DHEA has no beneficial effects as antiaging supplement

27 08 2007

In a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have found that a widely used antiaging supplement has no effect on aging markers such as muscle strength, peak endurance, muscle mass, fat mass and glucose tolerance in elderly men and women.

The findings serve to dispel the belief that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), sold extensively as an antiaging supplement in the USA and some parts of Europe, can reverse age-related alterations in body composition and function.

For almost two years researchers restored DHEA in 144 older men and women to the high normal levels that are usually observed in young people, but found no beneficial effects on age-related changes in body composition and function or quality of life.

These findings contradict some of the previous reports on DHEA. Researchers stated that many former studies were done over shorter periods of time and didn’t involve a large enough group of subjects. This study also was strengthened because it was a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. DHEA was administered only to people with low DHEA and testosterone levels.

DHEA has been promoted as an antiaging supplement and it’s use has been a controversial issue, as antiaging supplements drive sales in the health food industry. Researchers advises elderly people to stop using DHEA because it is unlikely to offer any antiaging effect. They also suggest DHEA should no longer be accepted as a food supplement and should instead be treated as a regulated drug.

In fact, I personally think that all those so-called “natural supplements” should be under the same regulation as conventional drugs. Appropriate regulation would dispel much of the quackery associated with this kind of products.

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