Can You Take Ashwagandha and DHEA Together? Is it Safe?

DHEA and ashwagandha are both touted for their potential to alleviate stress and improve mood, but are there any benefits to taking them together?

Or better yet, can you take ashwagandha and DHEA together in the first place?

Well, that’s a question that needs some serious consideration. 

Let’s dive into it.

What Are the Benefits of Taking DHEA and Ashwagandha?

Both DHEA and ashwagandha have a long list of proposed benefits to their names.

Since you’re probably already familiar with what they are, let’s just tackle the benefits of these two.

First up, we have several proposed benefits associated with DHEA.

  • Hormone production: DHEA is a precursor hormone used by the body to produce sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. [1]
    These hormones are vital for several bodily functions, from bone density to muscle growth, making DHEA an essential part of overall hormone health.
  • Mood enhancement: Some data indicates that DHEA might play a role in mood regulation, mainly through its effects on cortisol and other relevant neurotransmitters. [2]
  • Energy boost: Anecdotal evidence suggests that DHEA may contribute to increased energy levels. This might be tied to its role in hormone production, which can impact overall vitality.
  • Cognitive Improvement: There are some indications that DHEA could potentially help with cognitive functions like memory and focus.

As for ashwagandha, the main proposed benefits are rather similar.

  • Stress and anxiety relief: Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body manage stress more effectively. [3]
    Several studies have shown that it can significantly reduce symptoms in people with chronic stress and anxiety disorders.
  • Lowering cortisol levels: As you know, cortisol is a hormone released in response to stress.
    High levels of cortisol can lead to various health issues, ranging from anxiety and insomnia to even cancer and cardiovascular disease.
    Thankfully, ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, potentially contributing to better stress management and overall better health.
  • Boosting brain function: Some research suggests that ashwagandha might improve memory, task performance, and attention. [4]
  • Improved physical performance: Ashwagandha might enhance physical performance in both sedentary people and athletes by improving various aspects of physical health.
    Some studies also suggest that it can boost muscle strength and recovery, and in some cases, supplementing ashwagandha has also led to an increase in testosterone.

Now, the difference between these two doesn’t appear to be that great when you look at this list.

However, there’s a big difference between the two, and that difference is that ashwagandha’s benefits are backed up by sufficient research to a great degree.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for DHEA.

Can You Take Ashwagandha and DHEA Together?

On the face of it, combining DHEA and ashwagandha should not pose significant risks for most people, as both are considered safe, and there aren’t any known interactions between the two. 

However, this is a relatively unexplored area, and scientific data on this specific combination is sparse at best.

Also, there’s one more thing we have to discuss…

How Ashwagandha Impacts the Body’s DHEA Levels

While we don’t have definitive evidence, some research suggests that ashwagandha might increase DHEA-S (S is for sulfate) levels by impacting overall adrenal health and function. [5]

Remember, the adrenal glands produce DHEA and DHEA-S. 

So, by supporting adrenal health, ashwagandha could theoretically contribute to optimal DHEA production without the need for actual DHEA supplementation, which in a way, defeats the purpose of supplementing both simultaneously. 

That said, more research is needed to confirm this.

Will Taking Ashwagandha and DHEA Together Lead to Additional Benefits?

Given the lack of scientific research into the combined effects of DHEA and ashwagandha, it’s challenging to answer this with certainty. 

Whether their benefits are amplified or altered when taken together is still a topic that needs more exploration.

However, we could make an educated guess and say that considering the lack of evidence for DHEA supplement efficacy, taking ashwagandha and DHEA together won’t lead to additional benefits as opposed to taking ashwagandha alone.

Potential Downsides of Taking Ashwagandha and DHEA Together?

If we assume that DHEA and ashwagandha offer individual benefits, combining them without medical supervision could lead to unforeseen complications, primarily due to their potential hormonal effects.

But at the same time, there’s also not enough evidence to support this, as neither of these is known to have a very significant effect on hormone levels.

But nevertheless, neither is without side effects.

For instance, DHEA side effects can include hormonal imbalances leading to acne, hair loss, or changes in the menstrual cycle, among others. 

Ashwagandha, on the other hand, can cause minor side effects like stomach upset and drowsiness. 

Bottom Line: Is Ashwagandha and DHEA a Worthwhile Combo to Take?

All things considered, ashwagandha and DHEA is probably not a worthwhile combo to take – for a few reasons.

Firstly, given the limited evidence supporting the combined use of DHEA and ashwagandha, it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend this duo as a surefire solution to stress and mood disorders. 

Secondly, unlike ashwagandha, DHEA does not appear to have such a universally beneficial effect on the human mind and body.

Thirdly, the lack of research on their combined effects leaves room for potential risks and unknowns, and no matter how small a chance there is, that’s something that needs to be considered.

And finally, since ashwagandha is already known to elevate DHEA levels, it is somewhat unnecessary to add additional DHEA supplementation to the mix.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while DHEA and ashwagandha offer intriguing potential benefits for mood and stress management, combining them isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to tranquility. 

Until further research validates their combined use, it’s probably better to stick with the one that works, which is ashwagandha in this case.

  1. https://examine.com/supplements/dhea/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18482290
  3. https://examine.com/supplements/ashwagandha
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28471731
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6438434/

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