DHEA Precautions for Men | DHEA Precautions for Women | Other Safety Precautions
To avoid negative side effects DHEAS (dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate) blood test should be taken 3-6 weeks after beginning DHEA therapy to help determine optimal dosing. Some people neglect to test their blood levels for DHEA and wind up chronically taking the wrong dose. When having your blood tested for DHEA, blood should be drawn three to four hours after the last dose. DHEA testing may save you money if it shows that you can take less DHEA to maintain youthful DHEA serum levels.
Before initiating DHEA therapy, men should know their serum PSA (prostate specific antigen) level and have passed a digital rectal exam. Men with prostate cancer or severe benign prostate disease are advised to avoid DHEA since DHEA can be converted into testosterone (and estrogen). These sex hormones and their metabolites can promote cell proliferation. It is important to understand, however, that well-controlled studies show that serum DHEA levels are usually lower in men with malignant prostate disease compared to healthy control subjects. Therefore, men are advised to have a PSA and digital rectal exam before initiating DHEA therapy to rule out existing prostate disease, not because DHEA causes the disease. To the contrary, there is evidence indicating that maintaining youthful levels of DHEA may protect against prostate cancer.
To reduce the risk that hormone modulation with DHEA could contribute to a prostate problem, men taking DHEA are also advised to take:
- Vitamin E - 400-800 IU daily
- Selenium - 200-600 mcg daily
- Mega Soy Extract - 135 mcg twice daily (40% isoflavone extract)
- Lycopene Extract - 20-40 mg daily
- Saw Palmetto Extract - 160 mg twice daily
- Pygeum Extract - 50 mg twice daily
- Nettle Extract - 120 mg twice daily
- Gamma Tocopherol - 200 mg daily
Note: An aromatase inhibitor should be considered if serum estrogen levels are high. Refer to the Male Hormone Modulation Protocol for complete information about suppressing excessive estrogen levels.
Men over 40 should consider checking their PSA and DHEAS serum levels every six to twelve months thereafter. Men should also periodically check their blood levels for free testosterone and estrogen to make sure that DHEA is following a youthful metabolic pathway. See the Male Hormone Modulation protocol for additional hormone balance testing that can be done at the same time serum DHEA and PSA levels are being tested.
DHEA can increase serum estrogen levels in women and eliminate the need for estrogen replacement therapy in some women.
To help protect cells (especially breast cells) from excessive proliferation in response to estrogen, women taking DHEA should also take:
- Melatonin - 500 mcg to 3 mg nightly
- Vitamin E Succinate - 400-800 IU daily
- Mega Soy Extract - 135 mg twice daily (40% isoflavone extract)
- Indole-3-carbinol - 200 mg twice daily
- Vitamin D3 - 1000-1400 IU daily
Women should consider estrogen and testosterone testing when they take their DHEA blood test in order to evaluate DHEA's affect on their blood levels of estrogens.
Women who have been diagnosed with an estrogen-dependent cancer should consult their physicians before beginning DHEA therapy. Some studies indicate that higher serum DHEA protects against breast cancer, but no adequate studies have been done to evaluate the effects of DHEA in breast cancer patients. If DHEA were to elevate estrogens too much, this could theoretically increase the risk of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells proliferating faster. Women taking DHEA should refer to the Female Hormone Modulation protocol for information about restoring youthful hormone balance.
DHEA can be converted into testosterone (and estrogen). These sex hormones and their metabolites can promote benign and malignant prostate cell proliferation. Men with prostate cancer or severe benign prostate hypertrophy are advised to avoid DHEA. Women with estrogen-dependent cancer should consult their physicians before beginning DHEA therapy.
Individuals with existing liver disease (such as viral hepatitis or cirrhosis) might consider taking DHEA sublingually (under your tongue) or using a topical DHEA cream to reduce the amount of DHEA entering the liver. DHEA is converted by the liver into DHEA-s (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate). Those with liver disease should carefully monitor liver enzyme levels to make sure that DHEA therapy is not making liver disease worse.