DHEA enhances effects of weight training on muscle mass and strength in elderly women and men

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Nov;291(5):E1003-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00100.2006. Epub 2006 Jun 20.

Abstract

The plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated form (DHEAS) decline approximately 80% between the ages of 25 and 75 yr. Muscle mass and strength also decrease with aging. Published data on the effects of DHEA replacement on muscle mass and strength are conflicting. The goals of this study were to determine whether DHEA replacement increases muscle mass and strength and/or enhances the effects of heavy resistance exercise in elderly women and men. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of 10 mo of DHEA replacement therapy with the addition of weightlifting exercise training during the last 4 mo of the study (DHEA + exercise group, n = 29; placebo + exercise group, n = 27). DHEA alone for 6 mo did not significantly increase strength or thigh muscle volume. However, DHEA therapy potentiated the effect of 4 mo of weightlifting training on muscle strength, evaluated by means of one-repetition maximum measurement and Cybex dynamometry, and on thigh muscle volume, measured by magnetic resonance imaging. Serum insulin-like growth factor concentration increased in response to DHEA replacement. This study provides evidence that DHEA replacement has the beneficial effect of enhancing the increases in muscle mass and strength induced by heavy resistance exercise in elderly individuals.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / blood
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / adverse effects
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Thigh

Substances

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I