DHEA

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Question

What is DHEA used for and are there any side effects?

Answer

DHEA is a hormone made naturally by the body and sold as a dietary supplement. Its full name is dehydroepiandrosterone. As people age, their bodies produce less DHEA. Some people believe that taking DHEA supplements to replace lost production may help treat or prevent health problems associated with aging. People take DHEA to lose weight, increase strength, improve thinking or mood, stimulate immunity, help with erections, and even to slow the aging process itself. It's also promoted for preventing or treating heart disease, diabetes, lupus, Alzheimer disease, and cancer. But medical research hasn't yet shown that DHEA is safe or effective for any of these uses.

DHEA side effects


DHEA can cause undesirable side effects, including acne and hair loss on the head. Other reported side effects are weight gain around the waist, fatigue, headache, congestion, and increased blood pressure. In men, it could result in aggressive moods and behaviors. In women, it may cause changes in menstrual patterns, unwanted body and facial hair growth, and deepening of the voice. Liver damage may occur, although it is not as common. Side effects can be worse with higher doses. Because supplements like DHEA are not well studied, the supplement may cause side effects that haven't yet been discovered. You should use DHEA under a doctor's supervision, especially if you have diabetes, psychiatric conditions, or liver problems, or are at risk for cancer. And tell your doctor immediately if you think DHEA caused one or more of the side effects listed above or any other health problem.

View all DHEA products available on Walgreens.com.

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