Effect of Dehydroepiandrosterone and Testosterone Supplementation on Systemic Lipolysis

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Apr;101(4):1719-28. doi: 10.1210/jc.2015-4062. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Context: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and T hormones are advertised as antiaging, antiobesity products. However, the evidence that these hormones have beneficial effects on adipose tissue metabolism is limited.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the effect of DHEA and T supplementation on systemic lipolysis during a mixed-meal tolerance test (MMTT) and an iv glucose tolerance test (IVGTT).

Design: This was a 2-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: The study was conducted at a general clinical research center.

Participants: Sixty elderly women with low DHEA concentrations and 92 elderly men with low DHEA and bioavailable T concentrations participated in the study.

Interventions: Elderly women received 50 mg DHEA (n = 30) or placebo (n = 30). Elderly men received 75 mg DHEA (n = 30), 5 mg T (n = 30), or placebo (n = 32).

Main outcome measures: In vivo measures of systemic lipolysis (palmitate rate of appearance) during a MMTT or IVGTT.

Results: At baseline there was no difference in insulin suppression of lipolysis measured during MMTT and IVGTT between the treatment groups and placebo. For both sexes, a univariate analysis showed no difference in changes in systemic lipolysis during the MMTT or IVGTT in the DHEA group and T group when compared with placebo. There was no change in the results after adjusting for the resting energy expenditure, except for a small, but significant (P = .03) lowering of MMTT nadir palmitate rate of appearance in women who received DHEA.

Conclusion: In elderly individuals with concentrations of DHEA (men and women) or T (men) below the normal range for young adults, supplementation of these hormones has no effect on insulin suppression of systemic lipolysis.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00254371.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lipolysis / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00254371