Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone vs androstenedione supplementation in men

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Dec;31(12):1788-92. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199912000-00014.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of short-term (12 wk) supplementation with androstenedione versus dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on body composition, strength, and related hormones in middle-aged men.

Methods: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind design was used to study 40 healthy, trained (>1 yr weight training) male subjects (mean +/- SD: age 48.1 +/- 3.9 yr; weight 79.8 +/- 9.8 kg). Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: placebo (P), DHEA (D), or androstenedione (A). Supplements (50 mg capsules) were ingested two times daily for 12 wk. All testing, including venous blood samples, body composition, and performance, was conducted at three time points: presupplementation (1 d), at 6 wk, and postsupplementation (12 wk).

Results: Despite a small increase in lean body mass (0.8 +/- 0.4 and 0.5 +/- 0.3 kg) and mean strength (6.8 +/- 2.7 and 5.7 +/- 2.4 kg) in both D and A groups respectively, these changes were not significantly different from P. In D, there was a significantly greater increase in DHEA-S levels than in P (P < 0.05). There were no adverse side effects demonstrated during D or A supplementation including significant changes in PSA, liver function, or lipid levels (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that supplementation with 100 mg x d(-1) of either androstenedione or DHEA does not independently elicit a statistically significant increase in lean body mass, strength, or testosterone levels in healthy adult men over a 12-wk period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androstenedione / administration & dosage*
  • Androstenedione / pharmacology
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Tolerance / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone