DHEA supplements are used by people who want to increase sexual desire, build muscle, combat the effects of aging and improve some health conditions, but there is insufficient evidence that these benefits are true. Below you find what science knows about this supplement, what is, what are its benefits and side-effects, and what else you need to know.
The production of DHEA in the body reaches its peak after twenty years and starts to decline after thirty. The decrease is faster in women than in men. Lower levels of DHEA can also be found in people with hormonal disorders, HIV / AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, depression, diabetes, inflammation, immune disorders and osteoporosis in the system. Corticosteroids, oral contraceptives and agents for treatment psychiatric disorders may also reduce levels of DHEA.
DHEA supplement is commonly used to treat hormonal imbalances, but manufacturers began to advertise the product as a magic cure for many things such as muscle loss, weight loss, osteoporosis and depression. DHEA has also been linked to use by athletes as doping. Currently, DHEA is labeled from "fountain of youth" to fraud.
What is the truth? What is DHEA? Read on and find out.
Benefits of DHEA
There are few well-formulated studies testing the effects of DHEA supplements. There is sufficient evidence of efficacy of DHEA in the treatment of adrenal insufficiency, metabolic syndrome, depression, HIV / AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, menopausal symptoms, heart disease, breast cancer, infertility, Parkinson's disease or diabetes.
In addition, there is also no evidence to support the use of DHEA supplementation as anti-aging medicine or to assist in weight loss. The supplement also seems to have no effect to increase libido, increase muscle strength or protect against Alzheimer's disease.
However, there is research supporting the use of DHEA supplements under certain conditions. Here are some of them.
Taking DHEA in oral form appears to increase bone density in women and older men with osteoporosis. A 2002 study published in the Chinese Medical Journal reported that after six months of treatment, 44 men with osteoporosis experienced a significant increase in bone density compared to the control group.
According to a 2003 study from the Archives of General Psychiatry, increasing DHEA levels may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with schizophrenia. According to the authors of the study, DHEA may also help improve mood, enhance well-being and energy in people with schizophrenia.
Supplementation with DHEA can help with erectile dysfunction, but not if it is caused by diabetes or nerve problems.
Although few studies have tested the DHEA in patients with erectile dysfunction, one of them shows that men who received a daily dose of the supplement for six months had a significant improvement in the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. The control group of patients did not have any improvement.
DHEA Side Effects
DHEA is a hormone, and thus, should be taken under the supervision and recommendation of a doctor. Children and pregnant or lactating women should not use DHEA.
Side effects include acne, insomnia, fatigue, oily skin, abdominal pain, hair loss, nasal congestion, increased cholesterol levels, fast or irregular heartbeat and palpitations.
In women, DHEA may also cause changes in the menstrual cycle, growth of facial hair and deepening of the voice. In men, there may be breast augmentation, as well as sensitivity in the region, and aggression.
DHEA supplements can increase the effects of drugs like AZT (to treat HIV), barbiturates, cancer medications, estrogen, oral contraceptives, testosterone and benzodiazepines. Supplements can also have inprevisíveis effects with drugs such as corticosteroids, insulin, lithium, allergy medications, anti-fungal drugs, medicines for cancer and cholesterol.
As DHEA Taking
The need and dosage of the supplement should be determined by a physician, according to the condition being treated and the patient's needs. The use of DHEA supplements when there is no need or indiscriminate doses may be harmful, may cause side effects mentioned above.
Although there is some evidence that DHEA supplement can help with certain health conditions, it should not be used indiscriminately, replacing the recommended treatment by the doctor, as this may have serious consequences to your health, not only with the effects side, but also with a possible worsening of the condition, if she does not receive treatment.