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- MedlinePlus: DHEA
- "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology"; DHEA Changes in Skin of Postmenopausal Women
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
DHEA is a hormone that's used medically and is also available as a supplement. DHEA 25 mg refers to a specific dose of DHEA that’s within an acceptable range. It has the potential to cause side effects, may interact with some medications and is not recommended if you have a history of certain diseases, so talk to your physician before taking DHEA.
DHEA is an acronym for the chemical dehydroepiandrosterone. It is a steroid hormone naturally produced in -- and secreted by -- the adrenal glands near the kidney. It's also secreted by the testes in men. DHEA is metabolized to become the male and female hormones testosterone and estrogen, according to MedlinePlus 1.
- DHEA is an acronym for the chemical dehydroepiandrosterone.
- It is a steroid hormone naturally produced in -- and secreted by -- the adrenal glands near the kidney.
DHA Vs. DHEA
DHEA is used to treat adrenal insufficiency, systemic lupus erythematosus and to induce labor, according to MayoClinic.com. Studies suggest that it may increase hormone levels, stimulate the sex drive and improve overall quality of life. It may also be effective for depression and weight loss. While research remains inconclusive, DHEA is being studied for its effectiveness in a wide range of diseases including Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn's disease, HIV/AIDS, menopausal disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and schizophrenia.
The "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology" published a study in December 2008 suggesting that DHEA produced an anti-aging effect in the skin of postmenopausal women. A study published by M. El-Alfy, C. Deloche, et al. in the August 2010 issue of the "British Journal of Dermatology" offered further support. They concluded that DHEA applied to the skin has the potential to be an efficient anti-aging agent.
Evidence as of October 2010 is conflicting about whether DHEA successfully builds muscle strength or improves memory. Levels of DHEA, however, naturally decrease as we age, notes MayoClinic.com, so researchers hypothesize that supplements may reduce the effects of aging.
- DHEA is used to treat adrenal insufficiency, systemic lupus erythematosus and to induce labor, according to MayoClinic.com.
- The "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology" published a study in December 2008 suggesting that DHEA produced an anti-aging effect in the skin of postmenopausal women.
MedlinePlus notes that the dosage of DHEA varies from 25 to 200 mg, with 25 to 50 mg a day being the most commonly used 1. Doses higher than 50 to 100 mg should not be taken unless you’re under a doctor’s care.
DHEA for Muscle Growth
The most common side effects are fatigue, nasal congestion, headache, acne and irregular heartbeats. Some women experience insomnia, emotional changes and abnormal menses. Women may also see hair growth on the face and men may experience breast growth. DHEA may increase cholesterol and insulin resistance.
- The most common side effects are fatigue, nasal congestion, headache, acne and irregular heartbeats.
- Women may also see hair growth on the face and men may experience breast growth.
You should not take DHEA if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have a history of abnormal heart rhythms, blood clots or liver disease, warns MayoClinic.com. Consult a health professional before taking DHEA if you have a history of hormone-related cancers, such as breast or prostate cancer. It may cause mania or irritability in patients with depression or bipolar disorder, and may worsen some conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and cholesterol problems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate supplements, so you can never be sure about the strength, purity or safety of supplemental DHEA. Talk to your physician before taking DHEA, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications.
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- MedlinePlus: DHEA
- National Instutites of Health MedlinePlus. Wild yam. Updated April 18, 2018.
- National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus. DHEA. Updated May 29, 2019.
- Park SG, Hwang S, Kim JS, Park KC, Kwon Y, Kim KC. The association between dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) and bone mineral density in Korean men and women. J Bone Metab. 2017;24(1):31–36. doi:10.11005/jbm.2017.24.1.31
- von Mühlen D, Laughlin GA, Kritz-Silverstein D, Bergstrom J, Bettencourt R. Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation on bone mineral density, bone markers, and body composition in older adults: the DAWN trial. Osteoporos Int. 2008;19(5):699–707. doi:10.1007/s00198-007-0520-z
- Peixoto C, Devicari Cheda JN, Nardi AE, Veras AB, Cardoso A. The effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the treatment of depression and depressive symptoms in other psychiatric and medical illnesses: A systematic review. Curr Drug Targets. 2014;15(9):901-14.
- Cleveland Clinic. Prasterone, DHEA tables or capsules (Dietary supplements).
- Archer DF. Dehydroepiandrosterone intra vaginal administration for the management of postmenopausal vulvovaginal atrophy. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Jan;145:139-43. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.09.003
- Freitas RP, Lemos TM, Spyrides MH, Sousa MB. Influence of cortisol and DHEA-S on pain and other symptoms in post menopausal women with fibromyalgia. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2012;25(4):245-52. doi:10.3233/BMR-2012-0331.
- Gómez-Santos C, Hernández-Morante JJ, Tébar FJ, et al. Differential effect of oral dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate on metabolic syndrome features in pre- and postmenopausal obese women. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012;77(4):548-54. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2265.2011.04306.x.
- Panjari M, Davis SR. DHEA for postmenopausal women: a review of the evidence. Maturitas. 2010;66(2):172-9. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.12.017
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.