DHEA Review- Does This Performance Enhancer Work?
What is an endogenous steroid hormone? That’s DHEA, so we wanted to take a closer look, so we focused on all aspects of the hormone, side effects and clinical research. Additionally, we examined hundreds of user comments and reviews. Then, we condensed and summarized to give you the info you need.
What is DHEA?
First off, DHEA is an endogenous steroid hormone. The active compound is dehydroepiandrosterone 50mg, cellulose, vitamins and minerals, among others. The chemical promotes athletic performance, increases libido and helps muscle-building by serving as a precursor to androgen and estrogen; hormones that control gender-specific characteristics. The recommended serving, based on supplement manufacturer, is about one to two capsules per day.
DHEA is made naturally in the body and is found in foods like soy and wild yam. Studies show that dehydroepiandrosterone levels won’t increase simply by eating either food. Supplements containing this ingredient are readily available and are relatively inexpensive. We like that it’s found naturally and that customers shared their positive experiences, but read on…
Side Effects – “Not What You Expected?”
The first concern centered on DHEA side effects not being as positive as claimed. “There’s scientific evidence showing it plays a critical role in counteracting the signs of aging,” said our Research Editor. “While supporting the benefits, the same studies showed that using this could lead to adverse reactions.”
“My blood pressure skyrocketed. Lowered dose to 12.5mg/day…still high BP. Stopped taking,” commented a customer.
“Side effects included headaches, anxiousness and nervousness, sleeplessness, problems with bowl movements,” said another.
Although some users shared negative experiences while using DHEA, we found that this type of reaction isn’t always the case. “The first time i took it, about 45mins later i felt it. It was just like something kicked inside me! The next 2 days, stress was gone, muscle fatigue minimized, my appetite was back to normal,” stated a user.
Ineffectiveness – “Any Results from DHEA?”
After examining hundreds of user comments about DHEA, we found that several complained about it not producing results. “Both times I took DHEA, I had to suspend the treatment after just a few days because on two separate occasions it was supposed to help with depression and it just made it once,” said a user.
“I’ve been taking DHEA 50mg for two months and there were no positive results of taking DHEA,” stated a consumer.
On the other hand, we found that some users noticed solid results while using DHEA. “With DHEA my libido came back to life,” said a customer.
“Was prescribed 10 mg of DHEA to help elevate hormones which are all low. After 6 weeks…I was a bit stronger physically,” said another.
We have experience researching supplements and have found that any part of a formula is considered concerning, such as not being effective, the chances of long-term success are reduced. If you use DHEA and don’t notice results, it may be time to consider an alternative.
The Science – “Backed by Research?”
There’s information stating that DHEA improves libido, build muscle and reduces the signs of aging. When we wanted to know how, we turned toward research. We found scientific evidence proving it works to improve gender related characteristics, so we dug deeper to find if it helps boost testosterone. Studies showed that to boost levels, participants used DHEA 200mg, zinc, vitamin D and fenugreek. The direct connection to improving performance is mixed. At DietSpotlight, solid science is a critical part of the review process. If the facts aren’t conclusive, this could be a sign of bigger issues.
The Bottom Line – Does DHEA Work?
DHEA supposedly reverses the signs of aging; so what’s our take on it? Well, we like that it occurs naturally and is found in some foods, but we’re a bit hesitant about this one because the science is mixed when it comes to how well it works. Also, we have concerns about this one because users are talking about their lack of results and how it causes negative side effects.
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Previous DHEA Review (Updated December 9, 2008):
What You Should KnowDehydroepiandrosterone, better known as DHEA, is a naturally occurring steroid hormone that is secreted from the adrenal glands and is commonly present in the body in high amounts before the age of 25. DHEA is thought to be a natural steroid because it easily converts into testosterone, allowing easy duplication of this substance. For years, pushers of DHEA claimed it reversed the signs of aging because this substance decreases as one ages -- low DHEA levels are found in people with certain diseases and Anorexia Nervosa. Other claims are the ability to increase muscle mass as other steroids do and the ability to prevent multiple types of diseases. The latter claim is true, and hospitals are beginning to use DHEA as part of depression and lupus treatment. Its connection to diet? Early studies conducted on test rats show it helped control the rats' obesity rates. Scientists still stress that DHEA is relatively untested and that the effects and side effects with this substance are still not known. This makes DHEA a very risky substance and the way it affects the estrogen and testosterone levels in the body is another cause for concern. Despite these concerns, however, many diet companies are quickly touting this as a miracle drug.
Product FeaturesAs noted earlier, early studies conducted on test rats showed DHEA helped control obesity, preventing further weight gain. This study alone drew in worldwide attention, including the Mayo Clinic, who considers DHEA a suitable supplement for controlling obesity. Therein lies the actual issue with DHEA. These studies revealed substantial results with animals, not humans, and current testing on humans reveal little changes -- these changes do not even affect weight control. Still, this has not stopped diet companies from inserting it into many of their supplements and calling this a miracle supplement for the ages. In our opinion, more testing is needed to confirm any dietary benefits for humans. On an additional note, DHEA is rumored to have very unpleasant side effects, but these effects are not necessarily confirmed either. The increase in testosterone and estrogen may cause the same side effects as typical steroids, such as facial hair growth for women and the development of breast tissue and prostrate enlargement in men. The bottom line here is that DHEA is too new to confirm any results for the average dieter, and it may not offer some of the benefits claimed by some diet companies.
- Early studies show DHEA helped control weight gain in rats.
- It naturally occurs in the body, making this easy to produce and obtain.
- Current studies on humans yield unsatisfactory results.
- DHEA may raise estrogen and testosterone levels -- it may also cause the same side effects as steroids.
- Is still too new and most claims have not been confirmed as factual at the time of this review.
ConclusionDiet companies consider DHEA a miracle weight loss drug, but scientists say otherwise and the results thus far have not confirmed these outrageous claims. Still, there is evidence it controls weight in rats, and further studies are needed to evaluate why this occurs (or how to duplicate this same effect in humans). Don't count out this substance just yet -- there is potential here that hasn't been tested but you will need to wait a while to see if DHEA really is a miracle drug.
DHEA Side Effects:
DHEA is popular in the weight-loss community, leading us to dive deeper into potential DHEA side effects by looking through ingredients and clinical research. Before making any decisions we read through hundreds of customer comments and reviews. Then, we condensed and summarized to give you the bottom line.
What You Need to Know
First off, DHEA is a steroid hormone that is naturally synthesized in the body. Pill strengths range from 5 mg to 100 mg with weight-loss claimed as a potential benefit of supplementation. There’s no trouble taking the bottle with you no matter where you’re going.
The product, which has been in the body since the beginning of time, is all-natural, a definite benefit. You can buy various brands online and in stores. We like that DHEA is widely available and there are some benefits clinical studies have proven, but read on…
Fatigue and Mood Changes – “Feeling Off?”
The first issues we found with DHEA side effects included fatigue and mood changes. “The weight-loss market is one of the biggest supplement businesses in the world,” explains our Research Editor. “With so many options out there why would the dieter choose a product associated with changes in how they feel?”
“When taking this, I felt like my brain was foggy (normally very clear) and I got frustrated easily, also felt tired all the time, too tired to exercise, and felt overwhelmed by everything. I also experienced headaches in the temples,” one user who experienced DHEA side effects explains.
“From the second day I felt an unusual fatigue and it took me 5 more days to connect the dots and realize that the DHEA is the reason. Once I stopped taking this product everything came back to normal and the fatigue disappeared the next day,” offers another.
We also found mention of irritability, “These caused both my husband and my 32 Y.O. son to become very aggressive, irritable and argumentative within a week of taking these per the directions.”
Losing Your Hair?
One of the DHEA side effects that surprised us a little was hair loss. There were multiple reports of the same problem. “After a week of using DHEA my daily blood pressure changed by quite a bite at different times of the day !!!,” says one user.
“I have been trying this pill for a week and have not notice any improvements. I have noticed that more of my hair is falling out,” claims a buyer.
Yet another dieter offers, “I’ve used DHEA for ~20 days and suddenly I realized an intensive wave of hair loss. I stopped taking it immediately and the hair loss stopped.”
One person put it simply, “Don’t do it! Causes hair loss.”
In our research we’ve come to the conclusion that it takes just one issue, like mood changes, to offset any real chances of long-term success. If DHEA side effects leave dieters feeling worse for the wear it may not be the best idea to continue trying it.
Scientific research plays an important part in DHEA side effects, because there are proven adverse reactions. The Mayo Clinic explains many of the potential problems. “In women, DHEA may cause decreased breast size, a deep voice, increased genital size, irregular periods, oily skin, and unnatural hair growth. In men, DHEA may cause aggression, breast tenderness or enlargement, decreased testes size, and urinary urgency.” DietSpotlight looks to clinical support when making a final decision. If there’s nothing there, there’s no green flag.
The Bottom Line
Our research into DHEA side effects left us with a firm conclusion. We like that the body naturally produces the steroid hormone, but we can’t suggest a supplement associated with fatigue and mood changes. We’re also highly concerned that clinical research shows a long list of potential issues.
If you’re ready to melt away the pounds, we suggest going with a product that offers ingredients backed with published clinical research that isn’t associated with adverse side effects.
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