DHEA has gotten a lot of buzz. One of the top-selling supplements, DHEA is a favorite of athletes looking to cut weight as well as middle-aged adults trying to reduce the signs of aging. But should you try it?
Produced by the adrenal glands, testicles and brain, DHEA, or 5-Dehydroepidandrosterone, is a hormone that occurs naturally within the body. Classified as a parent hormone, DHEA is converted to androstenedione, which then in turn is converted into estrogen and testosterone, the female and male sex hormones. While this hormone is abundant in the body, it declines as we age, which is why so many have chosen to supplement.
The Pros of DHEA
What can DHEA do for you? As a type of hormone-replacement therapy, DHEA is said to help you turn back the clock, so to speak. Increasing the production of the male and female sex hormones can help you feel and look younger with more energy, a higher metabolism and more. Here are some of the most popular suggested benefits of DHEA:
The Potential Cons of DHEA
While these benefits sound exciting, all supplements have potential side effects. Here's what you need to know about DHEA:
- Interacts with medications used to either increase or decrease hormone levels
- Counteracted by insulin
- Digestive distress or upset stomach
- Increase in blood pressure
- Hair thinning or loss
Anyone with a diagnosed medical condition should avoid taking DHEA unless under the direction and supervision of their doctor. Most doctor's recommend using DHEA for a short amount of time at a low dose for best results. Throughout treatment, your doctor will monitor your DHEA levels and check for any potential interactions or side effects. This is why our verdict is DHEA shouldn't be taken casually. It's meant for those whose DHEA has been found to be low through blood tests.
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