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Anti-Aging Hormone Supplements Not Effective

Study shows DHEA, testosterone replacement not the 'fountain of youth'

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Neither dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) nor low-dose testosterone replacement therapy are effective as anti-aging supplements for elderly women and men, according to a two-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Oct. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues randomized 87 elderly men with low levels of DHEA and bioavailable testosterone and 57 women with low DHEA to receive one of the two supplements or placebo for two years. Physical performance, body composition, bone mineral density, glucose tolerance, and quality of life measures were used to gauge outcome.

Supplementation with each substance increased their respective plasma levels but had no effects on physical performance, insulin sensitivity, or overall quality of life. While DHEA also had no significant effect on body composition in both sexes, testosterone increased fat-free mass in men and both supplements increased bone mineral density in the femoral neck. No adverse side effects were noted.

"The search for eternal youth will continue, but the reversal of age-related decreases in the secretion of DHEA and testosterone through 'physiologic' replacement regimens offers no answer and should not be attempted," according to Paul Stewart, M.D., of the University of Birmingham, U.K., in an editorial. "Appropriate regulation would dispel much of the quackery associated with [DHEA]."

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