DHEA found effective for improving quality of life in HIV




Clinical Endrocrinology

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Professional Data: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)


DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, has been heavily publicized for its potential use as an anti-aging agent. It is a hormone that functions as a precursor for the production of more than 50 other hormones in the body. It is estimated that from 30 to 50 percent of the testosterone in men and about 75 percent of estrogen in women is derived from DHEA. Human production of DHEA normally peaks during a person’s mid-20s and then begins a steady, progressive decline.

DHEA is only produced in the bodies of humans and other primates such as monkeys and apes. There are no good dietary sources of DHEA other than supplementation. Much of the press on DHEA has covered its potential use in slowing the aging process. Studies have suggested that DHEA can enhance muscle strength and lean body mass while boosting immunity.

A recent study published in the journal Clinical Endrocrinology investigated the use of DHEA in treatment of patients with advanced stage HIV disease. Since it is known that plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEA-S) are found to decrease with the progression of HIV, investigators established a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial to evaluate the specific impact on the quality of life after supplementation with DHEA. Patients were given either 50mg per day of DHEA or placebo. At the end of the study, patients receiving the DHEA supplementation reported less distress in several areas of their life than those receiving the placebo. The difference in the two groups was considered to be significant by the investigators.1


1. Piketty C, et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oral dehydroepiandrosterone in patients with advanced HIV disease Clinical Endocrinology 55 (3), 325-330.