DHEA is a hormone that is naturally made by the human body. The body uses DHEA to make androgens and estrogens, the male and female sex hormones. DHEA levels peak at about age 25, then go down steadily as you get older. DHEA is sold in the US without a prescription as a ‘nutritional supplement
- Aging skin: Some research shows that taking DHEA by mouth increases the thickness and hydration of the top layer of the skin in elderly people. Early research shows that applying DHEA to the skin for 4 months improves the appearance of the skin.
- Depression: Most research shows that taking 30-500 mg of DHEA by mouth daily improves symptoms of depression.
- Improves mood
- Boosts the immune system
- Sharpens memory
- Combats aging.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: DHEA is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It can cause higher than normal levels of a male hormone called androgen. This might be harmful to the baby. Don’t use DHEA if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: DHEA is a hormone that can affect how estrogen works in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use DHEA.
- Liver problems: Don’t use DHEA if you have liver problems.
- Diabetes: DHEA can affect how insulin works in the body. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully if you are taking DHEA.
- Depression and mood disorders: There is some concern that patients with a history of depression and bipolar disorder might have some mental side effects if they use DHEA. DHEA can cause mania (excitability and impulsiveness), irritability, and sexual inappropriateness in people with mood disorders. If you have a mood disorder, be sure to discuss DHEA with your healthcare provider before you start taking it. Also, pay attention to any changes in how you feel.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Taking DHEA might make this condition worse. Don’t use DHEA if you have PCOS.
- Cholesterol problems: DHEA might lower “good cholesterol”.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Anastrozole interacts with DHEA
Taking DHEA along with anastrozole (Arimidex) might decrease the effectiveness of anastrozole.
- Exemestane (Aromasin) interacts with DHEA
Taking DHEA along with exemestane (Aromasin) might decrease the effectiveness of exemestane (Aromasin). Do not take DHEA if you are taking exemestane (Aromasin).
- Fulvestrant (Faslodex) interacts with DHEA
Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Fulvestrant (Faslodex) is used for this type of estrogen cancer. DHEA might increase estrogen in the body and decrease the effectiveness of fulvestrant for treating cancer. Do not take DHEA if you are taking fulvestrant.
- Insulin interacts with DHEA
Insulin is used to decrease blood sugar. Insulin can also decrease the amount of DHEA in the body. By decreasing DHEA in the body insulin might decrease the effectiveness of DHEA supplements.
- Letrozole (Femara) interacts with DHEA
DHEA might increase estrogen in the body and decrease the effectiveness of letrozole (Femara) for treating cancer. Do not take DHEA if you are taking letrozole (Femara).
- Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with DHEA
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver: lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
- Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) interacts with DHEA
Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. DHEA increases estrogen levels in the body. By increasing estrogen in the body, DHEA might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take DHEA if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).
- Triazolam (Halcion) interacts with DHEA
The body breaks down triazolam (Halcion) to get rid of it. DHEA might decrease how quickly the body breaks down triazolam (Halcion). Taking DHEA along with triazolam (Halcion) might increase the effects and side effects of triazolam (Halcion).
3b-Hydroxy-Androst-5-Ene-17-One, 3BetaHydroxy-Androst-5-Ene-17-One, Androstenolone, Dehydroepiandrosterone, Déhydroépiandrostérone, DHEA-S, GL701, Prasterone, Prastérone
University of Maryland Medical Centre, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/dehydroepiandrosteronee