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“You can get past the dead end. You can break through the ceiling. I did and so have countless others.”

Clinical Pearl Wednesday #180

African American woman taking vitamins and supplements at home in her kitchen

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands. It is often used as a supplement for anti-aging, weight loss, and muscle building. However, it is important to exercise caution when using DHEA as a supplement.

DHEA can have potential side effects and interactions with other medications. DHEA supplements may increase the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer, in those who are pre-disposed. It may also have adverse effects on cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure. Additionally, DHEA can interact with medications such as insulin, corticosteroids, and psychiatric medications.

It is important for nurse practitioners to ask their patients if they are taking DHEA or other supplements, especially if they are experiencing unusual symptoms or side effects. I have seen patients taking DHEA that did not know where their strange hormonal-based symptoms were coming from. Remember, DHEA is a pro-sex hormone. Therefore those sensitive to the effects of sex hormones, DHEA could prove to be bothersome. But in most patients, DHEA is an excellent supplement in terms of optimizing hormonal health.

2 Responses

  1. I really think the positive benefits of DHEA demand more than just a one sentence blurb at the end of the article. While true we have to approach hormonal supplementation cautiously in those with predisposed conditions, there are many benefits to it as well that I think we’re not mentioned. I have used it extensively and effectively in my practice for patients with ED who didn’t respond to PDE5I’s and weren’t a candidate for hrt, as a mild anti depressant, and for hypoactive sexual desire in women.

    1. Agreed Adam, it works great in many people. I have also seen the other side of the coin: it does nothing.

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