What is DHEA?
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is commonly used to help patients with SLE. It’s been proven to help reduce fatigue, improve thinking difficulties, and help improve the quality of life. DHEA is a steroid hormone that acts like testosterone and converts into testosterone and estrogen. DHEA can be found in plants and converted into supplements, which can be found in health food stores, drugstores, and grocery stores.
DHEA is abundant in the body, but does decrease with age. It is advised that before taking DHEA supplements, one should make sure to have blood tests done in order to determine present levels in the bloodstream. It is also advised that one only proceeds if he or she doesn’t have enough DHEA in his or her blood. After three weeks of taking the supplements, it is preferred that one takes more blood tests to see if the level of DHEA is where it should be in the blood. If so, then supplements should be taken for maintenance purposes only.
Scientists have been working on finding other uses for DHEA. According to one study, it can increase bone density, but only at a small level. Other studies link DHEA to diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. However, there is no scientific proof at this time of DHEA being a cause or cure for these conditions.
Other than to help with SLE, DHEA is also being proven to help patients with depression. In one study, 50% of participants taking the supplement showed fewer symptoms of depression and another study showed that DHEA may reduce symptoms of HIV/AIDS patients with mild depression.
For the most part, DHEA is considered safe. However, it is advised that one take supplements with a doctor’s close supervision, since the dosage must be very specific to what is being treated with them.