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Benefits of DHEA


Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA is a hormone that occurs naturally in the adrenal glands. As we age, production drops off, especially around the age of 30. It is the most abundant steroid hormone in the body and is present in the highest levels in the brain. Many people believe that taking DHEA supplements will make up for the loss and provide healthful benefits, perhaps even fend off disease. In fact, the evidence doesn’t always support this point of view.

There have been a number of studies that show some DHEA supplementation may alleviate depression, obesity, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus and adrenal under performance. It may also improve the quality of skin and help treat osteoporosis and vaginal atrophy in menopausal women. Which all sounds pretty good.

Low DHEA is associated with aging generally and some diseases like anorexia, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and HIV. There is no evidence that taking DHEA pre-emptively will prevent any of these diseases or their symptoms.

People who use DHEA as a “fountain of youth” drug are misguided. There is no evidence to suggest it can boost immunity, brain function or muscle strength although you will find advertising which makes these claims. To date, the only studies using DHEA are rodent studies and, while hopeful, certainly don’t translate into good news for humans with total certitude.

Taken in the correct amounts, while being supervised by a doctor, there is potential for a reduction of some symptoms of some diseases. High doses of the hormone are unsafe and for some people dangerous to take it. DHEA can also interact negatively with other drugs.

There is no uniform position on the supplement. It may be right for you or it may not. As always talk to your doctor.

Source: WebMD, Endocrine Today, Quackwatch

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