Benefits of DHEA

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DHEA is a steroid hormone produced by the human body, the precursor to hormones like estrogen and testosterone. Because people's DHEA levels peak during their 20s and then decline with age, DHEA supplements are often advocated as a way to prevent age-related diseases, as well as other health conditions. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, DHEA may possibly be effective for schizophrenia, improving skin appearance in the elderly, erectile dysfunction, lupus, and osteoporosis.

DHEA and Schizophrenia

Research on DHEA and schizophrenia is still largely in the preliminary stages, meaning firm conclusions can't yet be reached. However, initial results indicate that DHEA supplementation might improve negative, positive, and anxiety symptoms of the disorder. A study from 2003 found that anxiety and depressive symptoms were lessened in schizophrenic patients who took DHEA in addition to their regular antipsychotic medication for 6 weeks.

DHEA may also help relieve some of the side effects associated with the medications commonly used to treat schizophrenia, enhance well being, and increase energy levels. However, DHEA appears to be more effective in women with schizophrenia than in men.

People with mood and psychotic disorders should only use DHEA under the supervision of a healthcare provider. DHEA may worsen mood or induce mania in some people, and naturally high levels of DHEA have been associated with psychotic disorders.

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