DHEA is a naturally occurring steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands by both men and women. Production of it decreases with age. DHEA is not recommended for people under 40 years of age, unless DHEA levels are known to be low (<130 mg/dl in women and <180 mg/dl in men). Therapeutic doses of 10-50mg of DHEA are used by many mature individuals (age 40+) for increase in perceived physical and psychological well-being (improved quality of sleep, more relaxed, increased energy, better ability to handle stress, improved depressive state)1. For men or women who have either adrenal insufficiency or hypopituitarism, although gluco-and mineralocorticosteroid replacement is needed, 50 mg a day of DHEA is sufficient for replacement2. Studies have shown no dangerous side effects from DHEA supplementation when taken in normal recommended therapeutic doses3. With respect to potential increase of the urinary testosterone/epitestosterone ratio (T/E) through DHEA supplementation, studies support DHEA use of 50mg/day or less having only slightly affected levels for a short period of time (2–5 h) without exceeding the 6:1 current acceptable ratio for NANBF and the IPE. DHEA’s effectiveness as an anabolic or energy-producing agent remains unproven.
One study appeared to show that gw 50156 side effects included the growth of cancer cells but on further inspection, the results could be considered misleading. The study of gw1516 which was carried out on mice included 1000 times the recommended dose, taken over a prolonged period of time. As no individual would be taking such an inflated level of gw501516, there is debatable value attached to this particular study. Nevertheless, despite the criticism of this study, it was sufficient for GSK to drop the project so shouldn’t be dismissed completely.