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What is DHEA used for?

DHEA used in supplemental form to treat medical conditions is controversial. Although there are many claims of the effectiveness of DHEA for treating a variety of conditions, in more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, and HIV/AIDS, more established therapies are recommended. Addison's disease, a rare disease also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, has gained FDA approval for very limited use of DHEA as treatment, and the effects remain controversial. Positive results have been shown in treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in the short term, but long term effectiveness is still debated. Although results of studies remain inconclusive for many conditions, DHEA has been promoted as beneficial to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), high glucose levels, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, sex drive, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis in the elderly or the young as a result of anorexia or corticosteroid use, schizophrenia, depression, cataracts, infertility, induction of labor, menopausal symptoms, asthma, obesity, cocaine withdrawal, and Crohn's disease. DHEA use has been banned for use by Olympic athletes because of the possible benefits to building muscle mass. In topical creams and gel form, DHEA is available commercially to restore vaginal tone, collagen, oils, and proteins in the skin, thus preventing wrinkling from sun exposure or age.

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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.