What are some benefits and side effects of DHEA? DHEA is used by people who believe they can improve their sex life, build lean muscle mass, and improve the declining effects of aging. Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence to validate this claim. But there still are risk factors to taking DHEA supplements.
DHEA is hormone produced by your adrenal glands and those glands are position above the kidneys. It is made of wild yams and or soy.
Your natural DHEA production is at peak in the mid 20’s and our testosterone in men and estrogen in women decline as we get older. So, DHEA supplements can increase the level of those hormones. And the science says it acts as a precursor to both male and female hormones.
What are some benefits and side effects of DHEA?
Some of the claims that range from the possible benefits that DHEA provides are:
- Provides more energy
- Build muscle, strength, and bone density
- Heighten the immune system
- Improve memory
- Improve the adrenal gland
Studies on DHEA on Depression and Anti-Aging
There are some small studies that show that it helps with anti-aging and there some studies that show no effect. So more long- term studies really need to be done to really validate the anti-aging effect. There was a small 6-week study done at the National Institutes of Mental Health on DHEA on the treatment of depression. And in that study, it found improvement in mild to moderate depression among middle-aged subjects.
Potential Side Effects of DHEA Supplements
- Upset stomach
- Irregular Heartbeat or heart disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Extreme changes in menstrual cycle in women
- Deepening of voice in women
- Declining effects of cholesterol level
- Facial hair in women
- Hair loss
- Facial and Back Acne
- Lower sperm count
- Vaginal atrophy
Before taking any DHEA supplement it is important to consult with your doctor because DHEA provides some serious health side effect concerns. DHEA can possibly negatively alter the affect of any current medications you are on. If you decide to take a DHEA supplement you need to see if the potential benefits exceed the side effect risks.
The Bottom Line is men produce testosterone and women produce estrogen. And a DHEA supplement can increase the level of those hormones especially if your levels are lower than the baseline average for your age. Make sure to get advice from your healthcare provider before deciding to making that major medical or health decision.
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Souza-Teodoro, L. H., de Oliveira, C., Walters, K., & Carvalho, L. A. (2016). Higher serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate protects against the onset of depression in the elderly: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 64, 40–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.11.005
Schmidt PJ, Daly RC, Bloch M, Smith MJ, Danaceau MA, St Clair LS, Murphy JH, Haq N, Rubinow DR. Dehydroepiandrosterone monotherapy in midlife-onset major and minor depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;62(2):154-62. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.62.2.154. PMID: 15699292.
Dehydroepiandrosterone monotherapy in midlife-onset major and minor depression – PubMed (nih.gov)