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What is DHEA?

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is an endogenous hormone (made in the human body) and secreted by the adrenal gland. DHEA serves as precursor to male and female sex hormones (androgens and estrogens). DHEA is sold as a supplement. In low dosages, it comes as a topical cream or gel, or in higher doses as a tablet, capsule or injection. DHEA levels in the body begin to decrease after age 30, and are reported to be low in some people with anorexia, end-stage kidney disease, type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes), AIDS, adrenal insufficiency and in the critically ill. DHEA levels may also be depleted by a number of drugs, including insulin, corticosteroids, opiates and danazol.

There is sufficient evidence supporting the use of DHEA in the treatment of adrenal insufficiency, osteoporosis, schizophrenia, depression, induction of labor and systemic lupus erythematosus.

No studies on the long-term effects of DHEA have been conducted. DHEA can cause higher than normal levels of androgens and estrogens in the body, and theoretically may increase the risk of prostate, breast, ovarian and other hormone-sensitive cancers. Therefore, it is not recommended for regular use without supervision by a licensed health professional
Always take DHEA as directed by a medical professional, particularly if you have serious medical conditions that may require other treatments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.