Effects of short-term dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation on body composition in young athletes

Chin J Physiol. 2010 Feb 28;53(1):19-25. doi: 10.4077/cjp.2010.amh090.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is often promoted as a slimming and weight/fat loss agent and ingestion of DHEA may have hypolipidemic and anti-obesity properties. The main aim of this study was to examine the effects of acute DHEA intake on body composition and serum steroid hormones in young athletes. Twenty young (19 to 22 years) male soccer players were allocated into two randomly assigned trials in double-blind design by ingesting 100-mg daily oral DHEA or as placebo (PLA) for 28 days. Body mass was not affected by 4 weeks of DHEA supplementation (P > 0.05). No significant changes in body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body fat or total muscle mass for the two groups were detected at the end of the trial (P > 0.05). There was no within- or between-group difference in arm fat index (AFI) and corrected mid-upper-arm muscle area (cAMA) (P > 0.05). Treatment with DHEA resulted in a significant increase of total testosterone, estradiol and DHEA-S levels in treated subjects versus the placebo group (P < 0.05). Results of this study suggest that DHEA supplementation has no beneficial effects on body composition in young competitive athletes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Athletes*
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / administration & dosage
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate