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DHEA is the acronym for dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands and that is responsible for participating in the production of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. DHEA production reaches its maximum amount between 20 and 30 years of age, with its concentration decreasing from that age onwards.
DHEA can also be obtained synthetically from soybeans or yams, being used as a supplement. In supplement form, DHEA is commonly used for the purpose of delaying aging, facilitating weight loss, and preventing muscle loss.
Although it is sold in several countries, including the United States, the commercialization of DHEA is prohibited by Anvisa in Brazil, because there are few studies that prove its benefits.In addition, DHEA can also cause several side effects, especially the development of abdominal fat, contributing to an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, for example.
What is it for
DHEA is one of the most abundant hormones in the human body and is important for maintaining hormonal balance. Normally, with aging and decreasing concentration of DHEA, there is an increased risk of various diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases and even problems caused by stress. Thus, DHEA supplementation is often used for natural hormone replacement, fighting the effects of aging.
The supplement has also been indicated for:
- Maintain muscle mass;
- Increase libido;
- Avoid impotence.
In addition, DHEA can act by improving the immune system, controlling cholesterol levels and ensuring greater energy to carry out day-to-day activities.
Contraindications and side effects
The indiscriminate use of DHEA can increase the levels of sex hormones, which can lead to changes in the voice and menstrual cycle, hair loss and hair growth on the face, in the case of women, and in the case of men, an increase in of the breasts and sensitivity in the region, for example.
Furthermore, excessive use of DHEA can result in insomnia, acne, abdominal pain, increased cholesterol and altered heart rate.
DHEA is a hormone, so it is important that its use is done only with medical advice. The use of a DHEA supplement is not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children, unless recommended by their general practitioner or endocrinologist.