DHEA Studies


In the NADF News we published a short piece on a DHEA Study being conducted at the Mayo Clinic by Dr. Ketan K. Dhatariya. Several of our members replied to his call for volunteers and participated in the study. The results of the study are currently under review by a few medical journals, and Dr. Dhatariya has promised to let NADF know when and where the studies are published. In the meantime, as part of his research for the study, Dr. Dhatariya did a literature review of the studies on DHEA available to him at that time. Following is the abstract from the review:


Dehydroepiandrosterone: Is There a Role for Replacement?
Ketan K. Dhatariya, MBBS, MRCP(UK), MSC, and K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, PHD

“Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated ester are found in high concentrations in the plasma; however, their role in normal human physiology, other than as pre-cursors for sex hormones, remains incompletely defined. Studies of rodent models have shown that these hormones have beneficial effects on a wide variety of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, immune function, atherosclerosis, and many of the disorders associated with normal aging. However, rodents are not the best models to study the actions of these hormones because they have very little endogenous DHEA; thus, the doses given to these animals are usually suprapharmacological. Human studies have been performcd to determine the potential beneficial effects of DHEA replacement in persons with low DHEA levels. Results have been conflicting. Human studies suggest a potential role for DHEA replacement in persons who have undergone adrenalectomy and possibly in the aging population. However, long-term studI es assessing the benefits vs adverse effects must be done before DHEA replacement can be recommended, ”

The full text of the review is 12 1/2 pages with 4 1/2 pages of references that may direct the reader to other DHEA studies in which they may have interest. The review is broken down into the following areas of discussion:

  • Biochemistry and physiology of DHEA
  • Experimental Evidence of Biologis and Clinical Effects
  • Mood and Well Being
  • Cognition and Memory
  • Sexual Functioning
  • Insulin Sensitivity
  • Cardiovascular Effects
  • Muscle Strength and Body Composition
  • Bone Immune Function
  • Adverse Effects and Potential Limitations of DHEA use
  • Availability of DHEA in the Unites States

Written with physicians as the target audience, the literature review may be a difficult and/or tedious read for persons with minimal medical knowledge. However, Dr. Dhatariya has managed to take information gained from a large number of studies on DHEA and to condense it into this one document, making it worth any time and energy put toward the effort.

Many thanks to Dr. Ketan K. Dhatariya and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic for their efforts in this area of research which affects our adrenal disease population. We look forward to reading of their new findings as soon as they are available.