Is DHEA right for you? That question deserves some serious thought. I've brought up this supplement several times in recent months, because I take it for anxiety. For awhile, it was part of my daily routine, but when I found other things that help calm my nerves, I decided to reserve DHEA just for the times when I really need it.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a steroid that occurs naturally in your body. Two key words in that sentence may seem somewhat contradictory: "naturally" is something we tend to think of as good, while "steroid" might be a little scary.
Just because something is "natural" and sold over the counter doesn't mean it's perfectly safe. Steroids can be dangerous, so any DHEA use should be discussed with and monitored by your doctor.
So far, we don't have good studies showing that DHEA is effective specifically for symptoms fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, we do have evidence that it can help some problems common in us.
Studies show DHEA supplements can help alleviate adrenal insufficiency and mild depression. It's used to treat symptoms of lupus and multiple sclerosis, which are similar to our symptoms. Some doctors and patients say DHEA helps relieve the stress and anxiety we get, but so far that's not scientifically proven.
Based on my own experience, I believe DHEA does relieve my anxiety. I carry it with me for those times when I feel anxiety creeping up -- such as at the grocery store, in a crowded place, or at a movie.
As I said, I no longer take it every day, and that's because of the risks. Instead, I take theanine daily because it's calming without the potential for side effects. However, for me at least, it doesn't seem to be as effective at heading off an anxiety attack in its early stages.
Here's more information for you, including possible side effects and common dosages: DHEA Profile.
What's your experience? Have you tried DHEA? How has it worked for you? Are you worried about taking a steroid? Share your experience by leaving a comment below!
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