DHEA is a much talked about steroid that is made by our body. Proponents of the supplement believe that the strength and physical performance we enjoyed in our youth is a direct result of DHEA production and once we reach 25, levels decline rapidly.
The widely used DHEA supplements are marketed as rejuvenating agents which can be sold without meeting the same safety and effectiveness standards as a drug. A doctor’s prescription is not required making it easy to purchase them online or at one of the many local stores selling health related products.
There have been few rigorous scientific studies in humans and those performed on rodents that seemed to decrease fat and fight diabetes and heart disease sadly have not demonstrated the same results in humans.
The latest study was done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the University of Padua in Italy. Over two years, the researchers studied men and women over the age of 60.
Blood samples were taken and participants were examined for any changes in body fat, hormone levels, bone density, and performance on treadmill, weightlifting, and leg flexibility tests. They were also questioned about how they felt and their quality of life.
Results from the study showed that there was no effect on physical performance, quality of life or the body’s ability to lower levels of blood sugar.
Although no harmful side effects were detected, it does not mean the supplements are completely safe. Scientists advocate more research on DHEA, and if it proves to be safe and effective, it should be regulated as a drug.