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DHEA - Dehydroepiandrosterone

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Updated June 30, 2014

Facts of DHEA:

 

DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone. This steroid occurs naturally in your body, where it's produced primarily by the adrenal glands. Your body uses it to make some hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Your DHEA levels drop as you age, and this is considered a key marker in determining biological age. In women, DHEA levels may increase during times of stress, and DHEA may also be involved in immunity.

DHEA for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

Studies show that DHEA supplementation can help people with adrenal insufficiency and mild (non-major) depression; depression is common in people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS). DHEA also is used to treat autoimmune conditions such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, which have a lot of symptoms in common with FMS and ME/CFS. It may also help improve sexual function. Some doctors and patients say DHEA helps with stress and anxiety related to FMS and ME/CFS. However, its effectiveness at relieving symptoms of these conditions has not been established.

DHEA Dosage:

The recommended dosage of DHEA is typically between 25 and 50 mg per day. You may see DHEA sold in much higher dosages, but those are generally for athletes and body builders and come with a much higher risk of side effects.

Side Effects of DHEA:

We don't have studies yet on the long-term effects of DHEA. But because it may cause high levels of some hormones, experts say it could theoretically raise your risk of prostate, breast or ovarian cancers, as well as other cancers that are hormone sensitive. DHEA is a steroid, and steroid use can be dangerous. Any DHEA use should be discussed with and monitored by your doctor.

Source:

Journal of Rheumatology. 2005 Jul;32(7):1336-40. "A randomized controlled trial of dehydroepiandrosterone in postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia."

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