • Agitation, aggressive behavior, restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety
  • blood in the urine
  • crawling sensation on the scalp 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • mood and emotional changes 
  • Headache
  • night sweats 
  • Insomnia
  • rashes 
  • acne 
  • low blood pressure

Moreover, one should know that DHEA can affect women and men differently depending upon their health and medications. 

DHEA Supplement for Men

Figure 2. DHEA Supplement for Men

Side Effects Associated With Men 

After consuming DHEA supplement, men may experience the below-mentioned side effects: 

  • Urgency to urinate 
  • Tender or enlarged breasts

DHEA for Women

Figure 3. DHEA Supplement for Women

Side Effects Associated With Women 

Women are likely to experience the below-mentioned potential side effects. 

  • Deepened voice
  • Increased discharge 
  • Smaller breast size 
  • Larger genitals 
  • Abnormal or irregular menstruation 
  • Increased hair growth 
  • Oily skin 

Though researchers are making constant improvement in ripping out the most benefits of using DHEA, including stimulating the immune system, building muscle, and weight loss, there are only limited supporting these claims. 

These are the potential benefits and side effects associated with DHEA. 

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