Lack of dehydroepiandrosterone effect on a combined endurance and resistance exercise program in postmenopausal women

Ada Igwebuike, Brian A. Irving, Maureen L. Bigelow, Kevin R. Short, Joseph P. McConnell, K. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Context: Recent studies disputed the widely promoted anti-aging effect of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation; however, conflicting data exist on whether physiological DHEA supplementation enhances exercise training effects on body composition, physical performance, and cardiometabolic risk in healthy postmenopausal women. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether 12 wk of DHEA supplementation (50 mg/d) in postmenopausal women enhances exercise-related changes in body composition, physical performance, and cardiometabolic risk. Design and Setting: This study was a 12-wk randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial and took place at the Mayo Clinic General Clinical Research Center (Rochester, MN). Participants: Thirty-one sedentary, postmenopausal, Caucasian women (mean ± SEM age 64.6 ± 1.0 yr) completed the study. Intervention: Participants were randomized to one of two 12-wk interventions: 1) exercise training plus 50 mg/d of DHEA (n = 17), or 2) exercise training plus placebo (n = 14). The exercise intervention consisted of both endurance (4 d/wk) and resistance (3 d/wk) exercise components. Main Outcome Measures: The main outcomes were measures of body composition, physical performance, and measures of cardiometabolic risk. Results: DHEA treatment with exercise resulted in increases in circulating sulfated DHEA (650%), total testosterone (100%), estradiol (165%), estrone (85%), and IGF-I (30%) (all P ≤ 0.05, for all within and between treatment comparisons). Although exercise training alone significantly improved physical performance, body composition, and insulin sensitivity, administration of DHEA provided no additional benefits. Conclusions: Twelve weeks of combined endurance and resistance training significantly improved body composition, physical performance, insulin sensitivity, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol particle number and size, whereas DHEA had no additional benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-538
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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