If you’ve been following my various series of late, you know I usually try to end with important information you need to know. Nobody should pop capsules into their mouth — drugs or supplements — without understanding proper doses and safety information. So here I cap off the series on dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which has great potential for aging, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction,
adrenal problems, and lupus.
The typical dosage of DHEA is 50 to 200 milligrams (mg) a day. Your doctor may adjust the daily dose by measuring the blood levels in order to reach the normal level: 20 to 30 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Please know that DHEA should be used under the medical care of a physician who will closely monitor you for any of the possible adverse side effects listed below.
DHEA is considered safe for short-term use. The most common side effects include acne, tiredness, nasal congestion, and headache. On rare occasions, irregular heartbeat or palpitations are noted. Because of DHEA’s testosterone link, women sometimes report masculine changes such as acne, deepening of the voice, facial hair,hair loss, increased sweating, and weight gain around the waist. In men, breast tenderness or more prominent breast, increased blood pressure, and increased aggressiveness have been reported. Transient hepatitis and decreased HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels with even a low dose of 25 mg a day have also been reported.
Since the body’s other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone, can convert DHEA, men or women with hormone-sensitive diseases such as breast cancer, prostate disease, and ovarian cancer should not take DHEA. Also, if you have a history of liver disease or abnormal heart rhythm, or a tendency to develop blood clots, you should avoid DHEA.
Certain drugs may raise DHEA levels. These include alprazolam, diltiazem, metopirone, benfluorex, amlodipine, and nicardipine. Others may lower DHEA levels. These include danazol, dexamethasone, insulin, morphine, and estrogen-containing drugs. DHEA interacts with anti-diabetic drugs such as metformin, because it may increase blood sugar levels. It also may interact with any anti-
clotting drugs (such as warfarin) or any drugs used to regulate heart rhythm.
IMPORTANT: News for Anyone Who Takes Warfarin
How about interactions with other supplements? Here are a few that you should be mindful of:
— Herbs that raise blood sugar: Arginine, cocoa, ephedra or melatonin
— Herbs that lower blood sugar: Aloe vera, American ginseng, bilberry, bitter melon, fish oil, etc.
— Herbs that increase the risk of blood clotting: Coenzyme Q10, Panax ginseng
— Herbs that lower the risk of blood clotting: Ginkgo, garlic, saw palmetto, etc.
— Herbs that change heart rate or rhythm: Foxglove/digitalis, bufalin/Chan, hedge mustard, etc.
— Chromium picolinate: Increases DHEA levels.
Good luck and keep seeking answers to your health naturally!