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Overview of DHEA and Ayurvedic medicine

Team AckoJan 5, 2024

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone naturally produced in the human body by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor hormone, meaning that it is the starting point from which other hormones, such as testosterone and oestrogen, are produced. DHEA is vital for many functions in the body and contributes to overall health and well-being. Read ahead to get an overview of this hormone and its association with Ayurvedic medicine.




The list of the best sources of DHEA

The most common sources of DHEA, according to Ayurveda, include the following.

  1. Wild Yams: Wild yams are full of beneficial compounds. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C, and fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and pain in the joints. Furthermore, they contain plant sterols, which reduce cholesterol in the body. They can be consumed raw, powdered, or in supplement form.

  2. Ashwagandha: It’s an important herb in ayurvedic medicine. It can reduce fatigue and anxiety while boosting mental clarity and focus. It regulates hormones and can improve libido in both men and women.

  3. Ginseng: It is a popular ayurvedic herb. It reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system, and can reduce symptoms of stress and fatigue. It also regulates blood sugar levels, and can improve cognitive function. 

  4. Avocado: It is high in fatty acids and fibre. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it an excellent source of nutrients. The healthy fats in avocados can reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation.

  5. Nuts and seeds: Both of these are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. They are full of important nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins, which can help to reduce inflammation.

  6. Eggs: Eggs are full of proteins and healthy fats. They are also high in B-vitamins, which are important for maintaining a healthy nervous system. 

  7. Dairy products: Dairy products such as milk and yoghurt are high in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Dairy products can improve digestion and aid in weight loss.

Health benefits of DHEA

DHEA has a number of potential health benefits, which are as follows.

1. Mood and cognitive function

Studies have found that taking DHEA supplements may help to improve cognitive performance, reduce fatigue, and even reduce symptoms of depression. Further, DHEA can improve concentration and focus.

2. Immune system support

DHEA has powerful immune-boosting properties and studies have shown that taking its supplements can reduce inflammation, increase antioxidant activity, and improve immune system functioning. Also, its supplementation has been found to have beneficial effects on gut health, which is key for optimal immune system functioning.

3. Heart health

It lowers cholesterol levels, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation. All of these factors can play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, DHEA may reduce blood pressure, which is another important factor for heart health.

4. Bone health

Studies have shown that supplementing with DHEA can help to increase bone density, reduce bone loss, and reduce the risk of fractures. This makes it an important supplement for reducing the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in women after menopause.

5. Skin benefits

DHEA supplementation may also improve skin health. Studies have found that DHEA can improve skin elasticity, and even improve acne. Also, DHEA can enhance the production of collagen, which is key for maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin.

How to use DHEA

DHEA is available in pill and powder form and can be taken orally or in other forms, such as creams and patches. It is vital to follow the instructions on the label and not exceed the recommended dosage. Consult a doctor if you have any questions regarding the supplementation. The dosage can vary for each person. However, the common dose is 25–50 mg per day.

Side effects of DHEA

DHEA is a hormone typically found in higher levels in the body before menopause and then decreases with age. It is available in supplement form and has been used to enhance performance and improve weight loss goals. However, taking DHEA can lead to a variety of side effects. 

  • Headache

  • Fatigue 

  • Insomnia 

  • Lack of energy 

  • Depression 

  • Joint pain 

  • Irritability 

  • Agitation 

  • Bloating 

  • Breast tenderness 

  • Acne 

  • High blood pressure 

It is important to note that the effects can differ from person to person. Some may experience more severe side effects than others. Also, it may interact with certain medications and it is essential to speak to a doctor before taking DHEA supplements.

Long-term side effects

In some cases, taking DHEA can lead to long-term side effects such as abnormal cholesterol levels, abnormal heart rhythms, and thyroid problems. Some research has also suggested that taking it can increase the risk of certain cancers, although more research is needed to determine whether this is true.

It is important to remember that taking DHEA is not risk-free and there is no evidence to suggest that it can improve performance or aid in weight loss in the long term. Before taking DHEA supplements, it is vital to speak to a doctor to ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the risks. 

Precautions and warnings while taking DHEA

It is crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with taking DHEA. 

  • DHEA can interact with other medications. So speak to your healthcare provider about any medicines you are taking before taking DHEA. 

  • It may affect blood sugar levels. That means if you have diabetes or are at risk, your doctor may need to monitor your blood glucose levels more closely while taking DHEA. 

  • Some people may experience side effects from taking DHEA, such as increased acne or moodiness. If you experience any uncomfortable side effects, stop taking DHEA.

  • It may not be safe for people who have a history of stroke or other blood vessel problems.

  • It is not recommended to take DHEA if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough evidence to determine whether it is safe in these circumstances.

  • It may affect hormone levels. Therefore, it is not recommended for people who are already taking hormonal medications, such as birth control pills.

Frequently asked questions

Listed below are common questions and their answers regarding DHEA.


What are the potential benefits of taking DHEA?

DHEA has numerous potential benefits. It may improve overall mood, reduce stress and anxiety, improve energy levels, and enhance libido. It may protect against osteoporosis, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve memory. 

Should I talk to my doctor before taking DHEA?

Yes, it is always best to talk to a healthcare professional before taking any kind of supplement. They will be able to assess the individual's needs and determine the best dosage and form of DHEA. This will ensure that the supplement is taken safely and effectively.

What are the alternatives to taking DHEA?

Eating a healthy diet rich in DHEA-precursors, such as soybeans, almonds, egg yolks, and avocado, can increase DHEA levels naturally. Regular exercise, stress management techniques, and getting plenty of sleep can also improve overall health and well-being.

How long does it take for DHEA to work? 

The dose depends on several different factors, such as the individual's metabolism, age, lifestyle, and health condition. In general, it can take anywhere from two weeks to three months before the effects of DHEA supplementation are experienced. Also, some people may not experience any positive effects from taking DHEA, while others may experience a dramatic improvement in their health.

Is DHEA safe to take?

Given the potential risks of taking DHEA, it is vital to talk with your doctor before taking it. Your doctor can determine if DHEA is safe for you and can recommend the best dosage for your needs. If you decide to take it, make sure to monitor for any side effects or interactions. 


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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