zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

What Are the Side Effects of Taking DHEA?

by
author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
What Are the Side Effects of Taking DHEA?
A man is holding a supplement pill. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone the body produces and uses to make male and female sex hormones. Levels peak around age 25 and decline continuously as you get older, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. DHEA may improve sexual dysfunction in men and women, according to New York University Langone Medical Center. You can find DHEA as a supplement; however, it's crucial to consult your doctor before taking it, since it may cause unwanted side effects.

A Cause For Confusion

A common belief is that you can get DHEA naturally from wild yams. This is untrue, according to New York University Langone Medical Center. Wild yams contain no DHEA. The DHEA available in dietary supplements is made synthetically using a substance found in soybeans as a precursor, or starting point. DHEA is a hormone, not a nutrient. A typical dose is 50 to 200 milligrams daily, according to NYU Langone.

May Trigger Troublesome Mood Changes

DHEA may alleviate depression, according to NYU Langone. However, if you've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, taking DHEA may cause adverse effects, warns MedlinePlus. DHEA can trigger mania, irritability and abnormal impulsiveness in people with mood disorders, reports MedlinePlus. Mania refers to an abnormally elevated level of energy and mood. Avoid taking DHEA if you have a mood disorder, unless you do so under your doctor's supervision.

May Worsen Hormonal Imbalance

Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs when the ovaries produce higher than normal male sex hormones, known as androgens. This imbalance can affect the menstrual cycle and cause problems getting pregnant. Because the body uses DHEA to make sex hormones, taking DHEA supplements might worsen PCOS symptoms. Avoid taking DHEA if you have PCOS, advises MedlinePlus.

Other Concerns

MedlinePlus advises that taking DHEA might make liver problems worse. In addition, DHEA can affect how estrogen works in the body. Avoid DHEA if you have an estrogen-sensitive condition such as uterine fibroid and estrogen-sensitive cancers. DHEA has the potential to influence insulin -- a glucose-regulating hormone. Monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes, recommends MedlinePlus.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.