What are the side effects of DHEA?
DHEA is a hormone. It might increase levels of androgen and have a steroid effect. The long-term safety of DHEA use hasn't been established. There are concerns that using DHEA as a supplement might increase the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, including prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned DHEA use among athletes.
DHEA has been linked to:
- Reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol levels
- Unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women (hirsutism)
- Mania and heart palpitations
- Oily skin
Supplements such as DHEA can also cause serious adverse effects when mixed with prescription or nonprescription drugs.
What do you tell people who want to try DHEA?
DHEA supplementation doesn't have proven benefits in older adults and might cause adverse side effects.
If you're looking for ways to promote healthy aging, remember that there's no substitute for a healthy lifestyle.
Oct. 05, 2017
See more In-depth
- AskMayoExpert. What is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Chrousos GP. Dehyrdoepiandrosterone and its sulfate. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 2, 2017.
- Pizzorno JE, et al., eds. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). In: Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 2, 2017.
- Rutkowski K, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): Hypes and hopes. Drugs. 2014;74:1195.